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023 Copying objects between Illustrator and InDesign

From: InDesign Secrets

Video: 023 Copying objects between Illustrator and InDesign

David Blatner: Don't let my friend and fellow lynda.com author Morty Golding hear me say this, but I actually think Illustrator is pretty darn cool. You know he and I have a running argument over which is better, InDesign or Illustrator, but we both really know the truth. Both programs are better. The key is to use the right tool at the right time. For example this map of California here, I would never want to create that in InDesign. That'd be crazy. So I created it in Illustrator and placed it into InDesign. Now when I wanted to bring this into InDesign, I actually had two choices.

023 Copying objects between Illustrator and InDesign

David Blatner: Don't let my friend and fellow lynda.com author Morty Golding hear me say this, but I actually think Illustrator is pretty darn cool. You know he and I have a running argument over which is better, InDesign or Illustrator, but we both really know the truth. Both programs are better. The key is to use the right tool at the right time. For example this map of California here, I would never want to create that in InDesign. That'd be crazy. So I created it in Illustrator and placed it into InDesign. Now when I wanted to bring this into InDesign, I actually had two choices.

I could place it, meaning go to the File menu and choose Place. That way I can place an AI file or a PDF file from Illustrator. Or I could have copied and pasted it into InDesign. The fact that InDesign and Illustrator that you copy and paste vector artwork back and forth is extremely powerful, but you have to be very careful when you do it. Let me zoom in on this so we can see what's going on. This graphic has some special Illustrator effects applied to it. It has Gradient Mesh. It has the Illustrator Extrude effect applied to it and those are the kind of things that you want to generally place, not paste, into InDesign.

Anytime you have a special effect that you really want to maintain the high quality, placing is the better option. In fact, I would even generalize that more and say that anytime you have a graphic that you're not going to be editing specifically in InDesign, you want to place it, not paste it. But there are times that copy and paste turn out to be really useful. For example, I want to do something special with the outline of this map in this document. So first I'm going to Option+double- click on the Mac or Alt+double-click on Windows and that's the same thing as going to the Edit menu and choosing Edit Original and Edit Original opens this file, this graphic, in its original application, in this case Adobe Illustrator.

Let's zoom in on this and you can see it's the same graphic, but in illustrator. Now I want just the outline of this graphic in InDesign to do something special with. So I'm not going to use the Selection tool, the black arrow tool. I am going to use the white Direct Selection tool to select the outline. I'll Option+click on the outline and that forces Illustrator to select all of the points on the outline itself. Now I'll press Command+C or Ctrl+C on Windows, switch back to InDesign, pan over here a little bit by holding down the Option+Spacebar or Alt+Spacebar so I see a different part of my document and then I am going to paste.

It's Command+V or Ctrl+V. Now you will notice that this map is much larger than it was before and that is because that graphic, that Adobe Illustrator file, had been placed and then resized smaller in InDesign. So I am going to get the same sizing here by coming up here to the Control panel and saying let's make this about 40%. I'll drag it into position. Now the great thing about copying and pasting from Illustrator to InDesign is you can edit this in InDesign. That is this is a real vector outline. In fact if I press the A key to switch to the Direct Selection tool, you can see all the same points on the path that you saw in Illustrator.

It's exactly the same thing. So what kind of things might want to do? Well, for example you might want to change the Fill Color. I'll make that None. Or you might want to change the Stroke Color. I'll make it black and make it a little bit thicker. And I can change the Stroke Style and so on and so on. I can even come over to the Effects panel and change this to something like Overlay so I can get a really interesting effect burned right into the background images. That's the kind of thing that'd be really tedious to do if you had to open it in Illustrator or make the changes, bring it back into InDesign with Place, and so on. Copy and paste is just much more efficient in this case, again because we're actually editing it in InDesign.

Let me show you one other example. Over here I'd like to do something fancy with this California title. So I am going to select that. I'll copy it to clipboard and come back to Illustrator. I will create a new document in Illustrator and paste it. Now it doesn't look like anything came over here because it was white text from InDesign placed into Illustrator so it's white on white. You can't see it very well. Why don't I change the color to something different so you will be able to see it? Here we go. Now I am going to apply a special effect. How about one of these Warp effects like Arc Lower from the Warp Options dialog box? I will click OK and that looks pretty good, very interesting, and now I want to get us back into InDesign.

