The Layers plug-in – Layer management in InDesign

With a special plug-in – MadeForLayers – MadeToPrint extends the layer management in Adobe InDesign. The user can control the layer visibility with a clear user interface. Hence – for example, in multilingual publications – you can hide or show the layers belonging to a respective language output together for text and image.

Opening and Using MadeForLayers

MadeForLayers for InDesign and Illustrator has a user interface that intelligently displays and hides layers containing interrelated content.

Users can open the layer management interface by selecting the menu item Plug-ins; MadeForLayers.

Dialog Overview

MadeForLayers has three dialogs offering several different features.

  • Extended dialog
  • Normal dialog
  • Minimal dialog

Extended dialog

The extended dialog offers all of the options needed to edit layer views, switch between layers and create new ones.


Normal dialog

In the normal dialog you can switch between layer views and change the visibility of layers. You cannot edit layer views or layers in this dialog. You cannot edit layer views or layers in this dialog.


Minimal dialog

This very compact, minimized dialog allows you to switch back and forth between the layer views only by using the pop-up.


Creating layer views

To create layer views, switch to the extended dialog. If your document already contains layer views, these are shown in the top part of the window. If no layers have been created, this area remains empty.

The window is divided into two sections. The layer views are shown in the top section along with the corresponding buttons for adding, editing and removing layer views, saving, resetting and for importing and exporting settings. The layers of the document are shown in the lower section of the window along with buttons for creating, deleting and editing these layers.

You can also save the layer views as an InDesign template. Documents created using these templates are then automatically given the same layer views.

Configuring a new layer view

The user can add a layer view by clicking on the button with the green plus symbol in the upper section of the layer management window.


In the following dialog you can give the setting a name. The new layer view is automatically populated with the layers that are currently visible in the document.

The example shows the visibility of the layers for product images, price and text in the English version; the visibility of all other layers is deactivated.

MadeForLayers can be used, among other things, for multi-lingual production and for printing packaging.

You can use the same procedure to create layer views for additional languages or for technical or marketing-specific views too.


After configuration, you can click on the items in the layer views in order to switch between the various views of the respective language versions.


Making a layer view the default

If you would like to make a certain layer the default view, use the Make Default function. This way you can define a default view for multiple layer views for example, for the print shop.


Overview: Which layer views contain a certain layer?

The extended view allows the user to expand the layer items in the list and see an overview of the layer views that use the specific layers.


Adding special metadata to different layers

MadeForLayers allows you to associate metadata directly with a certain layer. The user clicks on the desired layer and clicks the Edit button to open the Edit Layer window. Here you can complete the Layer Metadata fields.

This feature is useful, for example, if you want to pass on layer-specific production instructions. When using MadeToPrint to print the data to a PDF file, these metadata are applied to the respective layer in the PDF document.

Via Processing Steps Metadata you can specify metadata according to ISO standard 19593-1 ("Use of PDF to associate processing steps and content data"). These are predefined groups and types of metadata which help to distinguish content from "processing steps" (e.g. glue areas) when processing the PDF in the workflow.

Under Layer metadata you can specify any freely define metadata.

Edit Layer

The integrated pdfToolbox feature from callas software allows metadata layers to be displayed.

Exporting settings and importing them into other documents

For recurring production runs having an identical layer structure, you can optimize the workflow by using the options for importing and exporting settings. This requires that the layer structure and the names of the layers match.


Integration in MadeToPrint

MadeToPrint has the capability to use layer views from MadeForLayers for printing and the export to various file formats (including PDF, EPS, various image file formats).

Exporting all layer views into a single PDF/X-4 file

In this example a MadeToPrint Output Job is created, and the layer views are exported to a PDF/X-4 file.

axaio MadeToPrint

Under Output you can select the destination file (PDF). The PDF default settings are opened by clicking the Setup... button. In this example, the default PDF/X-4:2008 is used since it supports PDF/X as well as layers.

axaio MadeToPrint

Under Layers you will find two options that allow you to open the layer views from MadeForLayers. Three modes are listed at the bottom: Output default layer view, Output all layer views separately and Output layer views by name.

axaio MadeToPrint

Output default layer view - Selecting the first option applies the default view (which you may have defined yourself) to the PDF file.
Output all layer views separately - The second option causes all layer views that were created in the original document to be included in the export. Finally, the selection is saved.
Output layer views by name - The third setting requires a selection of layer views by name.

In Run Mode of MadeToPrint, you can then select the new Output Job and run it by clicking the Run button..

axaio MadeToPrint


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