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Restore InDesign CS5 PDF Export Progress Bar Apps
I was attached to InDesign CS3 for a long time but had to install CS5 to test a content management system. The second thing that made me crazy (the first thing being the application frame) was the absence of a progress bar when exporting a PDF.

Okay, might be a feature for most people because you can continue the work on that or any other document while the PDF export is in progress. But most of time I want to open the PDF in Acrobat or pass the PDF to another application after it's created. Now you have a zero kB PDF file until InDesign is finished with the export.

The following hint works in CS5, CS5.5, and CS6 as well:

Create a new blank text file with the file name DisableAsyncExports.txt and place that file in the InDesign application package itself (right-click on the application icon and select Show package content). Then go to the sub-directory Contents/MacOS and place the new file there.

After a restart of InDesign the progress-bars are back again, and you can tell immediately when the PDF is created.

[crarko adds: I suspect this is one of those things that will be undone by a software update. I would strongly suggest making a backup copy of the InDesign application file before making any changes, just in case. Out of curiosity, can someone using the cloud-based version of InDesign let us know if there is a progress bar or not?]
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Restore InDesign CS5 PDF Export Progress Bar
Authored by: edjonesy on Dec 04, '13 07:27:49AM
Or use "window" "utilities" "background tasks" menu, you can even assign a keyboard shortcut. This will show you the progress of PDF creation, even for more than one PDF if you are generating more than one, for example PDFX for print and web version or high quality password protected for the client. This has worked in CS5, 5.5, 6 and still in CC.
Busy fixing sh*t on LV426...
Edited on Dec 04, '13 07:29:29AM by edjonesy

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Restore InDesign CS5 PDF Export Progress Bar
Authored by: kostia on Dec 09, '13 06:40:55PM

I found background PDF export to be crashy. Sometimes it will just hang for no reason. So since CS5 I've used the JavaScript solution found at I just assign command-E to it instead of to the Export PDF command, and I never have to deal with background tasks again. This has worked through all the upgrades since 2010, and of course doesn't affect the app package itself.

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