InDesign Won’t Open? Let’s Solve It

There are a couple of reasons why your InDesign won’t open. Read on to find out why and get you back up and running.

InDesign won’t open because your version needs an update, or your preferences need to be updated.

It’s so frustrating when you sit down to do some work and realise your InDesign won’t open. Here’s what I suggest you try to solve the problem.

Check for Updates

This solution is the first go to explanation. Open your Adobe CC application and check for any application updates

If there is one available for InDesign, Click on it and update it now.

Wait for it to reach 100%. You may have to restart your machine as part of the process but I would recommend that you do this anyway, when everything has finished updating.

When your machine has restarted go to the InDesign application in Adobe CC and click on Open.

Hopefully this will have solved your problem but if not read on for further solutions.

Dumping Preferences

It is possible that even after you have updated your InDesign Application it still may not open.
This is sometimes caused by preferences from a previous version being brought forward into the new version. They clash and so the Application won’t open.

To solve this issue. Click on Open InDesign. While it is launching hold down the following keys

Windows: Shift + Ctrl + Alt
Mac OS: Shift + Ctrl + Opt + Command

PC Keyboard
MAC Keyboard

You will be asked if you want to delete all preferences. Click OK.

This will reset all preferences to the default settings. If you are having a clash with an older version, this is the best fix for this issue.

However, you may need to make a backup copy of your Preferences if you use very specific ones a lot. Save your Selected Preferences as a file called InDesign Defaults.

So what do preferences actually affect if you can’t or are not able to save a copy of your preferences?
They are settings that control types of measurements, display options and what panels are open and where.
They operate how your document will behave and look when you open it.

If you alter preference settings before opening a document these will then become the default for all documents. But if you change preferences when a document is already open these settings will only be applicable for this document.

The problem is if you can’t open your InDesign Application you may not have saved a Preference File. This will mean that you will have to reset your preferences to your own ideal once you have your fresh version open.

System and Application Updates

Due to the way Adobe now offers its programs, on a monthly / yearly subscription everyone stays relatively up to date. Your Creative Cloud is more than likely to auto update and this is how it should be.

Turning this off leads to future problems, with programmes crashing or hanging because it needs an update, to get rid of any bugs in the system.

Sometimes it’s just not practical to do an update. Try and make a note of it if you have had a flash notification and complete the update as soon as you can. And also do regular restarts of your machine.

The other issue is a System update, which I find is more Mac OS related than Windows. I was a die hard Mac User for 20+ years and last year changed to Windows PC. When I was using a Mac I seemed to be forever updating the system and obviously this has an impact on the application that you are using.

If you don’t keep everything up to date you’ll find that again you will have issues with InDesign not wanting to open or crashing all the time. They are designed to run with the latest OS and so if you are updating one and not the other, your InDesign will crash regularly.

The trick is not to panic. I used to have a bit of a meltdown if something went amiss on my machine. But everything is so streamlined now with new updates happening all the time, with Adobe ironing out any bugs that appear.

Worst case scenario go back and reinstall an older / previous version of InDesign if you are in the middle of a job and can’t give the time to fix the issue until later.
This is easily done through Adobe CC.

Persevere and find the way that will open your InDesign. It’s always a last resort to go back to a previous version. But sometimes it is the only fix, at least until you have your current job bag completed.

Here are some other posts that you might find useful:

Why are my Adobe products not opening?

Can Photoshop open Krita files?

Tara Cunningham

My name is Tara. I am a Graphic Designer for the last 25+ years. Designing everything from Wedding stationery to Magazines. I have been using Adobe products since I was in college and know all the tips and tricks that make life a little easier when completing a project. Hopefully you will find the answer to your question on

Recent Posts