The cursing has already started. You’ve installed CS4, but most of your studio’s active projects are still in InDesign CS3. Now each time you double-click on an InDesign CS3 document in the Mac Finder, it opens up in InDesign CS4.

InDesignProxy is a free utility that fixes this annoyance by working as a ’stand-in’ for InDesign. Drag any INDD file onto the InDesignProxy application, and it automatically opens your file in the correct version of InDesign.

[Update: Kris Coppieters has provided us a link to InDesignProxy 1.0.5 which allows you to set the Finder to open all INDD files this way automatically. We’ll be updating our tip later today to reflect the new version.]

Some Background: Which Version of InDesign?

InDesignCS3vsCS4.pngOn the Mac, every INDD file shows the same icon in the Finder. The two icons at right show a CS3 file and a CS4 file on a Mac. Both default to the last installed version of InDesign.

This will be a frustratingly familiar problem for many designers. We fielded a lot of calls and questions about this behavior back when InDesign CS3 first shipped, and now those calls are returning for InDesign CS4.

Solution A: Put InDesignProxy in your Dock.


The most straightforward way to address this InDesignCS3/CS4 annoyance is to simply add InDesignProxy to your Dock, and get into the habit of dragging your InDesign documents onto that icon. This isn’t as easy or natural as double-clicking on files in the Finder, but it is a solution many designers will appreciate.

Solution B: Keep InDesign CS3 running all the time.

Here is an interesting twist. If InDesign CS3 is already running, your CS3 documents will open up into the correct version of InDesign. So, if you still want to be able to double-click on INDD files in the Finder, one work-around is to make sure InDesign CS3 is always running.

I’m not a particular fan of this approach. But many designers found this solution handy back when we were dealing with the same frustrations when CS3 was released.

Solution C: Use Adobe Bridge; Open INDD files with InDesignProxy


A third approach is to skip the Mac Finder altogether, and start working in Bridge. In the Bridge preferences, under File Type Associations, set .indd files to open in InDesignProxy. You can happily go on double-clicking InDesign files in Bridge and know they’ll open in the correct version of InDesign.

Reward Offered: Change Finder “Open With” to InDesignProxy.

InDesignProxy-FinderInfo.pngAstute readers are probably asking themselves at this point, “Why not just set the Finder to always open INDD files in InDesignProxy?”

It seems you should be able to “get info” on an InDesign file, change the “Open with” default to InDesignProxy, and click the “Change All” button.

The problem is, it doesn’t work. Try it yourself. After clicking “Change All” the default snaps back to InDesign CS4. (Note: RCDefaultApp doesn’t appear to solve this problem either.)

Update: InDesignProxy 1.0.5 fixes this problem.

So we’re trying an experiment: I’m offering a reward for the first person who comes up with an easy, repeatable, way to change how INDD documents open when you double-click on them in the Mac Finder. We’ll send an Apple iPod touch 8GB to the first person who posts a workable solution to this challenge in our blog comments.

I’ll be the sole judge of what constitutes a workable solution. I’m hoping someone comes up with an answer. It would be well worth the cost of an iPod to solve this annoyance for our clients.

Talk to you in the comments below!

Source: We discovered InDesignProxy through a post on James Dempsey’s The Graphic Mac. This was followed by an excellent write-up by Bob Levine at InDesign Secrets.