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How to Configure InDesign Previewing in MediaBeacon

MB Build / Version: 8.5, 8.6

Issue Description

How to decide what previewing configuration for Adobe InDesign files (.indd) in MediaBeacon is the best choice for your implementation.

MediaBeacon can preview Adobe InDesign files (.indd) in several ways. This article is intended to explain and document correct configuration steps and pros and cons for three scenarios: Full Scan of InDesign Native Previews, MediaBeacon Using InDesign as a Previewer, and MediaBeacon-Generated Previews. 

Limitations

MediaBeacon does not preview InDesign Template files (.indt)

Scenario 1: Full Scan of InDesign Native Previews

MediaBeacon is able to use the preview images that are saved within each .indd file without the installation of any Adobe software, fonts, or font management system. In this case, previews are generated by the last user to save an .indd document.

This is our Best Practice recommendation.

Pros

  • The preview can be made much larger than MediaBeacon’s native preview so that the user has access to a more detailed view.
  • You don't have to control the version of InDesign that creative resources use on their workstations.
  • Processing is faster and less resource-intensive since it easier to extract embedded previews rather than making them one file at a time.
  • You don't have to install InDesign on any MediaBeacon servers.
  • The preview is an accurate representation of what the creative saw when they saved the file.

Cons

  • InDesign's default configuration does not save a complete or high res preview, so each operator will need to implement this change to take advantage of this previewing method.
  • Specific settings need to be set in user's copies of InDesign on their individual workstations. (See In InDesign Preferences section below)
  • Old InDesign files might not have embedded previews, or might have non-ideal embedded previews so you will have to re-save those files in InDesign with the updated settings in order to take advantage of this previewing method.  (Example: Workstation was configured to save 'First Page' instead of 'All Pages'. Would need to change this configuration and re-save the .indd file in order to see the accurate, detailed previews through MediaBeacon.)

Solution

Make a preference change to InDesign to force save higher-quality previews.

InDesign Preferences

  1. Open the Preferences dialog
  2. Choose the "File Handling" tab
  3. Under "Saving InDesign Files", ensure the following is applied.
    1. Pages: "All Pages"
    2. Preview Size: "Extra Large 1024x1024"

Typical InDesign Default Settings / High-Res Settings

INDD InDesign File Handling Settings.png

File Saving Procedure

With this method, files must be saved correctly as well. When saving files in InDesign, ensure that in the Save or Save As dialog, the "Always Save Preview Images with Documents" checkbox is checked.

Indesign-Previews-Save.png

Server Side Settings

  • The below lines must be present in the MediaBeacon server's "mediabeacon.properties"  file upon system startup. A full shutdown and restart of the system is required.
  • This will need to be added to the .properties files for Remote Preview instances as well.
mb.enable.indd.fulldatastreamscan=true
mb.max.xmp.size=2097152

Important Notes

  • The above changes will need to be adopted on a site-wide basis to ensure all new files receive these previews.
  • .indd files that have not been saved in the method described above will not benefit from this improvement.

Scenario 2: MediaBeacon uses InDesign as a Previewer

MediaBeacon can use InDesign as an external previewing application to create previews. InDesign must be installed, licensed, and configured on all the servers that might handle InDesign document preview requests.

Pros

  • Desktop settings do not need to be altered.
  • No separate strategy is needed for older InDesign files. (With the Full Scan of InDesign Native Previews option, you might need to consider old .indd files from before InDesign had the option to save preview images with documents, or .indd files last saved by users with non-ideal settings for those previews.)

Cons

  • All the fonts that would be used by creatives making the InDesign files need to be installed on the MediaBeacon server, or InDesign will do font substitution for missing fonts and the previews won't look accurate. 
  • Users need to be using a version of InDesign on their workstation that is compatible with MediaBeacon, otherwise, scripting can fail and InDesign can give error messages when trying to process documents that were created with newer versions of InDesign. (As of version 8.6, the latest official version supported for scripting is CC 2015) 
  • Adobe InDesign tends to use a lot of memory, and further CPU when doing work, causing more server-side resource use.
  • Since InDesign scripting is one-file-at-a-time per MediaBeacon Preview node, it can run slow.
  • All servers that might handle InDesign document preview requests need to have InDesign installed, licensed, and configured.

On the MB server

  1. Install Adobe InDesign.
  2. Open the MediaBeacon Control Panel (MediaBeacon application).
  3. Click the "Admin" Tab.
  4. Set the checkbox "Preview with external applications" to Checked.
  5. Click the "Configure…" button.
  6. Set the checkbox "Adobe InDesign" to Checked.
  7. Click the radio button corresponding to the installed version of InDesign.

Scenario 3: MediaBeacon-Generated Previews

If neither of the above settings are used, MediaBeacon will attempt to extract previews from .indd files if possible. These will likely be low res, and limited to the first page of an .indd file, depending upon the settings used to save an individual file.

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