Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Import graphics, part of InDesign CC 2018 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] It's time to start talking about using pictures in InDesign. Let's start at the beginning: how to get images onto our InDesign page. Well fortunately, InDesign makes it really easy and I'm going to show you about four or five different ways to do it, each with its own benefits. Now the basic method for importing an image is to use the Place command, which you can find up here in the File menu or you can press cmd + d on the Mac or ctrl + d on Windows. When you choose Place, InDesign shows you a list of all the images or files that I could place right now.
Here I'm looking at the Links folder inside my Exercise Files folder. I'd like to import this file: AllMyLogos.pdf. This is an Adobe Illustrator file, which was saved as a PDF and InDesign can import it. When I click Open, you'll see that InDesign loads that image up into my Place cursor. Now, it's very important to pay attention to the Place cursor before you click. The Place cursor tells me information about what's about to happen. If you look closely, you can see a little twirly icon that shows me this is an Acrobat file or an Illustrator file.
They look the same. The edge of the Place cursor is two dotted straight lines and that indicates that if I click right now, InDesign is going to create a new frame. But if I move the cursor just a little bit down here over on top of this blank frame, those lines change. They turn into kind of a curve, sort of a parentheses, and that indicates that InDesign is going to place this image into the frame. Now that's not what I want to do. I don't want to click right now.
Instead, I want to click and drag. When I click and drag, it creates a new frame and then places the image into it. Then with the Selection tool, I can drag this around my page. It's a little bit hard to see this, so I'm going to go up to the View menu and turn off Match Pasteboard to Theme Color. That way, my pasteboard becomes white. And then I'm going to zoom in to 200% by pressing cmd + 2 on the Mac or ctrl + 2 on Windows. So this graphic looks okay, except it's kind of rough, kind of jaggy, isn't it? Well, I can fix that.
I'll go up to the View menu, come down to Display Performance, and then choose High Quality Display. There, that's much better. I try to work in high quality display as much as I can because it's what I call WYSIWYG mode. What you see is what you get, WYSIWYG. In high quality mode, vector art like this is always clean and bitmap images like Photoshop images show up as high res. Now, I should point out that the high quality display only works when your images are up to date in the Links panel.
Modified or missing images will stay low res. I'm going to be talking about the Links panel in a later chapter. Also, if your computer has a newer GPU processor and a high resolution screen, then InDesign may put your document in high quality mode automatically, so you don't have to set it. That's pretty helpful. Okay, for now, I want to bring this image in one more time and put it elsewhere on my page. I could just duplicate this one of course but instead, I'm going to go back to the File menu and choose Place.
Now I'll choose it from my list. I'm doing it this way because I want to point out something. I always want to check to see if the Replace Selected Item checkbox is turned on down here in the lower left corner of the Place dialog box. If you can't see this feature, then click the Options button. That hides and shows those checkboxes. But you want to make sure you can see them. You always want them visible because those are really important. Replace Selected Item tells InDesign whether or not you want this image to go into any frame that you currently have selected on your page.
And in this case, you can see back here that I do have a frame selected on the page. So because this checkbox is on, my incoming image will go into this frame replacing the one that's already there, not where I want to put it, so I'm going to turn off that checkbox. Now I'll click Open and InDesign loads up my Place cursor. Let's go ahead and zoom back to fit the spread in window with cmd + opt + 0 or ctrl + alt + 0, and I'm going to put this graphic up here at the top of this page simply by clicking and dragging. All right, now I'm going to place another image but this time, I'm going to use a totally different method.
I'm going to drag it right out of a folder on my desktop. I'll switch back to the Finder or Windows Explorer, depending on your operating system, by pressing Command + Tab on the Mac or Alt + Tab on Windows. Now I have that same Links folder open from the Exercise Files folder here and I'm going to grab the image that I want and simply drag it into InDesign. And when I let go of the mouse button, it doesn't look like anything happened but as soon as I switch back to InDesign, you can see that the Place cursor has been loaded. That's the image that I had selected on the desktop.
Now, I could simply drag out of frame or in this case, let's say I want to replace this image inside this frame with the new one on the Place cursor. To do that, I place the cursor over the frame and then I hold down the Option or Alt key when I click. That discards the image that was there and places this one in the frame instead. Okay, now let's bring in a few more images. This time, I'm going to bring in four images at the same time. To do that, I'll go back to the Place dialog box by pressing Command + D or Control + D on Windows, and I'm just going to select four images inside this dialog box.
You can select more than one item inside the dialog box by holding down the Command key on the Mac or the Control key on Windows when you click. There we go, now all four images are selected and I'm going to click Open and you'll see that InDesign has loaded all four images onto my cursor. I can tell that there are four because there's a little, blue 4 inside the parentheses next to the cursor. In fact, I can actually move through these one at a time by pressing the Left Arrow or Right Arrow key on my keyboard. Each time you click an arrow key, it switches to the next image.
I'll use the arrow keys to find the image that I want to place and then I'll simply click and drag. Now the cursor's changed because I only have three images left to go. I'm going to place these on the next spread, so I'll press opt + PgDn or alt + PgDn. I'll use my arrow keys to select the image and then click inside this frame here. And I click and drag down here. This last image on the Place cursor, I decided I don't want that after all, so I can get rid of it by simply pressing the Escape key on my keyboard.
Okay, now I want to show you one last technique for importing images. I'm going to go back to the File menu and choose Place. I'm going to choose MyLogos file again but this time, I'm going to do something slightly different. I want to turn on the Show Import Options checkbox down here. Show Import Options tells InDesign that when you click the Open button, it should open a new dialog box. This one gives you more options. Now here, you can see that there are actually four different pages inside this PDF file and you can click through them by clicking these arrows.
I'm going to choose page three, but I want to point out that I could actually bring all of them in if I want to by clicking the All button over here or a range of pages if I want. In this case, I'm simply going to grab that one image and then click OK. Now, InDesign loads it up in the Place cursor and I can come over here and click and drag. Now you might notice that I'm not talking about how to copy images from another program and paste them into InDesign. While you technically can copy and paste some vector artwork between InDesign and Illustrator, I strongly urge you not to copy images from Photoshop or any other program other than Illustrator.
There are a number of technical reasons for this and I discussed them all in detail in my title called InDesign: Working with Photoshop and Illustrator here in the online training library. But however you choose to import your images, InDesign tries to be as flexible as possible and this is especially true when it comes to what file formats you can use. InDesign supports all the regulars: TIFF, JPEG, PDF, and so on. But it also supports native PSD files, that's Photoshop files, and most native Illustrator files too.
I tend to use these kinds of native files or PDF files when importing graphics into InDesign.
- Creating a new layout
- Inserting pages
- Adding text
- Inserting graphics
- Applying color and transparency
- Drawing and editing frames and paths
- Formatting objects
- Formatting text
- Creating styles for uniform formatting
- Building tables
- Adding links and interactivity
- Printing and exporting InDesign documents