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Differences in File Sizes Between Adobe InDesign CS5.5, CS5, and IDML Files

I was going through the Adobe InDesign templates that I’ve shared on this site, converting them to CS5.5 and to backwards compatible IDML files, and I noticed something interesting. The same files, opened / converted / saved in CS5.5 are quite a bit smaller than those saved originally in CS5. The IDML files are also smaller – a fraction of the size of the comparable INDD file.

Here’s an example. The first comp card template that I shared is a small, one page document with four image frames and some text. The original INDD file that I created in Adobe InDesign CS5 is 1,804kb. That is for a file that is one page, contains four blank image frames, contains two text frames, and maybe a dozen or two dozen words. Yikes, that doesn’t seem very efficient.

After I opened the file and re-saved it as an INDD file in Adobe InDesign CS5.5, the file size was more than cut in half – 864kb. Perhaps the really interesting part…? The IDML file is only 31kb - less than 2% of the size of the original InDesign CS5 document.

A similar document, a two page comp card template with no images/links, follows the same trend. The original INDD file created by InDesign CS5 clocks in at 2,012kb. The new INDD file saved in InDesign CS5.5 is only 880kb. Meanwhile, the IDML file is a mere 34kb.

Presumably the IDML file will lose some of the functionality allowed by the latest version of InDesign. Nonetheless, it’s interesting just how inefficient the old INDD files are as well as how efficient the IDML file is (which is basically a compressed collection of XML files).

Filed Under: Random Thoughts

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. yanger says: December 22, 2011

    idml maybe some compressed xml type version of the indd. adobe probably found ways to utilize compression with 5.5… dunno if you can test load time… then you’d know if compression was done or not.. ie, a 5MB embeded image in each version, saved, and then timed when opened.. of course, this also depends on the speed of your hdd, but compressed files take much longer to load :)

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Digital Photography How To is intended to be a guide to people learning how to use their digital SLR cameras. Three years ago, I had never picked up a camera; now, I produce a yearbook every year and I moonlight as a professional photographer.

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Digital Photography How To is written by Brian Rock. In addition to being a photographer, he's an educator. He teaches high school history, he's the advisor of the school yearbook, and he trains his kids to do all of the photography for the yearbook.

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