A client is creating company documents in InDesign CC 2015, then packaging and zipping them to share with colleagues in other offices. But when some of the recipients unzip the archives and open the InDesign file, many of the links are missing. Yet, when the client sends me the zip archive, I can unzip and open the InDesign file without any missing links. What’s going on?
As I dug into the links, I discovered that some of them had very long file names, and the main project folder name was a bit long. Why would this matter?
InDesign sees a link’s “identity” as its complete directory path. For example, “Industrial_Warehouse_Interior_revised_shot_JohnForbes_2.jpg” is 59 characters. Put that file in the Links folder (5 more characters), inside the “Simpson Farms_leasing presentation_onscreen” folder (43 characters), and you’re up to 107 characters. Add the server name, volume, enclosing folder, etc., and the cumulative directory path gets even longer.
Some special characters (such as slashes and asterisks) are forbidden, but there were no special characters in any of the link file names. They were putting the zip files on the server, uncompressing the zipped archive, and then trying to update their links. Apparently, the servers my client’s colleagues are using have been set to truncate filenames beyond a certain length. This was preventing InDesign from finding the desired links: “Industrial_Warehouse_Interior_revised_shot_JohnForbes_2.jpg” might become“Industrial_Warehouse_Interior_rev~.jpg,” and thus InDesign can’t find the file it’s looking for.
The easy fix? Rather than working on the project over the network, colleagues were instructed to just unzip the archive on their local drive and work from there—then, all the links were fine!
In the future, I’ve encouraged my client to stick to shorter file names—then it won’t matter whether his colleagues work over a network. For example, “Industrial_Warehouse_Interior_revised_shot_JohnForbes_2.jpg” could easily be renamed to “WarehouseInterior.jpg.” You get the idea…