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Sharedcontent.rpln Plugin: InDesign CS5.5 Documents Not Backwards Compatible

Edit: I’ve seen a great deal of search traffic for “sharedcontent.rpln” and “sharedcontent indesign plugin.” The problem is most likely that you’re trying to open a file created / saved in InDesign CS 5.5 in InDesign CS 5.0. Keep reading for some more details…

So, the other day I upgraded to Adobe InDesign CS5.5. However, I only got around to installing the new version of the software on my desktop PC in my home office. My laptop, which I use for some image processing / design work while I’m out and about, still has InDesigon CS5 installed on it.

I didn’t think much of it. I kind of assumed that documents would be compatible between the two versions. After all, it wasn’t a big enough upgrade to justify moving from “CS5″ to “CS6.” When I posted the last comp card InDesign template, I mentioned that I designed it in CS5.5 and I hoped the file would be backwards compatible.

Well, today, I found out to my chagrin that they are not backwards compatible. I uploaded a new project (a comp card) to a new printer, because I wanted to test out the quality. The digital proof I got back from them had a few minor issues, so I went to open up the InDesign document and make some changes. I’m stuck at jury duty for the day (oh boy), so I’m working on my laptop.

As soon as I tried to open up the InDesign CS5.5 document, I was greeted by a series of error messages. First, it said that a plug-in was missing (Sharedcontent.rpln). Then, it said that it “Cannot open file,” and listed eight plug-ins that were out of date (text.rpln, generic page item.rpln, graphics.rpln, xml.rpln, hyperlinks.rpln, formfield.rpln, document framework.rpln, and dynamicdocuments.rpln). And… that was that. It wouldn’t open the file and convert it to the old version or anything.

I just checked and I do have some updates available for the version of CS5 on my laptop. I wonder if that my fix the problem. Seems strange that the files would be totally incompatible between the two versions. I guess when I get home I’ll have to check if I can save backwards in CS5 format and post two copies of the files on the Free Adobe InDesign Templates page.

Filed Under: Random Thoughts



Tell us what do you think.

  1. Cheryl says: July 19, 2011

    I do not yet have 5.5, but what you’re describing are the same error messages you get when trying to open 4.0 in 5.0. You should be able to do a “Save As” and save the 5.5 file as an .indx file that is openable on 5.0.

    • Lauren says: May 24, 2012

      you have to EXPORT it as IDML format. that will work in CS5 and CS4

  2. walkere says: July 19, 2011

    I assumed there’d be a “Save As” feature too, but now that I’m looking it’s not that simple. In the “Save” / “Save As” dialogue, the only option available is a CS5.5 document. I read some stuff in the Adobe support website and forums that you can export the document to a IDML file (InDesign Markup Language). In InDesign CS5, these documents were backwards compatible to CS4. I assume that a CS5.5 document made with IDML will be compatible at least with CS5, but I don’t know if it will reach all the way back to 4.

    I saved some of my documents in IDML so that I can open them up and play with them tomorrow. At this point, it’s too late to break out the laptop and fiddle around. Reading the Adobe forums, I get the sense that this is “old news” to some Adobe regulars, and I suppose I understand their argument.

    But maybe what really annoys me is that all the files use the same extension – INDD. I would assume that an INDD is an INDD, whether you made it in CS3, CS4, or CS5. If there are substantial changes to the file structure that prevent an older version of the software from opening it, then create a new extension – IND5 or INDD5.

  3. Cindy Brock says: October 17, 2011

    I miss the days of MS Word 1.0 and we didn’t have all this “stuff” to contend with! LOL

  4. Shortkut says: January 13, 2012

    I thought this might help people who stumble across this in the future.

    If you don’t have newer versions of InDesign there is a service which does this down saving CS5.5, CS5, CS4, CS3 files to which ever format you need for a small fee and can save you a lot of time.

  5. translations says: January 28, 2012

    This is the biggest rip-off. I am getting really tired of all of Adobe’s little upgrades that prevent backwards compatibility. It seems like every 6 months I have to upgrade to be able to serve a new client. What a rip-off, I have to go from CS5 to CS5.5? CS5 just came out. Adobe needs more of a criminal investigation than does Microsoft.

    • Chris says: April 27, 2012

      Agreed. I really hope the firm I end up working for uses ANYTHING other thank Adobe. I’d rather learn a whole new program than deal with the BS I’ve had to put up with from Adobe “support.” I work at home a lot and it seems like Adobe is hellbent on making this impossible (or at least prohibitively expensive) for me.

  6. Nic Hatton says: January 30, 2012

    Very useful thread. I completely agree with the comments about the criminal nature of the upgrade business by Adobe. If I ever find an alternative design package with the same professional results, it will be 2 fingers to Adobe immediately!

  7. walkere says: January 30, 2012

    As someone who uses both InDesign and Lightroom, I find it a bit odd / funny that InDesign needs a “major” update every year (CS 5 was released in 2010, CS 5.5 in 2011, and CS 6 is due out later this year), while Lightroom has gone almost 3 years without the need for a major revision (which requires an upgrade). At the same time, Lightroom has seen five or six major updates for free.

    I guess Adobe figures they can wring more money out of designers than photographers, of whom there are probably a lot more amateur / semi-professionals that use Lightroom.

  8. Lara says: February 3, 2012

    Hi, I have had the same problem lately and it’s truly angering. So we have decided to change to Quark Xpress. I used to work with it a few years back and it has always been a friendly program.

    But thanks a lot for the tip about the IDML file. I will try it because I just finished forming a book in 5.5 and it needs to be edited by other person that has the CS5 version.

  9. Jeannine says: February 6, 2012

    We were just discussing this in the design department, and joked about how we’re going to boycott Adobe and go back to paste-up (which would actually create more jobs). I could not imagine going back to Quark however – even after using Quark for 10 years.

  10. Jitendra says: March 2, 2012

    It’s not like that, actually you cannot save as, but you can export to idml format and can open in previous version.

    this link is helpful

  11. Frank says: March 28, 2012

    This is deliberate move by Adobe to make you purchase new software. They now monopolize the market for professional graphic design software and are using their leverage. Anyone and everyone who uses their software should write and express their opinion of this decision. To me it is unacceptable.

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  13. Bev Robitai says: March 9, 2015

    I’m having the same error messages but on checking the client’s file properties, it was created in CS5 and I’m trying to open it in CS5, so the error may be caused by something else perhaps? Any suggestions on how I can persuade it to open? Is there a site I can upload it to the change into a more user-friendly file? Any hints much appreciated!

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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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