This page provides information on how to get started with InDesign:
Getting started with InDesign client development
Follow these steps to start building your first InDesign client plug-ins:
1. Download the InDesign Product SDK and the InDesign desktop application.
InDesign Product SDK
2. Familiarize yourself with the development tools and concepts of InDesign client plug-in development.
Learning Adobe InDesign CS4 Plug-in Development (PDF, 484K)
The Getting Started tutorial introduces the files in the SDK, covers the development tools, and shows you how to compile and build simple plug-ins.
3. Set up your development environment.
The Getting Started tutorial listed in Step 2 provides all the deails on setting up a development environment for developing InDesign plug-ins.
Note: To develop InDesign plug-ins, you need to be familiar with concepts and design patterns implemented in C++ and ODFRC (OpenDoc Framework Resource Compiler, included with the InDesign SDK) resource files. Note also, developing plug-ins for InDesign CS6 requires the following third-party software:
(Windows) Microsoft Visual C++ 9
(Mac OS X) Xcode versions 2.4.1 or 3.2.5
4. Begin working with the sample code:
Adobe InDesign CS6 Products Programming Guide (PDF, 16.1M)
Adobe InDesign CS6 Solutions Guide (PDF, 4.2M)
Getting started with scripting
You can use InDesign scripting support to automate tedious production tasks such as placing and replacing images, correcting errors in text, and preparing files for printing. Scripting also plays an integral role in XML- and IDML-based workflows. Here are some resources for both beginners and more experienced scripters. Check out the following scripting documentation set:
Adobe InDesign CS4 Scripting Tutorial (PDF, 1.1M)
InDesign Scripting Tutorial scripts (ZIP, 10K)
Adobe InDesign CS4 Scripting Guide: Discusses more advanced InDesign scripting topics. All tutorial scripts shown are included in a single ZIP archive, so there is no need to copy and paste scripts from the PDF file. (Most scripts shown in the text are incomplete fragments demonstrating a specific property, method, or technique.) Download the Adobe InDesign CS4 Scripting Guide for:
AppleScript (PDF, 952K)
VBScript (PDF, 941K)
Download the InDesign scripting guide scripts (ZIP, 631K)
Download the InDesign sample scripts (ZIP, 200K)
For more information and support
Getting started with InDesign Server development
Follow these steps to start building your first InDesign server plug-ins:
1. Fill out the InDesign Server download request form. Access to InDesign Server software is by request only.
IDS developer download request form (PDF, 284K)
2. Get an overview of Adobe InDesign Server.
Introduction to Adobe InDesign CS4 Server (PDF, 400K)
This document describes how to install and run InDesign Server in a simple environment and briefly describes how to communicate with InDesign Server from external components.
3. Install InDesign Server.
Note: Before installing InDesign Server, verify that your system meets the system requirements. Then run the installer provided by the ESD (Electronic Software Download) from the partner portal. When installed, you can run InDesign Server from the command line as described inthe section "Running InDesign Server" on page 10 of Introduction to Adobe InDesign CS4 Server. Please note that serialization for InDesign Server occurs at the command line on first launch by using the serial number parameter.
4. Set up your system.
Note: Be sure to refer to the detailed system requirements for running InDesign Server, located in the application's ReadMe file. If you want to run the InDesign Server Windows Service, you must have Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or higher installed. If you want to write Java code that uses the InDesign Server Java API, you need JDK 1.4.2 or higher.
More learning and training resources
Books and related resources
Effective C++: 55 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs (3rd Edition) (ISBN-10: 0321334876)
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software (ISBN-10: 0201633612)
Generic Programming and the STL: Using and Extending the C++ Standard Template Library (ISBN-10: 0201309564)
Beyond the C++ Standard Library: An Introduction to Boost (ISBN-10: 0321133544)
Adobe InDesign SDK Programming: Getting Started (Kris Coppieters)
Online developer training