So I have two choices. I could save it out as a PDF or an AI file and then place it into InDesign or I could copy and paste. Because I am going to be doing some additional editing to this graphic when I get it into InDesign, I'm going to choose the copy and paste feature, so Command+C or Ctrl+C on Windows, switch back to InDesign, and paste. Now I will use the Selection tool to position it where I want it. Go ahead and delete that original California word there. It looks good and I can change this anywhere I want. If I don't like that green, I'll change the fill to something else like the original Paper Color. Maybe I'll put a little stroke around it. How about a nice thin half-point stroke? There we go.

I could even put a Drop Shadow behind if I want to. In fact I could make this even crazier by going in and filling each one of these with a graphic or more text or whatever. They're just frames just like any other ordinary frame in InDesign. Now before you start copying and pasting vectors from InDesign to Illustrator or Illustrator to InDesign, there are a couple things that you need to watch out for. They are in the Preferences dialog boxes of the two programs. So I am going to press Command+K or Ctrl+K on Windows and I am going to jump over to the Clipboard Handling pane, way down here at the bottom.

In order to get your vector artwork from Illustrator into InDesign and maintain the editable outlines, you must have Prefer PDF When Pasting turned off. It normally is off by default, so it's usually not a big deal, but make sure that's off or else it will not be editable in InDesign. Let me click OK. I'll switch back to Illustrator here and open Preferences here too. Same thing. Command+K or Ctrl+K on Windows will bring up the Preferences dialog box and I am going to go down here to File Handling & Clipboard pane of the Preferences dialog box and the key here in Illustrator is you must have AICB turned on or else you cannot get the editable outlines from Illustrator into InDesign. That's important.

I normally turn off the PDF option if I am just going between Illustrator and InDesign. I'll just leave that off and just focus on AICB. Illustrator does give you the option of preserving the appearance and overprints or just preserving the paths. Ordinarily, when I am just moving the outlines between Illustrator and InDesign and back again, I just want the paths. I don't really want any special formatting, the Fill and Stroke and Effects and so on. So I leave this set to Preserve Paths. It's just a little bit more safe in my experience. Anyway those are the preferences that you need to watch out for or else it may not work on your system.

Now personally, I wish about a quarter of Illustrator's features were just built into InDesign, especially useful ones like warping or extruding text, but until that day comes, the best solution is to use both programs hand-in-hand and copy or place, depending on which one makes the most sense.

