InDesign CS5.5 Book PDF Export Problem: Incorrect Page Numbers (CONFIRMED BUG)

**UPDATE: This bug was fixed in ID CS5.5, ver. 7.5.3. You can fix it by updating CS5.5 with the latest updates, or by upgrading to CS6.**

Edit 11/12/11: Recently it came to my attention that the way I had reorganized the post wasn’t helpful to some readers so I’m rearranging it again. I first discovered this issue in May 2011; this post has become a rallying point for those experiencing the issue, in addition to the Adobe Support Forum thread on the issue. I’ve now placed the problem/solution at top of the post, followed by more lengthy updates, and then my original post. I’ve also added other work-arounds to the solution section that had originally been included only farther down in the write-up and in the comments. There is still no true fix from Adobe.


A PDF exported from an InDesign Book file displays incorrect page numbers for some chapters. The page numbers look correct in InDesign, and when the individual file is exported by itself the page numbers are correct. The problem only occurs when using the “Export Book as PDF” option from the book panel menu.


Adobe has acknowledged that this is a bug in the book panel. The problem seems to happen most often with files updated from CS4; creating files fresh in CS5 does not seem to cause the issue for most users. They are working on a true solution. Until then, a number of workarounds exist:

Clean the corrupted chapters via IDML. Detailed instructions as follows:

  1. Back up the book in a safe location.
  2. For each problem chapter, open the file, export as an IDML file (File menu: Export, then set export type to IDML), close, then open the IDML, do a save as, and save it over the problem InDesign file.
  3. Once this has been done for all problem files, open the book file. You’ll most likely have a yellow warning symbol next to each chapter you just replaced because it was edited outside of the book. Open each of the chapters and then close it, saving if prompted.
  4. I synchronized the book and updated all numbering just for good measure, but these steps were probably not necessary.
  5. Export the book as PDF. The PDF should have correct page numbers. (EDIT: IMPORTANT!!!) However, you may notice other chapters that used to work fine now have incorrect page numbers. Go back to step 2 and repeat the whole process until the book works properly.
  6. Breathe a sigh of relief and send the PDF off to whoever needs it.

or export PDF of individual problem document and replace pages using Acrobat (added 11/12/11)
warning: if you have interactive elements such has hyperlinks, bookmarks, or navigation buttons in your PDF file this workaround might cause some of your interactive elements to not work properly. This workaround requires Acrobat Standard or Pro.

  1. Export the book to PDF and find which chapters have the numbering problem.
  2. Open those documents in InDesign and export them to PDF individually (File: Export: Adobe PDF(Print). Be sure to select the appropriate options and include hyperlinks, bookmarks, etc. if necessary.
  3. Open your book PDF in Acrobat and open the pages panel.
  4. Select all pages for one problem chapter in the pages panel.
  5. Right-click on a selected page thumbnail and choose “Replace Pages” then select your individual PDF for that chapter. Those pages will be replaced, and the page numbers should be correct.
  6. Check for proper functionality of interactive elements.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for other problem chapters as needed.

or print to a PostScript file (.PS) and distill using Acrobat  (added 11/12/11)
warning: this option will not preserve any interactive features. This Workaround requires Acrobat Standard or Pro.

  1. Print the book. Choose “PostScript File” as the printer. In my testing I used the “Device Independant” PPD. Many years ago when I did this regularly I would obtain the Distiller PPD from Adobe and install it so that the product would recognize it properly and select it from the list; you may get better results if you do this, but I don’t know if Adobe has a “current” PPD available.
  2. Save the .PS file to your desktop or other easy-to-locate place on your computer.
  3. If you have Acrobat 9 or 10, simply open it and go to file: Create PDF: from file, then choose the .PS file. You can alternately find the Distiller application, but this way should work just as well.

or simply go back to CS5/CS4 (added 11/12/11)

If you’re producing EPUBs or otherwise using features requiring new CS5.5 features, this isn’t really an option. For some people not heavily invested in the new features, it might work until Adobe fixes the issue.

or stop using the book panel (added 11/12/11)

Again, you’re producing EPUBs, this is probably not an option. Also, if you’re producing long documents that are graphics intensive, InDesign might have a hard time handling large single files.

