Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Links panel, part of InDesign CC Essential Training (2013).
When you import a picture into InDesign using place or by dragging in a file from disk, InDesign doesn't actually imbed the image into your document. Instead, you get a thumbnail preview of the image and a link to the file on disk. This happens with any image file whether you import a PDF or a JPG or TIFF or whatever. And that's why when I open this document from the exercise folder called draft2 InDesign gives me this alert. And the alert says that there are two missing, and one modified links. When I opened the document, InDesign went looking for all the images, and it found two of them were missing.
It just couldn't find them. And one of them had been modified. It was changed since the last time I had opened it. So InDesign's asking me what I wanted to do. If I click update links, it will update all the modified ones. It doesn't know what to do about the missing ones, but in this case, I'm actually not going to do that. I'm going to click don't update links because I want to show you how to do it manually. Whenever there have been missing or modified links, up comes the Links panel over here in the dock. The Links panel is like the control central for all your linked graphics, all the linked images that you have in your document will show up here in the Links panel and it gives you information about those links as well. For example, up here we can see an alert icon.
I'm going to drag this gray bar in the middle of this panel down and that gives me more space at the top of the panel and less at the bottom. There we go. There's my second alert. The modified one. The red one with a question mark says it's missing, the yellow one says it's modified. If there's no alert icon at all, like all these other ones, it means that's okay. It knows where to find those files and they're up to date. Now the links panel can actually tell you other information about your linked images as well. For example, if I click on this JPEG image here, it'll show me down at the bottom of the panel, a whole bunch of information about it. It shows me it's a JPEG image.
It's an RGB image. It shows me the resolution of the image, and more. It's a good idea to scroll through and look at all this link info to get a sense of what the images are inside your document. By the way, if you don't see this link info at the bottom, you may need to click this little twirly triangle thing at the bottom left corner of the Links panel. I clicked it once and it closes, click it again and it opens again. Now there are a couple more things I want to show you about the Links panel, before we fix those image problems. First of all we'll see that all our images up here are in chronological order, that is the page order, from beginning of the document to the end. And I can tell that because at the very top of the Links panel, there's this little page icon there.
This is the Page column, and the Page column has a little triangle next to it. That indicates that it's currently sorted by page, from first to last. If I click on this, it'll reverse it. Now it's going from the last page to the beginning. Now I can sort this Links panel in other ways. For example, I'll click on the alert icon at the top of this column. And now it's sorted by the alert status. I'll click again, and now that puts all of the alerts, the missing and the modified ones, at the top of the list. If you have a lot of missing and modified images that you're dealing with, that's often a good way to clump them all together.
So you can see them faster. Or you could click on the Name column, to put them in alphabetical order. In my Beyond the Essentials title here on the online training library, I go into more details about these columns and how you can even customize this panel to add your own columns. For now, I'm just going to go ahead and click on Page Order again. I find that useful. And now, let's go ahead and fix those problems. I'm going to start with a modified one. The one that's been changed, it's this pencil image over here. I may not know where in my document this image is right now, so I can click on this little underlined four right there, and that takes me right to the image. It even selects the image inside the frame.
Let's go ahead and zoom into 200% by pressing Cmd 2 or Ctrl 2 on Windows, and we can see that there's my pencil image that's been modified. You'll notice that in the upper right corner of this frame, I see the same modified icon. It's really helpful to have this icon right here on the image itself. Once again, this modified icon means that somebody has changed this image since the last time I imported it into this document. If I want to see the new version, I have several different choices. I could go to the Links panel and choose Update link from the Links panel menu.
Or I'll click off there. I could click the update link button at the bottom of the Links panel here. Or I could double click on this modified icon in the Links panel but I'm going to do it the fastest coolest way which is simply to come over here to the frame and click once on that modified icon. As soon as I click on it, it updates the image. Somebody made that pencil blue. Okay let's go take care of the missing images. Here in the Links Panel, I can see that this image is missing. But there's no page number next to it. That's because there's a little triangle in the left column. And if I click on that triangle, you can see that it expands. It shows me that this image has been used more than once in my document. I can see now that this image was used on page two and three. It's my job to tell InDesign where this image lives now so we can re-import it and have a good link.
So let's go ahead and look for it first. I'll click on this two and it takes me right to that image. Then I'll zoom in to 200% again with a Cmd 2, or a Ctrl 2 on Windows, and I can see that there is another missing icon right there attached to the upper left corner of the frame. Now again there is multiple ways to relink this to a new image. I could click on the Relink button at the bottom of the Links panel, go to the Links panel player menu but in this case once again I'm simply going to click once on that icon on the frame. Now InDesign asked me where I should find this image? I'll go look for it.
It's in the Exercise folder in the Links folder. So I'm going to go up a level, go look in my links folder and it's gotta be in here somewhere. There's a little helpful clue here that you should pay attention to. Up here at the top of this dialog box InDesign shows me the name of the file that I'm looking for. I can see that it's looking for something called Roux Academy Logo draft. So I'm going to scroll all the way down to the bottom of my list here. And I can see that it doesn't exist at all. Of course, it's missing. But that draft file, that was a draft version that I threw away a long time ago.
I'm never going to find it. But I can replace it with new version. That's the roux academy logo.ai. That's the final version. And I click open and because I have the Show Import options check box turned on, it's going to show me this Options dialog box. I'll click OK. And now it throws away the old version and it puts the new version in its place. But look back in the Links panel. I still have another alert. What's going on? Well in this case I only change that one image, the one on this page.
The other one is still missing. So let me undo that with a Cmd Z on the Mac or Ctrl Z on Windows. That puts it back to the way it was. And instead of clicking on the icon here on the page, I'm going to come over here and do it slightly differently from the Links panel. In this case I'm not going to select any of the individual images that have been placed. I'm going to select this one at the top, the Master file. The one that surrounds all of them. And I'm going to double click on the icon next to it. Once again it gives me the opportunity to find the image, and I'm going to link on my new version.
I'll turn off Show Import options this time, and then click Open. Now, all those images have been updated. Okay, I'm going to show you one more links trick, because I find this really useful. Sometimes, I need to find an image on disk. I know where it is on my document, but I don't know where that image is on my hard drive, or on the server. Well, here's what I could do. I could select the image. For example, I'll choose this psd file, this Photoshop file. And if I hover over it, the tooltip shows me the path to where it is on disk, so that's kind of neat, but I'm going to take it one further. I'll go to the Links panel menu and then choose Reveal in Finder, where on Windows it would be Reveal in Windows Explorer.
When I choose that, InDesign switches back to the desktop, opens the folder, and selects the image for me. I want to be clear about this, it's important that your images, all be up-to-date in the Links panel, not missing or modified, before you print or export your documents or else InDesign will only be able to use the low resolution preview and your output may not look right.
- Getting started in just 20 minutes
- Becoming familiar with the user interface
- Setting up a new document
- Placing graphics such as QR codes and barcodes
- Formatting objects
- Creating color and gradient swatches
- Organizing projects with layers
- Transforming objects
- Incorporating drop caps, bullets, and numbering
- Applying character and object styles
- Building a multidocument book
- Creating an interactive PDF and exporting to EPUB
- Proofing a document with the Preflight panel
- Printing and exporting a document