HistoryLog Manual

This is a very simple tool that can perform two tasks:

  • On every save, insert a simple ‘live’ time stamp into a designated text frame
  • Keep an automated log of file modifications to an InDesign document in another designated text frame

Be aware that this tool depends on goodwill and cooperation between the members of the team – no attempt has been made to guard against any ill-willed user who refuses to use the tool properly. It is quite easy to mis-use this tool if you are so inclined. As a result, this tool will probably be most useful in small teams where there is full mutual trust between the team members.

The tool is very simple to use once a document has been prepared by designating one or two text frames to respectively keep the time stamp and/or the document history.

For both functions, the tool uses a tracking ID – it is up to the user to decide what information to use for this tracking ID. Most often this will be the user’s full name, initials, first name – whatever is most appropriate.

The tool will auto-update a designated text frame (the timestamp box) with a time stamp consisting of

  • Document name
  • Tracker ID
  • Time and date of the last save

The tool will also append a log entry at the end of a designated text frame (called the history box) on each ‘open’ and each ‘save’ . The log entry consists of the tracking ID together with a time stamp. The history box typically resides on your document’s pasteboard.

Over time, the history box accumulates a history of who has opened or saved the document, and when.

This tool is not meant to be used for time tracking – it simply keeps track of who opened the document, and when – not for how long the document was edited.


Please make sure you have a copy of the APID ToolAssistant plug-in installed.

Make sure you install the proper plug-in for your version of InDesign. InDesign CS, CS2, CS3 and CS4 plug-ins are mutually incompatible.

If you already have an APID ToolAssistant plug-in installed (e.g. because you use one of our other plug-ins), make sure it is up-to-date.

APID ToolAssistant used to be called ‘Active Page Item Runtime‘ – if you have any copies of Active Page Item Runtime or Active Page Item Developer installed, please remove them, and replace them with APID ToolAssistant.

When installing plug-ins make sure you copy plug-in files, not the folders they are contained in.

HistoryLog will continue to work when the APID ToolAssistant demo expires.
i.e You do NOT need to purchase a license for APID ToolAssistant.

Copy the HistoryLog.spln into the same folder as the APID ToolAssistant plug-in you installed (typically that will be the InDesign Plug-Ins folder). Don’t worry about the icon of the .spln file: it might not be a ‘regular’ icon, and that’s OK.


Below a step-by-step instruction on how to add a history or a timestamp box to your document.

To keep a log of file manipulations:

  • Create a text frame somewhere. A history box would typically be created in the pasteboard area of page 1; a timestamp box would instead sit on the first page, last page, or on a master page.
  • Select the text frame using the selection tool (black arrow tool). Make sure you are not in text selection mode.
  • Use the Window – Automation – Script Label menu (in InDesign CS2 or CS3) or theWindow – Scripting – Script Label menu (in InDesign CS) to bring up the palette where you can define a label for the text frame.
  • Label the frame either with the word history (all lowercase) or timestamp (all lowercase).
  • After typing the label, click somewhere else in the document window to deselect the box.
  • Close and save the document.
  • Re-open the document; do some modifications and save. Either on open or on save or both, a dialog for the tracking ID will appear. Fill in your name or whatever text you want to use as a tracking identification.
  • You’ll want to adjust the width of the history text box and its tab settings to make sure the log entries each fit on a single line.

This operation creates a ‘live’ text box.

If you have a history box, each time the file is opened or saved, a dialog for a tracking ID will be opened. Then this tracking ID is appended to the history together with a time stamp.

If you added only a timestamp box, the dialog will only appear each time the file is saved.

Let us know if this plug-in is useful to you, at [email protected]. Thanks!