How to edit InDesign files online in 2019

by Stefano Bernardi 7 minutes to read

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

In the last few years, weʼve been trying to solve how designers and marketers get their InDesign files translated. And on the road, a large number of our clients asked us to tackle another issue: how to edit InDesign files online.

I have a long list of tools that I generally suggest, but even though many of these solutions are great—it looks like they are not exactly what people are looking for in 2019.

Two questions for you

Below youʼll find a list with highlighted PROs and CONs, and hopefully, youʼll find a tool that fits your needs.

But if you donʼt, please write us an answer to these two questions.

  1. What type of InDesign file do you want to edit?
  2. Why do you want to edit InDesign online?

First thing first

If you are here because you need to edit a template (like your CV), then unfortunately, this is not the right place. You wonʼt find a tool that can help you do the edits and then generate a PDF.

However, Adobe offers a 7-day free trial of InDesign on its website.

So, go here and download your copy.

If you are working with commercial or marketing material in a professional environment, Iʼd advise you to let an expert edit your InDesign files.

InDesign is very user-friendly, but that doesnʼt mean that the job of creating professional material is an easy job.

However, the capability of editing the copy inside a document in a safe environment will save you a lot of time.

All the solutions to edit InDesign files online

Click on one of these link to go directly to the section you want to check:

Solutions to edit InDesign files online based on InDesign Server

The tools listed below are all based on InDesign server. That gives you the advantage of not having to worry about fonts and layout compatibility.

However, it forces you to upload all your images, vectors, and fonts.

If you decide to go with one of these solutions, and you plan to let coworkers, clients, or sales partners edit your layout, you should ensure that they understand some of the rules that we, designers, have when creating professional-looking material, such as the importance of handling images correctly.

WeAllEdit

WeAllEdit is a service that works completely in the browser.

It allows you to invite an editor to proofread the text and place comments in the document. Pricing starts from 200€/month or 5€ per page.

In this video, you can see how it works.

One2edit

I have to be honest One2Edit is so powerful that it probably goes beyond its purpose. Anything you can do in InDesign, you can also do with One2Edit too.

And that is why I have doubts about this solution.

If you need all the capabilities of InDesign, just install InDesign. Working in a browser will only make things more complex and slower.

Anyway, the website doesnʼt have an official pricing page (This is the only link I found about the pricing but itʼs not from the official website– starting from 550€/month), so if you are interested in trying this solution you should probably contact the producer directly.

In this video, you can see summarised what you can do with One2Edit.

Solutions based on Templates

Silicon Designer and Tweak Brand

Silicon Designer and Tweak Brand are two solutions that allow a designer to create a template in InDesign, select what parts can be edited or not, upload the template into a browser and let a non-designer edit the document.

This way salespeople, admins, and others can quickly output a customized version of your layouts, while you are able to ensure that non-designers always work on brand-approved material.

Unfortunately, you canʼt find much online about these two tools, so if you are interested, youʼll have to book a demo with a sales representative for these two companies.

PrintUI

This service allows your company to create an online application that similarly to Silicon Designer and Tweak allows your customers, teams or partners to customize a template created in InDesign.

PrintUI starts from $249 per month.

Here you have a video that shows how to create an InDesign file that can be edited online using PrintUI.

Solutions to edit InDesign files offline with the help of the cloud

WordsFlow and DocsFlow

Iʼve already talked about WordsFlow and DocsFlow in one of our most appreciated blog posts (40+ InDesign plugins and utilities - Redokun) and I truly like their solution.

WordsFlow and DocsFlow are two plugins that you can install in your InDesign. They allow you to respectively link Word documents or Google Docs documents inside your pages.

The sharing works both ways—when you update the text in InDesign, the changes are shared in the docs and vice versa. And that, of course, helps you and your editors to stay on the same page, and save time with edits.

Unfortunately, I must say that it can be a challenge to get one of these two solutions integrated.

Generally, when I suggest one of these tools, designers are scared that something might not work properly. And once theyʼve overcome those initial worries, they find it hard to convince their teammates to adopt this new workflow.

InCopy + DropBox/Google Drive

Adobeʼs ambition with InCopy is to provide teams with the best working- partner for their amazing InDesign.

Designers have the ability to share their layout with authors, writers, and editors and let them see exactly what the document looks like in InDesign from InCopy and have the ability to change only the text (they can also apply styles and formatting).

Any other edit (change images, enlarge text boxes, etc.) has to be done by the designer in InDesign.

InCopy and InDesign handle text in the same way since they share the same text engine, so all the edits can be made safely and then quickly and automatically imported into InDesign.

By combining InDesign, InCopy, and a cloud solution like Google Drive or Dropbox, you can bring this workflow one step further.

  1. Upload the InDesign document in a shared folder in Dropbox or Google Drive
  2. Upload the linked InCopy Stories (a step the designer has to do within InDesign)
  3. Let editors connect to the shared folder and edit the InCopy Stories from there
  4. Sync the changes in InDesign.

InCopy works similarly to InDesign, so when an editor/writer opens one of the stories, InCopy creates a “lock file.” Then, Dropbox (or Google drive) instantly shares this file with all the devices that are connected to the folder and ensures the Story cannot be opened by more than one editor.

On this last point, to avoid issues, make sure the folder is set to synchronize across all devices.

Set the folder to “Available offline” on Google Drive—and if you are using Dropbox make sure the “Selected Sync” is active.

Solutions to let your team translate your document online

Redokun

Do you ever find yourself copying translations back and forth inside your documents? Or having to edit a document that has already been produced in many languages?

Redokun is a software that simplifies the creation of the language versions of your InDesign files.

Here is how it works:

  1. You upload your InDesign file online
  2. You invite a colleague / partner / translator to do the translation
  3. Redokun helps the translator by suggesting past-translations and machine translations
  4. Once the translation is done, you download a translated InDesign file.

Super easy, super fast. You can try it with your own files and workflow for 14 days for free at this link.

Conclusion

The solutions listed above are the ones currently available to somebody that needs to edit an InDesign file online.

If none of these options sound like something you would like to use, please get in touch with us and help us understand what you are looking for.

We are working on a tool that will allow you to:

  1. Upload an InDesign document
  2. Invite somebody to edit the text inside your document
  3. Check the edits and download the edited InDesign document

Our goal is to make this process super easy and create a safe environment both for the editor and the designer.

If this sounds like something that youʼd find useful, please contact us and let us know:

  1. What type of InDesign file do you want to edit?
  2. Why do you want to edit an InDesign file online?

You can also share any ideas about features that you would like to see in our first beta.

Thanks for reading (and helping us)!

Stefano Bernardi
Stefano Bernardi

Stefano has worked on numerous mid to large–sized InDesign projects for Alstom, DeLonghi, Philips, and many others before starting Redokun in 2015.
As Redokun’s Co-Founder, Stefano spends most of his time helping customers to optimize their InDesign work-flow. He also holds in-house InDesign courses for companies in the Venice, Italy area.

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