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Applescript: Opening InDesign Images in Photoshop

Open InDesign Images in Photoshop Without Unlocking Layers

I love InDesign but let’s face it, Adobe probably didn’t design it with manga lettering and the constant back and forth between Photoshop in mind. Sure, if you’ve just got one page to edit, all it takes it a quick unlock of your art layer and maybe a double-click.

But what if you’ve you need to edit every other page? Unlocking a layer, double-clicking on your image to open it in Photoshop, making the edit and then locking your layers again can be a right hassle. And who wants that? Nobody!

Well, if you’re on a Mac here’s tidy little script that’ll let you open placed images on the active page of InDesign in Photoshop with a single click.

InDesign to Photoshop

1. Make Your AppleScript

Open Script Editor (if you have trouble finding it just search using Spotlight) then copy and paste the code below into a new document. Press cmd+k to compile but make sure your version of Adobe InDesign and Photoshop are correct. Script Editor will usually let you know if there’s a problem but it’s still something to look out for.

# Open active InDesign page in Photoshop
tell application "Adobe InDesign 2020"
	set imagePath to file path of item link of (image 1 of rectangle 1 of active page of window 1)
	tell application "Adobe Photoshop CC 2019"
		open alias imagePath
		if mode of current document is bitmap then
			tell current document to change mode to grayscale
		end if
	end tell
end tell

2. Save Your AppleScript

Save the script in Scripts Panel folder of InDesign located in User/Library/Preferences/Adobe InDesign/Version/en_GB/Scripts/

Save AppleScript

Alternatively, if you already use InDesign scripts, you can open up the Scripts panel, select the folder with pre-existing scripts and right-click to Reveal in Finder.

Reveal Scripts in Finder

3. Set InDesign Keyboard Shortcuts

After you’ve saved your AppleScript now all you need to do is assign a keyboard shortcut.

Go to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts in InDesign and select Scripts from the Product Area dropdown menu.

I used Opt+x for my shortcut but feel free to use whatever shortcut you want.

Setting Keyboard Shortcuts

4. Updating Links

With the script done, you actually don’t need this step but one issue you’ll encounter if you don’t unlock layers in InDesign is that edited images won’t automatically update. So to get around this there’s one more short script that’ll sort this out for you.

Simply copy the following code into a new Script Editor window and use the method above.

For this keyboard shortcut I like to use opt+a but, again, feel free to use whatever you want.

# Update active page links.
tell application "Adobe InDesign 2020"
	update item link of (every image of every rectangle of active page of window 1)
end tell


Final Result

The final result should be a smooth transition between InDesign and Photoshop, saving you from wasted time and maybe even arthritis (lol).