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This video is part of

Image for InDesign Secrets
InDesign Secrets

160 video lessons · 74638 viewers

Anne-Marie Concepción and David Blatner

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 14s
    1. 160 Convert local formatting to character styles
      5m 14s
  2. 14h 31m
    1. 001 Intro to InDesign Secrets
    2. 002 The hidden "auto-expand text" feature
      5m 51s
    3. 003 Letting InDesign do the math for you
      3m 15s
    4. 004 The indispensible Quick Apply feature
      5m 29s
    5. 005 Customizing the Links panel
      6m 53s
    6. 006 Magically building graphs with the Chartwell font
      7m 43s
    7. 007 Using the Eyedropper tool to pick up character or paragraph attributes
      3m 21s
    8. 008 Selecting through and into objects using cmd-click and Select Above/Below
      5m 46s
    9. 009 Some great tips and tricks for the Swatches panel
      9m 40s
    10. 010 Saving down for backward compatibility with INX and IDML
      5m 55s
    11. 011 Using the INX and IDML formats to fix problems
      4m 46s
    12. 012 InDesign's Easter eggs
      5m 0s
    13. 013 Three cool GREP styles everyone can use
      7m 35s
    14. 014 A field guide to special characters
      8m 2s
    15. 015 Trashing the application preferences to solve weird behaviors
      4m 42s
    16. 016 Aligning numbered lists by decimal points
      3m 10s
    17. 017 Running a script
      9m 33s
    18. 018 When text disappears from a text frame
      6m 18s
    19. 019 Preview and Presentation modes (changing color, etc.)
      4m 8s
    20. 020 Using multiple windows for comparisons
      3m 35s
    21. 021 Putting images on a stroke
      5m 23s
    22. 022 Making your own motion path
      5m 43s
    23. 023 Copying objects between Illustrator and InDesign
      6m 53s
    24. 024 Using layer comps in Photoshop files to show alternates in InDesign
      4m 19s
    25. 025 Adding custom HTML tags to EPUB/HTML exports
      5m 32s
    26. 026 Tracking down type issues with the composition highlighter
      8m 13s
    27. 027 Managing your InDesign panels
      5m 46s
    28. 028 Creating running heads using variables
      5m 1s
    29. 029 Live Caption tips and tricks
      8m 3s
    30. 030 Making professional drop caps
      10m 37s
    31. 031 Making two-state buttons in interactive documents
      5m 5s
    32. 032 Moving pages from one document to another
      3m 15s
    33. 033 Wrapping bulleted text around a curve
      5m 58s
    34. 034 Importing a custom dictionary
      7m 8s
    35. 035 Changing document orientation and page size
      6m 45s
    36. 036 Numbering instead of using auto page numbers
      6m 23s
    37. 037 Setting story order with the Articles panel
      8m 3s
    38. 038 Updating a linked table without losing formatting
      5m 38s
    39. 039 Creating electronic sticky notes
      4m 49s
    40. 040 Moving master page items to the top layer for visibility
      2m 48s
    41. 041 Five guide tricks that will impress your coworkers
      6m 18s
    42. 042 Letting InDesign add the diacritics
      4m 21s
    43. 043 Using single-cell table cells for custom paragraph formatting
      6m 2s
    44. 044 Formatting fractions correctly
      8m 11s
    45. 045 Fixing unwanted hyperlinks in an imported Word file
      5m 57s
    46. 046 Inline graphic tricks with invisible paragraphs
      4m 21s
    47. 047 Ensuring the first line of every chapter starts in the same spot
      3m 1s
    48. 048 Specifying an exact amount of space between objects
      5m 17s
    49. 049 Fixing last lines that are too short
      8m 16s
    50. 050 Creating web graphics from your InDesign artwork
      7m 20s
    51. 051 Using “No Language” to suppress unwanted hyphenation, spell-checking, and smart quotes
      2m 48s
    52. 052 Five things that should be in every new file
      5m 19s
    53. 053 Forcing EPUB page breaks with invisible objects
      6m 21s
    54. 054 Understanding component information
      6m 39s
    55. 055 Creating running heads using section markers
      4m 16s
    56. 056 Making a font with InDesign using the IndyFont script
      5m 20s
    57. 057 Finding where that color is used
      7m 17s
    58. 058 Text wrapping
      6m 54s
    59. 059 Inserting pages: Understanding the Pages panel
      4m 20s
    60. 060 Copying paths between Illustrator and InDesign
      5m 14s
    61. 061 Automating Find/Change with the Find/ChangeByList script
      12m 48s
    62. 062 Embedding images
      7m 43s
    63. 063 Adjusting leading inside a paragraph
      4m 31s
    64. 064 Placing one InDesign file inside another
      3m 58s
    65. 065 Creating bookmarks for PDFs
      7m 25s
    66. 066 Customizing the story editor preferences
      6m 4s
    67. 067 Setting the size of text exactly with this free script
      3m 28s
    68. 068 Using Gravity to simulate perspective
      3m 15s
    69. 069 Fixing the overflowing text frame problem in EPUBs
      5m 0s
    70. 070 Ten uses of the Story Editor
      11m 39s
    71. 071 Moving an object: Ten ways!
      7m 18s
    72. 072 Understanding optical margin alignment (and the quote trick)
      4m 23s
    73. 073 Changing the shape of any frame with the pen tool
      6m 12s
    74. 074 Working with sets in the content conveyor tool
      10m 40s
    75. 075 Running text along the top and the bottom of a circle
      3m 51s
    76. 076 Creating a list using the Table of Contents feature
      3m 25s
    77. 077 Quickly threading frames together and unthreading frames
      13m 22s
    78. 078 The secrets of formatting objects with Find/Change