Workaround Summary: I’ve been following the development of this issue closely ever since I ran into it in May of 2011, about a month after the release of CS5.5. I’ve attempted to list every workaround proposed in comments or in my own testing here, as well as on the Adobe Forums. My preferred method is still the IDML fix, as it preserves interactivity and allows the entire book to be exported as designed, and seems to work in the majority of cases. Yes, there are a few confirmed cases I’ve found where users seem to have followed the procedure properly and it did not fix their problem, but there are many others who have told me the procedure worked.


Update 9/6/2011: Just discovered my second case of this problem. In this instance, One chapter has “72” for every right hand page. How awful. Book is 808pp, 70 documents. Gritted my teeth, backed up the book, and got started. ROUND 1: I ran the problem document through IDML (open the document, export to IDML, close, open the IDML, and then save over the old INDD file), made a new PDF, and examined all the pages. Now that chapter was fixed but three other chapters were broken. ROUND2: I passed the three new problem chapters through IDML, made a new PDF, examined the pages, and all page numbers were correct. Verdict: FIXED using IDML workaround described above.

Other people have reported to me that the IDML workaround has not worked for them, but in most cases I’ve heard, they have NOT repeated the process more than once. For some reason, fixing one chapter will cause other chapters that previously worked fine to begin having the problem; it is necessary to work through the process repeatedly until the entire book is numbered properly. 

UPDATE 8/24/2011: As it turns out this is not an isolated problem due to document corruption as I first suspected. I’ve still only experienced this issue in one of my books, out of about 20 or so that I’ve done so far in CS5.5—but as you can see in the comments, other users are experiencing it. I’ve just received word from Sarah (see comments) that Adobe support has confirmed this as a bug:

Thank you for contacting Adobe Technical Support.

As per the discussion with the senior level, I have logged this issue with my Product Team and Engineering Team as Bug # 182559740. Our Engineering Team will look into this issue, and if in the future a resolution or fix is possible, it will be available from the Adobe Systems product update web site:

I am closing this case as of now and if you have any new information, please contact us within 14 days, with the details, so that we may re-open this support incident.

I apologize for the inconvenience caused.

Thank you for choosing Adobe.

Incidentally, Sarah also reported to me that earlier in her troubleshooting with Adobe, one Adobe Rep actuallycommitted plagiarism by sending her an exact copy of a portion of this article with no citation!

However, it is still true that many people are able to solve the problem using IDML. It is true that after fixing some documents with IDML, others that worked before might start having incorrect numbers, and that you might have to work through the process several times. However, the cause of the problem is apparently a bug in CS5.5’s book panel, and not a problem in the documents.

Also in the comments, Daniel mentioned another workaround and I wanted to add it to the actual post, since the IDML export is not fixing the problem for Sarah and perhaps other readers. I do mention it farther down in my notes section, but I’m guessing many readers don’t make it that far. Since exporting individual documents works fine, it is possible to export the PDFs separately and then put them together into a single PDF in Acrobat Pro. Obviously this isn’t an ideal solution, and it will not preserve TOC bookmarks and cross-document hyperlinks, but it’s a workaround if the IDML steps in this article don’t fix the problem. In most cases I believe the IDML workaround will solve the issue until Adobe releases a true fix.


(6/1/11)—I experienced a strange InDesign problem today and decided to post it here in case anyone else experiences it. I couldn’t find any help searching online, but I was able to eventually solve the issue through my own troubleshooting. Hopefully anyone else who runs into this problem will find this post and it will help them. It took me hours to troubleshoot it, but now that I know the process to solve it I’ll be able to get through it faster if it ever happens again.


