View Full Version : Recover text from a corrupt InDesign file ?

8th April 2008, 09:26 AM
Hi Guys,

This InDesign file crashed while scrolling to the next spread.

I restarted ID several times, but every time it tries to recover or open the file, ID crashes again.

Once I was able to open and save it (as a new document), but that new file crashes the application as well when opening it.

(wish I would have copied the text from it at that moment, but that's a bit late now...)

Working on other files is okay.

Have deleted the ID preference file, as well as the "Indesign Defaults", "Indesign Saveddata" files and the recovery folder, but to no avail...

Also verified & repaired the hard drive, repaired permissions, ...

This is InDesign CS3 (ID 5.02) on OS X 10.4.11.

Any suggestions ??


8th April 2008, 10:03 AM
Try opening the file in a text editor - even TextEdit if you don't have anything better - your text will be in there somewhere.

8th April 2008, 10:40 AM
Hi Soulman,

Thanks for the tip, but unfortunately, it's a rather complex file and the result in Textfile is worse than starting from a previous version of the file...


8th April 2008, 10:47 AM
Try opening the file in a text editor - even TextEdit if you don't have anything better - your text will be in there somewhere.

I second what soulman said. I have used this method to succesfull extract text from a corrupt file.

It's really tedious and you have to slowly read through the whole document. However one you find the start of your text its all in the one location.

Give it a crack.

8th April 2008, 11:30 AM
And then get an external HD, a copy of Leopard and switch on Time Machine. :)

8th April 2008, 11:35 AM
Yes, Leopard would have been good, I suppose...

I do have a daily backup-system,
but yesterdays file is about 9 hours of work older than what I like to recover... :-(

8th April 2008, 11:40 AM
Anyway, I did just manage to open the file
(by de-activating some fonts and scrolling up while the "missing fonts" dialogue box came up !)

But unfortunately, copying the text from it and pasting it in the older version,
seems to copy the problem...

There must be something in the contents that kills ID... :confused:

Getting seriously pissed off here... :mad:

Losing hairs rapidly !!

8th April 2008, 12:17 PM
TextWrangler (free from bare Bones Software) opens anything, and if you have an idea of a few phrases of text to search for, you can hunt the body-text down and copy & paste it to a new plain text document.

Sounds like you've got corrupt fonts.

Try disabling all non-Apple fonts and then opening the problem document in InDesign again, but rather than copying the text straight into another ID document, try this:
1) copy the text you want to rescue from the original ID document
2) paste it into a plain text document in, say, TextEdit or TextWrangler
3) quit InDesign
4) select the text in the text editor and copy it to the clipboard
5) re-launch InDesign, start a new document, and paste in the text.

This will ensure that the only information you are copying is the text, and none of ID's own app-centric text formatting information.

8th April 2008, 01:21 PM
Hi guys,


In meantime, I'm in the process of rebuilding the ID file,
using the copied text.

It contained a large table that runs over several pages,
and once I managed to convert that to normal text,
ID stopped crashing !

So I guess I'll be back where I was yesterday evening in a couple hours time...

Thanks for your suggestions, guys !