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InDesign-Asset-Link PDF-Export challenges witch AEMaaCS.


Community Advisor

Hi dear Community,
i hope you arrived well and healthy in 2024!
I did and now getting into the next AEM challenge... i got a lot of reports about this topic:
PDF-Export from InDesign files that have a lot of Assets linked to AEMaaCS.
Our company did not have a great start working with AEM Assets and its connection to InDesign but the latest Asset Link update brought great relieve.
Now we stumble into the next challenge. Let me tell you a bit about the situation.
I am very interested to hear from your experiences about the topic.

The situation:
Big catalogue file. Ca. 600 assets that are all correctly linked to the AEM.
Each asset is about 50MB in size, but in the InDesign file, each asset is layouted to be only as big as a passport photo.
There is a FPO setting, so placing files in a document is really quick.
Exporting a print-quality PDF takes 2 hours. In this timeframe InDesign is completely unresponsive.
(For comparison, if i have the files locally - this export takes less then 8 minutes AND InDesign does it thing in a background operation, which enables the user to work uninterrupted).

I got this feeling that the process itself works a bit like this.
InDesign is downloading 23GB one asset at a time in full resolution to convert this into a 150MB PDF.
Any disturbance, for example a short internet connection issue, resolves into a failed PDF export.
InDesign checks the connection for the first Asset, caches this file, than writes it into the PDF, then checks the second Asset, caches this file and so on:
Instead of checking/caching all the files and only then proceeds with the PDF creation.
It is just a hunch, but i think that might explain this very outcome.
I have reports from multiple AEM users in my company that have all replicated the issue multiple times with different InDesign files of that magnitude.

One obvious solution is an InDesign Server, but this is very very very expensive and i am not sure if the current problem could not be fixed without such an expensive fix.

What i expected: 
I had the delusion, and i don't know exactly where i got that from - that InDesign has some sort of smarter request to AEM.
Instead of getting the asset in original size, one requesting the asset in the size that the output needs to be.
Similarly to the dynamic media, creating a smaller version and delivering what is needed to InDesign. 
To make this a bit clearer.
One Asset might be originally 5000x8000px but for the PDF, the effective pixel size is only 800x1200px.

Did you have similar experiences? 
Did you found a way to fix this or do you have an idea what could fix it?
Is there something i could check - maybe there is a checkbox somewhere in the system i have overlooked?

I am eager to hear your feedback.
Have a nice day and a great year.


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2 Replies


Community Advisor

Feedback from the Adobe Support and the engineering team:
"Each image has to be retrieved from AEM (in full) and then downsampled locally before being put into the PDF. It would be a LOT faster if they could downsample the images ahead of placing into the InDesign file."
Which falls in line with my observations.

But now i am looking for a solution.
Downsampling all the original files will not be an option since the originals are also the basis for bigger displays and fair-designs. 50mb is not that big of a file when we are talking print media.
Maybe an InDesign server will be needed...

Has anybody any feedback on the topic?

Regards (and a happy new year:)


Community Advisor

Hello dear Community,
this is not an update, but rather i took away the "correct answer" lable from my last update.
It may be correct, but it is not a solution yet :).

Please do me a favor and reply here in case you have found a way or software to have a print media production workflow for AEMaaCS that does not suffer from the problem i am described.