It’s Ironic that just a couple days ago I wrote a post about using IDML to fix corrupted documents. Export to IDML is a common troubleshooting step; when you’ve narrowed the problem down to a single (or in this case just a few) document(s), use the IDML export to see if it fixes the problem.

IDML stands for InDesign Markup Language. It’s a special flavor of XML that perfectly preserves the content of your InDesign file, so you can Export to IDML and then open the IDML without any loss of information or structure. It seems the process does get rid of unnecessary and incorrect data, though, as it often cleans up problem files.

It seems for some reason my documents had become slightly corrupt. Luckily converting them to IDML and then back to regular InDesign files fixed the problem.

Possible Causes?

Not sure if this will ever happen again for me or anyone else. The documents were all created in CS5 from a template originally created in CS4. The book file was created in CS5. PDFs exported from CS5 were fine. I opened the book in CS5.5, used it to open all the chapters and saved the chapters, thinking this would properly update them to CS5.5. My guess is that this could have caused the problem. However, I have one other book that I was working on in CS5, which came from the same template, and I used this same method to update it to CS5.5—with no problems.

Since the files worked fine in CS5 it seems most likely the problem happened in the upgrade to CS5.5. Since all the chapters were based on the same original file, it’s possible that the problem was inherited by many of the documents in the book. Still, it’s very strange.

I’m not sure if the problem is worth reporting to Adobe because it could have been a one-time fluke. If it happens again to me or anyone else I’ll report it.

Troubleshooting Notes:

If anybody needs more info, I’ll share what I had to go through to figure this all out. Most people will probably find it long dull reading, but I reserve the right to rant every once in a while about troubleshooting nightmares, and this certainly qualifies. Besides, it’s good to see what else I tried that didn’t work, so you know the solution I found is a good one!

I have an InDesign book file containing 15 chapters plus front matter, each as a separate InDesign file. It was created recently in CS5. Today I opened all the files in CS5.5 and resaved them so they would be properly updated. I also saved the book file. Then I exported the entire book as a PDF using the option in the book panel menu, set to the “High Quality Print” preset.

Everything seemed fine until I noticed that the page numbers were incorrect for certain chapters. Chapter 7 displayed 75, 76, 75, 76, 75, etc. throughout the entire chapter, but then the next chapter would start off on the correct page number and continue just fine until the next problem chapter. The next problem chapter was Chapter 12, which was numbered 139, 140, 139, 142, 139, 144, 139, etc. And the final problem chapter was Chapter 15, which was numbered 181, 182, 181, 182, 181, etc. all the way through.

In Indesign all the page numbers looked fine. If I exported those chapters individually by opening them and exporting a PDF via the file menu they were just fine. In Acrobat, if I tried using the touchup text tool to fix the numbers, the numbers would change back to something incorrect after I edited them (that was REALLY weird)! However, I could delete the problem chapters from the PDF and then insert the PDFs that were exported individually back into the book. Of course, that’s a tedious work around, so I kept looking for a real solution.

I quit out of InDesign, restarted it, opened my book and tried exporting again, same results.

Thinking something might have become slightly corrupted in those three documents, I backed them up in another folder for safe keeping, then exported each as an IDML file, opened the IDML back into InDesign, and then saved it over top of the copy in the book. Then I opened the book, opened each problem chapter though the book to refresh it, synchronized the entire book for good measure, exported the book as a PDF, and…

Those 3 chapters were now correct, but now other chapters had problems! The problem chapters were now 2, 8, 9, and 14, and they had similar problems with their page numbering.

I decided to try some other things to see if they’d help. I tried opening the files from outside of the book, directly from the Finder. It seems opening them from the book and then saving them didn’t properly update them for CS 5.5, because when I opened them this way they had a “*” before their filenames at the top of the screen indicating they had been changed while opening. I tried doing a save as with the same file name on every document to force it to update. When I was done I reopened all the files to make sure no “*” appeared before any of the filenames. Then I made a new book and imported all the chapters into it. Exported the PDF, and found that none of these things had any effect.