      6m 34s
    79. 079 Using ruler guides: 10 great tricks
      5m 3s
    80. 080 Converting a clipping path to a frame
      4m 24s
    81. 081 Adding a drop shadow to a single word inside a frame
      3m 14s
    82. 082 Creating a custom cross-reference format
      13m 53s
    83. 083 Putting different-sized pages on a single spread
      3m 7s
    84. 084 Formatting prices with nested and grep styles
      6m 21s
    85. 085 Checking out the Gridify tricks
      5m 17s
    86. 086 Using Illustrator to create InDesign gradient swatches
      4m 49s
    87. 087 Building a simple grep style to change character size
      3m 45s
    88. 088 Exporting a grayscale PDF
      3m 16s
    89. 089 Three ways to cheat text outside of its frame
      6m 8s
    90. 090 Three great Object Styles for any designer
      8m 1s
    91. 091 Choosing alpha channel image transparency
      2m 25s
    92. 092 Adding and reading metadata for InDesign files
      3m 25s
    93. 093 Adding ALT tags to your images
      6m 59s
    94. 094 How to Place & Link a text frame's text but not its formatting
      7m 4s
    95. 095 Setting the baseline position of a caption
      2m 39s
    96. 096 Managing changing pages with primary text frames
      5m 23s
    97. 097 Secrets of the Info panel
      7m 31s
    98. 098 Surprising ways to do a word count
      5m 29s
    99. 099 Placing an object where you want it with an object style
      6m 18s
    100. 100 Aligning Objects tips and tricks
      5m 10s
    101. 101 Applying corner options to any shape
      2m 17s
    102. 102 Converting footnotes to endnotes with a free script
      4m 49s
    103. 103 Making tab leaders pretty
      4m 18s
    104. 104 Converting text to outlines the right way
      4m 30s
    105. 105 Turning InDesign into a speed demon
      8m 31s
    106. 106 Working with MiniBridge
      5m 45s
    107. 107 Customize your QR codes
      6m 17s
    108. 108 Using the same keyboard shortcut for two different commands with the Context feature
      5m 22s
    109. 109 Making a text highlighter
      3m 33s
    110. 110 Updating an interactive PDF without losing work done in Acrobat
      5m 31s
    111. 111 Adding custom text at the beginning of each line automatically
      4m 0s
    112. 112 Packaging images on the pasteboard
      3m 32s
    113. 113 Automatically updating figure references for books
      6m 9s
    114. 114 Adding Tool Tips to your form fields in InDesign
      3m 21s
    115. 115 Setting poetry, flush left, center on longest line
      3m 54s
    116. 116 Use bookmarks to navigate long documents in production
      4m 57s
    117. 117 Selecting text with the InDesign keyboard dance
      2m 0s
    118. 118 Including a total page count in your page numbers
      6m 19s
    119. 119 Making a custom arrowhead
      5m 37s
    120. 120 Making alternative body text styles for fast typesetting
      5m 4s
    121. 121 Making InDesign patterns with the free PatternMaker
      3m 45s
    122. 122 Creating pull quotes the easy way
      5m 1s
    123. 123 Allow text frame to resize with text
      2m 43s
    124. 124 Mapping Word styles to InDesign styles
      5m 48s
    125. 125 Make two automatically threaded text flows
      3m 37s
    126. 126 Saving for Web in InDesign
      6m 7s
    127. 127 Numbering rows in a table
      5m 10s
    128. 128 Making automatic jump lines
      6m 52s
    129. 129 Turning off allow pages to shuffle in order to separate facing pages
      3m 40s
    130. 130 Dealing with parentheses around text size
      4m 19s
    131. 131 Make a fill in the blank label for contracts and forms
      7m 53s
    132. 132 Changing the shape of polygons and starburst as you draw or afterward
      4m 17s
    133. 133 Contextual text and images that you only want sometimes visible
      4m 55s
    134. 134 Creating nav points in a movie
      4m 31s
    135. 135 Adding effects to your rule above and rule below
      3m 38s
    136. 136 Fitting text to a specific size
      4m 45s
    137. 137 Quick tips for making a small PDF file size
      6m 9s
    138. 138 Sharing presets, workspaces, and custom shortcuts sets
      5m 17s
    139. 139 Making a multi-level numbered list
      5m 17s
    140. 140 Faking bold and italic when the font family doesn’t have one
      5m 2s
    141. 141 Keeping the same scale size when updating or relinking to images
      3m 9s
    142. 142 Inserting glyphs
      6m 42s
    143. 143 Building richer, bolder color gradients
      3m 7s
    144. 144 Finding the right font with InDesign’s font menus
      4m 35s
    145. 145 Lay out a front, back and spine for a book jacket
      6m 12s
    146. 146 Ghosting area of image behind text
      2m 53s
    147. 147 Make a transparency mask in InDesign
      3m 45s
    148. 148 Using preflight to find common document errors
      6m 11s
    149. 149 Cropping with paste into
      5m 18s
    150. 150 Using vertical justification to spread out text in a frame automatically
      5m 16s
    151. 151 Rotate text inside a frame, or the frame around the text
      2m 30s
    152. 152 Looking at snippets vs. libraries
      6m 49s
    153. 153 Import a folder full of pictures, one per page
      8m 54s
    154. 154 When InDesign ignores your leading values
      4m 5s
    155. 155 Extracting images from a Word document
      3m 42s
    156. 156 Uncommon uses for Quick Apply
      6m 2s
    157. 157 Uncovering InDesign's magic font folders
      3m 9s
    158. 158 Sharing swatches (PS/IL/ID and ID to ID)
      3m 36s
    159. 159 Convert rounded corners to editable paths
      3m 15s

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