Chapter 36. Using Plug-Ins


  • Using the default plug-ins

  • Purchasing special-purpose plug-ins

  • How plug-ins work within InDesign

  • Managing plug-ins

From the very get-go, the InDesign team engineered the software to be extensible — meaning you can extend its capabilities by adding more software. To do this, you use plug-ins, which are small software modules often developed by third parties. If you're a Photoshop user, you might be familiar with plug-ins such as Alien Skin's Eye Candy; or if you're a QuarkXPress user, you're probably familiar with the concept of add-on software through XTensions. Even if you're new to publishing, you may have purchased add-on software for your operating system, such as a custom screen saver or virus-protection software.

Extensible programs solve the one-size-fits-all nature of most software, letting you customize your tools to your workflow. If InDesign doesn't meet a need of yours — such as indexing, table editing, or imposition — you can look for a plug-in that does.

Using the Default Plug-Ins

Many core features in InDesign are actually implemented through plug-ins. When you launch the application, you may notice the words Caching plug-ins on the InDesign startup screen; this is when the plug-ins load. Structuring the software this way lets Adobe update or modify a finite area of the software and then distribute a new plug-in, instead of updating and distributing the entire application. Go to the Adobe Web site ( periodically to ...

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