I was getting quite frustrated by this point! I decided to go with the IDML route again. I closed the book file, opened up Chapters 2, 8, 9, and 14 independently of the book, exported each to IDML, closed them all, opened all the IDMLs, and saved them over the original InDesign documents. Then I again opened the book, Opened the files from within the book file, saved and closed them, saved the book, and exported the book to PDF. And this time…

Chapters 4 and 9 have messed up numbers! I’m guessing I might have done something wrong with Chapter 9 the previous time, so I just repeated the process on chapters 4 and 9. And this time when I exported the PDF….

IT WORKED. Finally.  I’d had to use the IDML fix for 8 of the 15 chapters, but it was fixed.

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40 Responses to InDesign CS5.5 Book PDF Export Problem: Incorrect Page Numbers (CONFIRMED BUG)

  1. Paul Erdman June 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    Since I posted this a few weeks ago it has become one of the most viewed pages on my site, with most of the viewers coming from search engines. This implies to me that I’m NOT the only one to experience this issue! I have yet to experience the issue with another book; so far it’s only happened on one out of at least 20 that I’ve worked on since upgrading to 5.5. Feel free to comment or contact me if you’ve experienced the problem or if you’ve found this post helpful.

  2. lfikes July 18, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    I have a similar problem, but it’s a little different. I am working with files that someone else created using another program. The files have been converted to indesign files. The first few pages are supposed to be numbered as numerals, and on the 9th page it begins with page 1. ID has changed all the page numbers so that page 1 starts with the first page and there are no numerals. this makes the table of contents, the index, and all page references inconsistent. All pages in this file are in one document.

    Can you help me solve this problem and get the page numbers back the way they should be?

  3. Daniel moore August 4, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    I just encountered the same problem. The company i work for just switched from CS4 to CS5.5. I have 30+ chapter book file (created in CS4) that I am trying to export and the same thing is happening… 84, 85, 84, 87 etc…

    Before I found this I realized I can save individual documents out with the correct numbers. So I just exported the whole book to pdf and the problem chapters individually. Then extracted and replaced the problem chapters using acrobat pro. Definitely not ideal. I hope they fix this problem soon.

    If they haven’t fixed it before I have to do this again I will try your IDML trick.

    • Paul Erdman August 4, 2011 at 8:53 am #

      Thank you for your comment! Although I’m sorry to hear you’re having the same problem. I’ve not personally experienced the problem since that one time I ran into it, but judging from the traffic to this page, I suspect other people are experiencing it. Your response is most helpful.

      There is one more thing I wish I had tried in my troubleshooting. It’s a rather simple step: In the book panel menu, choose the “Update Numbering: Update all numbers” option. I don’t know if this will have any effect or not. I didn’t think of trying it before fixing it with the IDML export. Might be worth a try, and it would be very easy to do.

      • Daniel Moore August 4, 2011 at 9:53 am #

        I did update all page numbers and synchronized the book when I first encountered the problem. Unfortunately that did not fix the problem.

        • Paul Erdman August 4, 2011 at 9:59 am #

          OK, thanks for the follow-up. Looks like we’re still stuck with the IDML fix or the export individual PDFs and replace pages workaround you mentioned.

          Since we now have two verified cases, I think it’s time time to report this to Adobe. Thanks again for commenting.

          • Daniel Moore September 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

            I recently had to go back an make updates to one of our manuals. I figured now was as good of a time as any to do the IDML trick. Unfortunately I still have not been able to get this to work.

            To start I had 15 of 34 documents with numbering errors. After 4 attempts I have got the number down to 7 of 34, but these documents are not budging. I attempted the fix on these chapters a couple times and they continue to have the error.

            Any Ideas? I am going to get our IT department to try to contact Adobe. For the mean time I may be reinstalling CS4

          • Paul Erdman September 6, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

            Hmm…So Daniel, you’re absolutely sure you’ve:
            1. exported each of the 7 documents as IDML.
            2. Opened the IDML files and save them over the original INDD files (replacing them).
            3. Resynchronize book and update all numbers.
            4. Exported a new PDF.

