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So, a pretty common question from Illustrator and InDesign users that use the two together is 'how do you paste something from Illustrator that can then be edited with the Pen tool inside InDesign?' So you want to paste as paths, editable paths. Well, let's go see if we can figure that one out. Let's jump over to Illustrator. Here is kinda of a warped star shape that I created in Illustrator. I am going to go ahead and select it and copy it to the clipboard, Command+C, Edit > Copy, Ctrl+C on Windows, jump back over to InDesign and let's go ahead and use our trusty Paste command, Command+V. Everything is looking good so far.
It looks exactly like it did in Illustrator, but if I double-click to get to the path, I see that I have actually got it as a graphic sitting inside this frame. I can't actually get to the points on the path, so that's not going to work for me. It turns out you need to change a preference in InDesign. So, let's go back to our Selection tool and we will go ahead and click on that frame and delete it. We need to go and change a preference inside InDesign's Preferences panel Command+K, Ctrl+K and under the Clipboard Handling category, there is this checkbox here, Prefer PDF When Pasting. That needs to be turned off.
When it's turned on, it pastes Illustrator artwork as a graphic file, as a PDF graphic, still maintains its vectorness and it will output in high resolution, but you can't get to the actual paths inside that PDF file. I am going to go ahead and click OK after turning that off. We need to go back to Illustrator and recopy it to the clipboard. So, we just got the star selected, Command+C. Go back over to InDesign, and we'll paste it this time. Now, at first glance, it looks identical to what happened the first time, but if I double-click, now you see, I switch to the Direct Selection tool and I actually get the points and the path geometries, so I can actually further tweak this and edit it if I need to inside InDesign.
So, now you know it's that secret preference and it can be turned on and off at any time. It just depends on what you want as your end result when you are coming from Illustrator to InDesign via the clipboard.
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