Using Multi-Device Export for Multiple Devices

As of version 3.5 of the Mag+ InDesign Plugin, you can now automatically transform the design you are working on to a number of different device formats at once.

For each device you select, Mag+ will create a new InDesign document using that device's template and copy all the elements and settings on your current layout to it, either at the same size or scaled for the new template.

You can use this feature to go one step further and have the Mag+ InDesign Plugin export the new layout as a finished Vertical to an Issue folder or you can go in and tweak the new layout and then export manually. Even if you are only producing content for Apple's iPad and iPad Retina devices, the Vertical export feature can shorten your workflow, making exporting for both devices a one-click operation.

Note: Mag+ will do its best to take your InDesign layout and reformat it for the different devices you select. While the Vertical export feature can significantly shorten your workflow, it is recommended that -- at least for the first export -- you open each generated InDesign file prior to generating a finished Vertical and ensure that layout components have been placed and/or scaled properly.

For more information about Multi-Device Export, read the article "Multi-Device Export: Tips and Tricks".

Properly configuring an Issue folder

In the Quick Start examples and other articles, a simple Issue folder was presented for creating content for a single device. If you plan to use the Multi-Device Export feature, it is recommended that you modify your Issue folder to ensure that files get generated where you expect them.

1. In each Issue folder, add a Verticals folder.

Multi-Device Export will create subfolders based on the device name it is generating. Therefore, it is useful to have a Verticals folder in each of your Issue folders to store the export from the Mag+ InDesign Plugin.

A suggested naming convention for the Verticals folder is year-month number-Verticals. Since the Mag+ Production Tool only displays the folder name for an Issue, having it listed with a date will help you understand what Issue you are working on.

Important: In the Mag+ Production Tool, set this Verticals folder as the Issue folder under the Issue Settings area of the interface. 
In each Issue folder, add a Verticals folder.

2. In the Verticals folder, create a subfolder for the first device you are designing.

Mag+ uses a strict naming convention for the devices it supports when using the Multi-Device Export feature. The following device names will be used when automatically generating folders that contain the transformed layouts and Verticals:

  • Android Phone 1184x720
  • Android Phone 1280x720
  • Android Tablet 1280x800
  • Android Tablet 2560x1600
  • Apple iPad
  • Apple iPad Retina
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • Apple iPhone 5
  • Apple iPhone 6
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
  • Kindle Fire 1024x600
  • Kindle Fire HD 7
  • Kindle Fire HD 8.9
  • Kindle Fire HDX 7
  • Kindle Fire HDX 8.9

By using one of these names as the folder name in the Verticals folder, the Mag+ InDesign Plugin can automatically place content in the proper location. Also, these folder names are vital for the Mag+ Production Tool to be able to switch between devices for previewing their content.

Important: In the Mag+ InDesign Plugin, set the folder of the first device you are designing as your Export folder in the Mag+ Vertical panel. This will ensure that other device folders are created in the proper location.
In the Verticals folder, create a subfolder for the first device you are designing.

3. In the InDesign Files folder, create a subfolder for the first device you are designing.

Similar to the Verticals folder, device folders in the InDesign Files folder allow you to neatly organize your layouts so that you know what files are designated for which device.

In the InDesign Files folder, create a subfolder for the first device you are designing.

Using Multi-Device Export

1. Open the InDesign document that you will use to export to other devices.

In this example we use an InDesign document designed for the iPad Retina as the original document.

Note: Each device has its own InDesign template which will be shown in the Device area at the top of the Mag+ Vertical panel; be sure to note whether you are building an iPad or iPad Retina document.
Open the InDesign document that you will use to export to other devices.

2. In InDesign, show the Mag+ Settings panel (Mag+ -> Mag+ Settings Panel).

In InDesign, show the Mag+ Settings panel (Mag+ -> Mag+ Settings Panel).

3. At the bottom of the Mag+ Settings panel, click the triangle next to Device Templates.

This will show a list of devices available to export.

Next to each device are links to templates used by the Mag+ InDesign Plugin for export. It is important that these links go to the correct template for the device you intend to export. These templates are used as defaults for each device export.  Mag+ installs all device templates in the following locations:

  • Mac OS X: Applications -> Mag+ -> Templates
  • Windows: Program Files (or Program Files (x86)) -> Mag+ -> Templates.

By default, the links point to templates in this folder, so do not change this setting unless you move the default location for the device templates.

If you wish to permanently change the default location of the templates, you can point to a new location by clicking on the icon next to the device listed. If the icon is red, it means that the template cannot be found.

D stands for a regular Vertical template (e.g. magplus_template_CS6.indt). T stands for a Table of Contents template (e.g. TOC_template_CS6.indt).

At the bottom of the Mag+ Settings panel, click the triangle next to Device Templates.