            And now that you’ve done this, the exact same documents have the same numbering problem when exported to PDF?

            If so, then we might have proof that my theory is incorrect, and that the IDML workaround in fact is not a universal workaround solution. I would be happy to take a look at your files; if you’re interested, e-mail me.

          • Daniel Moore September 7, 2011 at 6:53 am #

            Unfortunately yes, I followed every step exactly and chapters 15, 21, 23, appendix B, D, E, and index all continue to have numbering errors.

  4. Sarah August 15, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Hi Paul,
    I have experienced this problem, too. On more than one book and unfortunately, the idml export does not always solve the problem. I have exported every single document in a book to idml, created a brand new book, and still had messed up page numbers on exporting the book to PDF.
    I have opened a case with Adobe and guess what their reply was? A copy-and-paste of your Steps 1 through 5. Really! I recognized it right away from when I originally googled the problem. I have asked them to look further into it. I’ll let you know if I get anywhere.


  5. Meg August 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    Hi Paul,

    I am running in to this same problem with a pretty massive book–912 pages and 48 documents. I have found that exporting to IDML works but then the problems surfaces in chapters that were previously fine.
    My company also recently upgraded from CS4 to CS5.5 and have I 45 books about to go to press. I dread the thought of having to check page numbers in every one of them and do all of this trouble shooting.
    Does this seem to be happening primarily in books that were originally created in a lower version of CS and brought into 5.5?
    Thanks for your insight, please update if you learn anything more on this issue.

    • Paul Erdman August 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

      Yes, this does appear to be happening mostly with files upgraded from previous versions. It has been reported by many users at this point, here as well as on the Adobe User forums and elsewhere on the net. Also, the issue with exporting the problem chapters to IDML and reimporting, having them fixed, only to find other chapters to then have problems, is exactly what I ran into — if you read the details of my troubleshooting, you’ll see that I had to run through the steps of my routine 4 TIMES before I finally got rid of the problem completely.

      Your only other option is to export the files separately and then put them together in Acro Pro, but if you have TOC, bookmarks, or cross document hyperlinks, then that’s not really an option.

      Export problem files to IDML, reimport IDML, replace old files, make a new PDF, find any new problem chapters, repeat, repeat, repeat! That’s what I did. I’m sure it’s an InDesign bug, but this workaround seems to be the only current solution.

  6. Lindsey Thomas Martin September 9, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    I recommend that, when converting a book from an older ID format to a newer, you copy the files of the chapters to a new directory, rename them, create a new book in CS5.5, and add the new files. I wouldn’t be surprised if the problems with numbering derive from opening a CS5 book and its files in CS5.5 and trying to save as the newer format.

    • Paul Erdman September 12, 2011 at 8:28 am #

      @Lindsey: Unfortunately, users have built new books from scratch and still had the problem. As for renaming, I doubt that would have any effect on the actual files if done through explorer/finder. However, it MIGHT have some effect if each file was opened individually in InDesign and SAVED AS. However, when I did save as it had no effect on the problem, once the problem had already occurred. Unltimately, though, the problem seems to reside in the book panel itself; I suspect this will be resolved by Adobe correcting some coding in the book panel’s PDF export coding.

      @Daniel: That is unfortunate that the IDML workaround is still not solving 7 of your documents, even after repeated cycles through the process. I can’t imagine what else could be done except exporting the files as separate files and dropping them in using replace pages, as you’ve already mentioned. I’d still be interested in looking at your files, if you’d like me to (e-mail me if so).

  7. Amy October 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    I just noticed the problem in a book I had just submitted to the printer thanks to a post on Adobe’s Indesign forum. Thank goodness I saw the post and checked my book! The problem was subtle and only on a couple of pages so unless I went through and checked every page of the book, I wouldn’t see it. I found this post as a result of viewing that thread and will try your workarounds tonight. Thanks for posting it.

