How to cleanse your documents (to repair Required Plug-In alerts and other issues)

Sometimes, when you open an InDesign document, you may see a warning that a Required Plug-In is missing. When this occurs, you are continually forced to perform a Save As operation on the document and the document may give you some trouble in automated workflows.

If your document is displaying this warning (or if your document is exhibiting some strange behavior in general), it might be a good idea to give it a cleanse.

To cleanse a document, you simply export the document to IDML, and then open the resulting IDML document and save it in the Adobe InDesign document format. This should remove any required plug-in information, and give you a fresh start.


DesignMerge provides a built-in utility that will automatically cleanse the document for you. Just follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Open the document with DesignMerge software installed.
  2. Next, select DesignMerge > Options > Support Utilities > Clean Document.
  3. Follow the prompts.
  4. The document will be cleansed, saved and opened as a new document. A backup copy of the original document will also be stored in the same folder with the suffix of "-ORIGINAL" added to the filename.


Remember to review your document before running the Cleanse Document utility to determine whether any DesignMerge Page Rules have been assigned to any of the pages in the document. This utility will retain all DesignMerge tags and other settings in the document, however, it will NOT retain any DesignMerge Page Rule assignments that may have been applied to the document.

If the document was using Page Rules, this condition is relatively easy to repair. Once you have cleansed the document, just reassign the Page Rules to the pages. The definition of the Page Rules still exist, so all you need to do is reassign them, which is very easy to do.


The Cleanse Document utility removes all Index Builder assignments. If Index Builder entries are assigned to content in the original document, you will need to reassign the Index Builder entries to content in the cleansed document. One way to do this is described below:

  1. Open the original document.
  2. Select a frame or group that has an Index Builder assignment.
  3. Click the Copy All button on the Index Tagger panel.
  4. Open the cleansed version of the document and select the corresponding frame or group. 
  5. Click the Paste All button on the Index Tagger panel. 
  6. Repeat these steps for each Index Builder Tag that was removed by the Cleanse Document utility.