Saving Backwards from InDesign CS4 to CS2

Being able to save backwards multiple versions has been an ongoing frustration for some InDesign users, especially those who don’t upgrade with each version. The process for opening a CS4 document in CS3 is fairly straightforward. Export the CS4 document to INX format, and then open the INX file in the updated version of InDesign CS3.

Unfortunately, you can’t open that INX file in InDesign CS2. Instead, you have to play a leapfrog game in which you open the INX file in InDesign CS3, save it, and then export it again to an INX file, which can then be opened in InDesign CS2. That’s all fine and dandy, but what if you don’t have InDesign CS3? In this case, I’m not sure what the best solution is. Here’s a comment Richard left in the Help topic on saving backwards:

You may want to add this to the Adobe suggestion box: have an automated, fee-based set-up where users can upload files to be converted to earlier Adobe products. I, like Lauren and Robb, need a couple of InDesign CS4 files “saved down” to CS2 and am not comfortable with having a ‘stranger’ in the forum converting proprietary files for us. If we users could pay a few bucks per file to be able to upload it (via e-mail or FTP) to Adobe, have it converted, then e-mailed back to us that’d be a great service to us customers

For a number of months, I offered a free service in which I used InDesign CS3 on my computer to save files that can be opened in InDesign CS2. Due to a combination of technical and personal reasons, I can no longer provide this service.Here are your alternatives:* Try the method that David Blatner mentioned in comments for saving down from CS4 to CS2.* Find someone who has InDesign CS3 and ask them to export your CS4 INX files again to an INX format that can be opened in InDesign CS2. Someone in the InDesign user forums might be able to help.* Convince the person running InDesign CS2 to upgrade to the newest version of InDesign.* To complain to Adobe about the ongoing inability to save backwards more than one version, fill out an online form.

25 Responses to Saving Backwards from InDesign CS4 to CS2

  1. This is extremely generous of you, Bob! But one other option open to people is laid out by Mike Rankin here:

  2. Vivienne says:

    Agreed – this is extremely generous of you. This helps us exponentially – and saved me from HOURS of work re-creating the CS4 document in CS2. Thank you thank you!

  3. Flora says:

    I have a client who sends me docs in CS2 – I am using Cs4. I don’t need to use Cs4 for this job.I still have disks for CS2. Is there a way to reload CS2? (I’ve tried reinstalling but the serial number comes back as invalid.)[Call Adobe Customer Support. They'll help you with your serial number. -Bob]

  4. Elaine Gotham says:

    I am working in CS3 and have a CS4 file that came in for a job.Can you give me directions, if any, on how to open the CS4 file from CS3?Thanks.Elaine

  5. Peter says:

    In the past I have used this .inx trick to open CS4 files in CS2, but now it no longer works. We are usning version 6.0.3. Did Adobe do do something to prevent this from working.

  6. Bernie X says:

    The INX trick is schweet! I tried it today; went from CS4 v6.0.3 straight to CS2 v4.0.5 without a hitch.

  7. Maria Fascione says:

    Where can I find the plugin for InDesign CS3 which enables me to open .inx files (saved from InDesign CS4). I cannot find the name of the plugin so searching for it is a nightmare. I have downloaded & installed all recent CS3 updates & this still does not work.RegardsMaria Fascione

  8. It sounds like someone used a 3rd party plug-in to create the CS4 document, and that plug-in isn’t allowing the INX file to be opened in CS3. Send me the original InDesign CS4 file, and I’ll try to save it as an INX file that you can open in CS3. bbringhu at adobe dot com

  9. Grover says:

    I would bristle at having to pay a fee, no matter how small, for downsaving. These software developers should be making their programs backwards compatible — in both directions — as a matter of course. This is just a scam, a kind of planned obsolescence, to induce more people to shell out the big bucks for upgrades of dubious quality. This is morally reprehensible and will only hasten the march of open source.

  10. renaz89 says:

    seriously!! thanks! MUCH appreciated!!

  11. Tina says:

    I’m supposed to be working on my school district’s budget book and the file is currently in InDesign CS4. I only have CS2, and my trial period for CS4 is over. They say I have to upgrade then entire suite, rather than just InDesign, which costs $699. The district can’t/won’t pay for that, but I have to finish the project (it’s over 400 pages) this weekend! Any suggestions?

  12. Carol Brooks says:

    Save BackwardsDoes this offer still apply

  13. Gaz says:

    And they wonder why people download CS from bittorrent? I for one would NOT pay Adobe to ‘rent’ CS.There is a simple solution to the problem, go to the pirate bay, and download the CS4 torrent (~18Gb) like I just did, works a charm!

  14. Mike says:

    Trying to work on CS2 documents with my legal CS4 install, works fine but cannot save as CS2… wowIf Microsoft did this (docx is optional BTW) with office there would be rioting in the streets, but becasue its Adobe its just the way it is.Lets hope CS5 offers backward compatibility this time.. not looking forward to the upgrade bill though, ouch.come on opensource ppl, make an alternative which supports indesign files.

  15. Berthold says:

    I’m currently compiling an article about design software and was wondering whether you knew of any complete collection of backwards compatibility issues in the CS series. I don’t get why compatibility is broken between releases on a regular basis.Also, you don’t happen to be related to *the* Robert Bringhurst, would you?

  16. MrBomBom says:

    Here is the amazingly simple solution for opening Cs4 files in cs2 without going via cs3
    Check out the clever guys who provide this “hack of the year” I love them
    Find the solution here:

  17. I have one comment for you about the convert higher version to lower versions Why not generate you cs5 to cs4, cs3, cs2, cs. My meaning is Please generate the save as higher version to lower versions.

  18. Jane says:

    INDD CS5 here at home. INDD CS2 at work. Only Adobe program I have having issues with as far as “saving down” so I might work from home on various projects. This should be fixed! Ugh!

  19. Marko says:

    InDesign CS5 at work, CS2 at home. I need to be able to save CS5 files so that I can continue working at home. Please solve the problem.

  20. David Pruett says:

    I put in a bid on a big freelance job and won. The client sent me the first set of files to work on (from a series of books being updated to new editions.) Unfortunately the client has CS2 and I have CS4 and we needed to be able to swap files back and forth. I tried exporting as .inx but these are complex layouts and the results were not great.
    Long story short, I lost the job and they went with someone who has CS2. So I shell out big bucks to Adobe and how do I get repaid? By getting screwed out of even more money for no good reason! What total BS! Adobe, are you listening?!?

  21. Kathe Gregory says:

    How do I save an InDesign CS5 file to a CS3? There is no option for exporting to INX, only something called XML. Please help!

  22. Zainuddin says:

    How to save my files CS 4 to ‘saving down’ to CS 2


  23. Kenzie777 says:

    How do I save an InDesign CS4 label to Adobe or Microsoft word format?