    One thing I noticed, when I tried fixing it using the Acrobat touchup text tool, changing the page number on one page, changed it on the other pages too. So I had three instances of page 34 and changing one of them to page 36 changed them all to page 36. This was really bizarre since it’s not a variable or anything by the time it gets to pdf – or is it? But I never have understood the whacky things that happen when I use the touchup text tool.

    Anyway, I think this is unacceptable for professional publishing software. I need 5.5 for the epub features so I don’t want to go back at this point. But maybe I will resort to my old epub workarounds and return to CS 5 if Adobe doesn’t fix this.

    • Paul Erdman October 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

      I was also unable to fix the problem using touchup text tool in Acrobat; the numbers would revert to the original valules after I fixed them. I have no idea why; my understanding of text in PDFs is that all text is supposed to be static text, with no association to variables. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you there — I’m a bit mystified myself on that one.

      Try the IDML workaround; it has worked well for me and for quite a few other people.

  8. Amy October 12, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    There was one document that would not get fixed. I actually tried outputting it to IDML 3 or 4 times and still no luck. So I just inserted the one chapter after I pdf’d it. I think my solution until they get this thing fixed it to do all my future books as a single document. I found myself checking every page number in the pdf every time I created it. I just can’t do that for 500 page books. I have to be able to trust my software.

  9. Daniel Moore October 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm #


    This issue was recently escalated to our Chief Technical Officer. He figured out that if you can print to pdf there is no page numbering issue. There are a few problems with this though.

    1. NOT ORIGINALLY SUPPORTED: In Illustrator and Indesign CS5 printing to pdf from the print dialog box is no longer supported. There is a pretty simple way to solve this. Go to and follow the instructions. This will allow you to set the printer as Postscript file and save as a .ps. This file can then be converted to a pdf using either Acrobat Distiller or Apple Preview.

    2. NO BLEED: The next drawback to this method is that I can’t see any way to include bleed in the document. The print dialog box shows that it includes bleed, but the final .ps document does not. I am not sure how to solve this problem if anyone can figure it out let us all know.

    3. INTERACTIVE PDFS: I have not checked but I only assume that this method will not support interactive PDFs

    This method will work for me for now as the only pages that include bleed on my book files are the covers and those pages are very easy to add in later.

    Please let us know if this works for anyone else and if you find a workaround for the bleed issue.

    • Paul Erdman October 20, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

      Thanks for the follow-up, Daniel. Hadn’t thought of the printing possibility, but for people that don’t need interactive features (which aren’t supported in PS files) that’s good to know! So printing to a PS file and then distilling should be a good workaround for anyone stuck with a file that can’t be cleaned via IDML! At least until Adobe fixes the book panel.

  10. Alan Gilbertson October 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    This is a gnarly one, to be sure. I’ve always had a policy of keeping one or two earlier CS versions installed, not primarily as a hedge against bugs, but this is another good reason to keep that safety factor in place (and to be thankful for IDML and backward compatibility). Folks who are jumping from CS3 to 5.5 will be out of luck, though. I expect this one is high on the priority list for a fix in the next dot release.

    • Paul Erdman October 24, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

      Well, to reiterate, if you’re publishing EPUBs, CS5 is vastly different from CS5.5. I had to completely revamp my workflow for 5.5, and now I’m locked into using 5.5 for better or worse. Other people publishing simultaneously to print PDF and EPUB are in the same boat. I still have only had this problem occur to 2 books so far; I’m not sure why it happens to some people more than others, and why the IDML workaround fixes it for some people and not others. Daniel’s workaround of printing a PS file and distilling it is certainly an option if you need a print PDF with no interactive features. We’ll have to wait and see what Adobe does about it.