4. Make sure that the device templates are available before continuing.

If an icon is red, it means that the device template cannot be found. Click on the red icon next to the device to locate the template.

Make sure that the device templates are available before continuing.

5. In InDesign, show the Mag+ Vertical panel (Mag+ -> Mag+ Vertical Panel).

In InDesign, show the Mag+ Vertical panel (Mag+ -> Mag+ Vertical Panel).

6. At the bottom of the Mag+ Vertical panel, click the triangle next to Additional Devices.

All available devices will be shown in the list. The templates for these devices are set to the default templates configured in the Mag+ Settings panel. if you want to override the default template for a specific layout, you can link to a new template by clicking on the document icon in the "T" column and it will only apply to the currently open layout. You can click the back-arrow next to the document icon to revert to the default device template.

At the bottom of the Mag+ Vertical panel, click the triangle next to Additional Devices.

7. Check the box next to each device you wish to generate a new layout for.

Upon export, the Mag+ InDesign Plugin will create an InDesign file for each device you choose.

Note: The checkbox for the device used for your current layout will not be available to choose (it will be greyed out).
Check the box next to each device you wish to generate a new layout for.

8. (Optional) Choose additional options for the export.

  • If you check the "O" box for a particular device, the newly created InDesign file will open automatically when the export is finished.
  • If you check the "V" box, the system will export a new Vertical to your selected Export Folder as well.
(Optional) Choose additional options for the export.

9. Save your InDesign document.

Note: You must save the current document before performing the multi-device export.

10. Click "Export to Additional Devices" to start the export.

When the process is finished, a dialog box will appear showing any errors encountered during export and show where the new InDesign file is located.

Click "Export to Additional Devices" to start the export.

Locations of new InDesign files

When exporting, Mag+ will create a new folder for each device selected. The folder will be named with the device name and be created one level up from the currently open InDesign document.

In the example below, an InDesign Files folder exists within an Issue folder. Inside the InDesign Files folder is a folder called Apple iPad Retina where the original InDesign document exists. Upon multi-device export, Mag+ creates new device folders one level up and puts the newly generated InDesign documents inside.

Note: If you create your own folders ahead of time per device, try to use the same naming scheme as the Mag+ InDesign Plugin (see "Properly configuring an Issue folder" above for a list of device names used by Mag+). If you do not, Mag+ will create new folders with the device naming scheme and may cause confusion.
Locations of new InDesign files

Location of newly exported Verticals

If you choose to have the Multi-Device Export feature create new Verticals as well, the system will create a new folder for each selected device one level above your chosen Export folder (defined in the Mag+ Vertical panel of the InDesign plugin).

Mag+ suggests you create a Verticals folder inside your Issue folder. Inside the Verticals folder, create the first device folder for which you are designing (i.e. Apple iPad Retina) and select that as the Export folder. Mag+ will then create the other device folders alongside it when you export to additional devices. Refer to "Properly configuring an Issue folder" above to see what Mag+ suggests as a folder structure for multiple devices.

Location of newly exported Verticals

Scaling options when exporting

You have five choices when exporting a layout to a new device:

  • Layer Scale - This option scales the elements on the B - Slides - Main Content layer relative to the page size and the elements on the B - Pinned and A - Tower layers relative to the visible area guides. This ensures that elements meant to stay inside the visible area remain visible even when the aspect ratio changes on the new device. It is therefore important to build your layouts with this in mind and put objects on the B - Slides - Main Content or B - Pinned layers according to how you want them to export.
  • Center - This option keeps all elements the same size and just adjusts their position relative to the center of the page.
  • Layer Skew - This option is recommended for PDF replicas, it scales the content on the A or B layers to fit to the device template size disproportionately (not recommended if you do not want your content stretched).
  • Page Scale - This option scales the A-Main Tower layer proportionately for all devices. Also, the A-Layer and B-Layer content will all scale exactly the same.
  • Center Page Scale - This option scales both layers using the Page Scale rule but centers the B layer scaling instead of using the page origin. (Use for verticals with B-Layer only).
Note: All links, media boxes, Popups and HTML elements will be transferred to the new document and the path for any linked files, such as movies or HTML files, will be updated as well. (Important: For images in embedded HTML elements, you will need to swap in versions of the images at each device resolution you export to.) 
Scaling options when exporting

Using the Mag+ Production Tool with Multi-Device Export

As of v4.2 of the Mag+ Production Tool, you can point the Issue Folder setting (Label 1) to the Verticals folder located within your Issue folder. This allows you to easily copy the order of your Verticals across multiple devices (Label 2) as well as create multiple Issue MIBs at once for different devices (Label 3).

Using the Mag+ Production Tool with Multi-Device Export
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