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Overview of Creating Templates in InDesign

Customer's Canvas can import products templates from InDesign files.

Valid InDesign Templates

You can feed .idml files to Customer's Canvas. The editor works with one-page templates containing images, texts, and shapes. Although Customer's Canvas supports RGB, CMYK, and Grayscale color spaces, it is recommended to stick to the same color space in a single frame.


The web-to-print editor supports embedded and linked images. You can use both raster and vector graphics in your templates. Customer's Canvas loads image frames as image items by default. If you need them as placeholders, add the <PH> marker to the image name. You can create placeholders of arbitrary forms by using frames of a free shape and placing images to these frames.

Customer's Canvas supports scale, move, and rotate transforms. Other transforms are ignored.


Customer's Canvas allows work with any shape that you created in InDesign. While importing shapes, Customer's Canvas applies a solid stroke and solid fill to them.

Such corner types as fancy, rounded, or other are not applied. When you import such shapes into the editor, they will have the regular corners.


You can use both text in frames and text on type paths. Text on a path appears on the canvas with default formatting.

Text in text frames supports multi-column layouts. However, when you change the column number in Customer's Canvas, the text frame becomes a rectangular box, and the gutter resets to the default value of 10pt. Therefore, we recommend that you disable changing the columns for non-rectangular text by using the <TACCC> marker. Customer's Canvas only supports text wrapping and copyfitting by using the corresponding markers.

Now let us try to create an InDesign template that is compatible with Customer's Canvas.

Tutorial: the First Template

Let us imagine that we want to create a template for a badge. The size of this badge is 3.5x2.25 inches, and to keep it simple, it comprises three elements: a background image, a name, and a photo. In InDesign, perform the following steps:

  1. Create a new document. On the File menu, click New > Document and specify the size of 3.5x2.25 inches and the portrait orientation.
  2. Add a background image. On the File menu, click Place.
  3. Add an image frame. On the Tools panel, select an Ellipse Frame Tool and draw an ellipse.
  4. Add a photo. For example, drag it from Windows File Explorer to the ellipse frame.
  5. Add a name. On the Tools panel, click Type Tool, and drag to create a bounding rectangle, then enter the name.

As a result, you should get something like this:

An IDML template.

Converting Templates to IDML

Customer's Canvas works with .idml files. If you already have a library of .indd files or are going to use linked images in Customer's Canvas, you need to build a package as follows:

  1. On the File menu, click Package.
  2. In the Package dialog box, click Fonts and Links and Images to verify that fonts and images are available and there are no missing links, and then click Package.
  3. In the Package Publication dialog box, select and clear check boxes according to the following image:

    InDesign package publication.

  4. Click Package.

To open this template in Customer's Canvas, copy the resulting .idml file with images in the \Links\ folder to \ProductTemplates\designs\. If your template uses fonts not being installed on your server, you can copy them from the \Document fonts\ subfolder to \SimplePolygraphy\Fonts\.

When you initialize a product by using its template name, you should see something like this:

The IDML template loaded to the web-to-print designer.

Managing the Behavior of Design Elements

You may want to manage the template's behavior in the web-to-print designer, for example, by disabling transforms of elements or locking a position of design elements. Since Adobe InDesign does not provide such kind of formatting, we have created a system of so-called markers - special symbols which you add to an element name, used by Customer's Canvas to manage permissions for each design element. You can find details on a syntax of the markers and a complete list of them in the Supported Markers topic.

So, as the last step of this tutorial, let us configure this template to disallow changing the background and enable copyfitting for the text element. This exercise gives you an idea of how to work with the markers.

To mark the background as a non-editable image, select the appropriate element name on the Layers tab in InDesign and add <LC><OID_f> to it. There is no difference in what position you place the marker - at the beginning of the name, in the end, or somewhere inside a line. Moreover, you may leave only the marker if you like.

You can enable copyfitting in a similar way. Double-click the text layer name and add the <TOS_FitToWidth> marker to fit text to the width of its bounding rectangle.

As a result, the Layers tab looks as follows:

The elements List in the IDML template.

Now if you upload the modified template to the server, you see that the background disappears from the list of editable objects and long names fit the box width.

Preparing Customer's Canvas Templates from Existing InDesign Files

It is easy to keep IDML files compatible with Customer's Canvas when you create them from scratch. However, you may already have a number of INDD files created by designers before they become aware of the way the systems work together. In this case, convert your templates to the IDML format as we described earlier in this topic. Moreover, if you load those templates in Customer's Canvas, they might not look as you would expect.

Here is a list of the most common issues with IDML files and guidelines on how to address them.

Images Do Not Load

Customer's Canvas loads linked images if they are in the same folder as the IDML file or in the \Links\ subfolder.

Solution: First, verify that these images are in the required folders. If they are but still do not load, relink them in InDesign:

  1. Open your IDML file right from the \designs\ folder.
  2. Navigate to the Links tab and specify the correct path.

Only the First Page Appears in the Editor

Customer's Canvas imports only the first page of IDML files.

Solution: Create separate templates for different pages. After you built their packages in different folders, you can manually move all fonts to a \Document fonts\ subfolder and images to \Links\ and then put IDML files with these folders to \ProductTemplates\designs\.

Anything Else?

If your template is displaying incorrectly, you can contact our tech team and send your zipped template to us. We will check out what is wrong with this it and suggest a solution.

See Also