      To copy from the Adobe User Forum:

      (posted by simonvg 10/10/11) Today I installed the latest update for InDesign CS5.5 – the 7.5.2 update, hoping it would fix the problem, and it seems to have partially fixed the problem, in that there do seem to be fewer errors in the pdfs, but the problem is definitely still there, with missing headers and footers in places, missing or moved page numbers, etc. Let’s hope they’re still working on this.

      I haven’t tested it myself yet, but it doesn’t seem like 7.5.2 has addressed the issue.

      • Apurva Ashar November 12, 2011 at 6:20 am #

        This is not an isolated issue happening to one person of some specific files… I have experienced this problem many times and was saved by an alert press person about a month ago…. What I have found so far is that only even number pages repeat…

        I am using CS5.5 v 7.5.2 and problem is still there… (I just faced it today: Nov 12 ’11) The solution I apply is to check the PDF exported from the IND Book thoroughly. Re-create the PDFs of only problem pages directly from the indesign document and not from the “book”, and replace them in the full PDF in Acrobat.

        • Paul Erdman November 12, 2011 at 8:41 am #

          Yes, as you can see my original post date was back on June 1. If you read further down the post, it has been updated several times, especially on 8/24 and 9/6. The post has received 23 comments and has been instrumental in bringing this bug to the attention to the Adobe developers. It was the number 1 hit on Google for this particular issue for a couple months.

          However, based on your feedback, I’ve decided to restructure the order of the post once again to make it more clear to readers that the content of the post is current. I once had the updates at the top of the page, but this detracted from the issue at hand as people had to read through all the updates just to get to the problem statement. So I’ve moved the opening paragraph down below, but kept the problem and solution up a the top.

          I’ve also added some of the other solutions other people have come up with that I discuss own in troubleshooting and comments, including your option of inserting pages (which might be problematic for some people, if they have interactive features they to preserve) up into the solutions section.

          Thanks for your advice on improving the article.

  11. Michael MacDonald November 20, 2011 at 5:50 am #

    Thanks heaps for posting this information. I had this problem and it was solved by your IDML workaround!

  12. Kevin Slaughter December 10, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    I don’t like leaving contentless comments, but I’ll make an exception because I must say THANK YOU!
    This was driving me crazy on a 575 page book composed of 16 parts. And you were right… the “problem” started moving from chapter to chapter as I fixed and exported until I finally just did your trick on all the remaining files.

    Thank you again.

  13. Jonathan January 19, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    I must have a very advanced version of this problem. I’ve created dozens of books from InDesign CS3, CS5 and 5.5 without problems, but my latest book (which was created in CS5.5) won’t show consecutive page numbers in the Book window. All separate chapters have been set to automatic page numbering and in the options in the Book window, the book has been set to “continue from previous document.” I then manually set each file to begin at its correct page number but, in exporting to PDF, the page numbering has gone looney. I tried the IDML method and had exactly the same result. (I even re-opened a book I had done a month ago and saw the same problem re-occur, so the problem isn’t with the files but with the Book feature. Any thoughts?

    • Paul Erdman January 23, 2012 at 10:05 am #

      Jonathan, This is exactly how the problem manifests, except usually in my experience the numbering will appear correctly in the panel in InDesign. I’m not sure what could cause automatic numbering to not work properly even when you have all the documents set to automatically number and have the book numbering options set properly. However, the problem with the numbers being messed up in the exported PDF would be unrelated to your issue with the auto numbering, as far as I know.

      Please be sure to export to IDML/import/replace every problem document in your book, then export a new PDF. Does this have any effect on the problem at all? In my experiences, this will often cause those chapters to be fixed, but then other chapters might show the problem, in which case I repeat the process for those chapters.

      If that does not help, then there are other workarounds that might work for you if you do not need to preserve interactive features. These include exporting the problem chapters as separate PDFs from InDesign’s file menu and then using Acrobat Pro to replace pages in your PDF with the files that have good page numbers, or printing a PS file of the entire book and then converting it to a PDF. More information on these is in my article:

      Good luck! I hope we have a real fix from Adobe soon.

