IDML is an open, XML-based file format that enables third-party developers and systems integrators to programmatically create, modify, and deconstruct InDesign documents outside the context of InDesign. IDML works with standard XML editing tools, making it easy to use in automated workflows. And with support for multi-threading in InDesign, working with the IDML file format is even faster.
With IDML, developers can now:
IDML is derived from the InDesign Interchange (INX) format, which was introduced in InDesign CS2 to enable users to save documents for use in a previous version. INX was difficult to read and manipulate because it was designed to be used by InDesign alone. Those who tried to manipulate INX encountered challenges with readability, robustness, extensibility, and compatibility with XML tools.
IDML addresses these concerns by enabling developers to change, assemble, and reassemble XML representations of InDesign documents. This allows for the creation and manipulation of InDesign files outside the context of InDesign. The files are then brought back into an InDesign product for rendering into a final output format.
IDML offers an easier, more flexible way to build and implement a variety of publishing solutions. Benefits include:
Because IDML is an XML format, its potential uses are varied. However, some common uses might include:
With InDesign scripting support, you can automate tedious production tasks such as placing and replacing images, correcting errors in text, and preparing files for printing. And it plays an integral role in XML and IDML-based workflows. Here are some resources for both beginners and more experienced scripters.