  14. Bob Garber January 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    I have this problem as well. I tried the export to IDML method and it did not work for me.
    I did find a way that worked for me.

    Create a new document file.
    Copy all content from the text frames (you have all content threaded, right?)
    Create a new text frame in the new document.
    Paste content into new text frame.
    Stlye master pages as needed.
    Save new file over old one.
    Open book file and update link.
    Export to PDF.

    Repeat for other chapters as needed.

  15. Lee Przytula January 31, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Here’s a relatively easy fix.

    Cliff Notes:
    Cut out and then paste back in each page number text frame from your InDesign document. Don’t ask me why, but it works. The IDML procedure didn’t work for me, but this worked. Adobe sucks monkey balls.

    The Steps:

    1. Open the document that’s giving you problems.

    2. Select the text frame that holds the page number. You may need to use the keyboard shortcut ctrl/shift+click to unlock it since it’s a master object.

    3. Cut the text box (ctrl/x)

    4. Paste it back in place (ctrl/shift/alt+v). For the less experienced users, use Paste In Place and not Paste or else you’re gonna have page numbers in really strange places!

    5. Repeat as needed.

    6. Save when you’re done.

    7. Render your PDF and do a happy dance when you realize this actually worked.

    I found it was faster to view the document as a spread and do both pages at once. So unlock the left page, unlock the right page, select both text boxes by either shift-clicking the boxes or draging your selection tool around them. Then cut and paste both as one selection.

    Oh, and Adobe, if you’re reading this, you suck monkey balls. Thanks for wasting two hours of my life. This should have been fixed months ago.

  16. Kelly March 9, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Lee — you saved my life. I had already submitted my pdf to the printer (a 455 page book, with 66 documents in it) when I noticed that about forty page numbers were wrong. Doing the IDML fix with 66 documents was a bit daunting. But the “cut+paste-in-place page number” fix worked, and it was both fast and easy. Wouldn’t have made the deadline without it.

    I happy danced.

    Adobe — I concur with the monkey balls statement. I had a heart attack.

  17. Gabriel March 29, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Just a big thank you! I’m trying the .PS approach for now.

  18. Maika April 20, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    This bug was theoretically updated in October 20, 2012

  19. Amy May 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Looks like this has bug been fixed.

    “Wrong page number on export book to PDF [2940448]*”


  20. Shawn Girsberger July 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    At, Amy wrote of the ID CS5.5 7.5.3 update, which clears up the page numbering problem in PDFs exported from the Book palette.

  21. Peter January 14, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Hi I was wondering if anyone came accross this probelm with ID CS5.5 7.5.3, I have created ID files in CD5.5 and then gone to export them to a PDF. If I export an interactive PDF the page numbers go from 1-36 irrespective of the page number settings I have on the book, and if I export ‘for print’ the whole pdf is numbered A-AA but then on what is labeled p14 everything is fine. I have saved all as IDML and then reimported and renamed all the files and created a new book, but no change. Is there a way to fix this? BTW, the page numbers I refer to are in the navigation panel of Acrobat Pro, not on the pages of the doc themself. Sorry for bad spelling also. Thanks Peter

  22. Peter January 14, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    I forgot to say, the first page (cover) should be ‘A’ as no page number is shown, then the preface material is i-xiii and then the body of the work is 1-22. Sorry for confusion

  23. Ralph Ellis March 9, 2015 at 3:38 am #

    Had the same problem – drove me mad. Only one or two chapters in each book were effected. And because we did not spot this, we were selling books with the same page number all through a chapter.


    I found a solution that works every time, and it is quite simple. The problem lies in the Master Pages section.

    The solution is to create a new Master Page (but not copying the previous Master). Copy details from a Master Page that works! Make sure the new Master has the same dimensions and indents as the old one.

    Then change all the pages in that chapter to the new Corrected Master. (A global change to all pages – easy to do).

    Presto – you should have proper page numbering in the resulting pdf.



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