Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Links panel, part of InDesign CS6 Essential Training.
When you import a picture into InDesign using Place or by dragging in a file from disk, InDesign doesn't actually embed 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, a JPEG, a TIFF or whatever. And that's why when I open this document from the Exercise folder called draft2, I get an alert, and the alert says that there are two missing and one modified links. InDesign went looking for all the images in my document and it found two of them were missing, just couldn't find them and one of them had been modified; it was changed since the last time I'd imported it.
So it asked me what I want to do. If I click Update Links, it will update all the modified ones, doesn't know what to do about the missing ones. But in this case, I am 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. You can also open that manually from out here in the dock. And the Links panel is like the control central for all of 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. The most obvious thing we see here is that there are two alert icons.
The yellow one with an exclamation point says, this one has been modified and the red one with a question mark says this one is missing. If there is no alert icon at all, it means that it's okay; it knows where to find that and it's up-to-date. The Links panel can tell you other information about your linked images as well. For example, when I click on this JPEG image, it shows me down at the bottom of the Links panel, in the Link Info area all kinds of information about it. It shows me that it's a JPEG, it's an RGB file and even what the current resolution of this images.
It's a good idea to scroll through and look at all the Link Info to get a sense for what the images are inside your document. If you don't see the Link Info area, you may need to click this little twirly triangle at the bottom. Here I've closed it and now it's open again. And you can see that when I opened it, it resized the area to show me more link info. I don't really want that, so I can drag this little double line in between the two areas down to show me more of the Links panel and less Link Info. There is a couple of 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 of our images are in chronological order that his Page order right now. And I can tell that because at the very top of Links panel, in the column up here, this is the Page column. The Page column has a little black triangle next to it so that indicates that it's currently sorted by page from first to last. If I click on it again that triangle turns upside down and now it's from the last page to the first. I can also sort this by Status by clicking on the Status column at the top. Now all of the missing and modified links are all put together; I'll click again to put them all at the top.
If you have a lot of missing and modified images that you're dealing with, that's often a good way to clump them together as you can see them faster or you can click on the Name column and now they're in alphabetical order. I am going to go ahead and click on Page order again, because I find that useful. Now let's go ahead and fix these problems. I'll start with the modified one; the one that's been changed and it's this pencil image, and I may not know where in my document this image actually is right now. So I can click on this little 4, the underlined blue number at the right, that's the page number that it's on and when I click on that, it takes me directly to the image and it selects the image inside the frame.
Let's zoom into 200% with a Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows and we can see there is my pencil image that's been modified. You'll notice that in the upper-right corner of this image, I see the same modified icon. That's new in CS6 and it's a really helpful thing to have the icon right there on the image itself. Now once again, this modified icon means that somebody has changed this image since the last time that I imported it into this document. So if I want to see the new version, I have several different choices.
I could go to Links panel flyout menu and choose Update Link, or I could click the Update Link button at the bottom of the Links panel, or you could double-click on the modified icon in the Links panel, but I'm going to do with the fastest, coolest way, which is simply to click once on top of this little alert on the image itself. As soon as I click on that, it updates it; somebody made the pencil blue. Now 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 to the left of it and the triangle if I click on it indicates that this image has been used more than once in my document. When I open it, I can see that it was used both on page 2 and 3. It's my job to tell InDesign where this image lives now, so we can re-import and have a good link. Let's go ahead and look for it first; I'll click on that 2 and it takes me right to it, zoom into Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows to go to 200% and I can see that there is another missing icon right attached to the image, so I can see it very clearly there on my page.
So we could update that over in the Links panel, but I'm just going to click once on that little icon and it asks me where should I find this image? I'll go look for it; It's in the Exercises folder and I am going to scroll down here until I find my Links folder. There it is, I'll double-click on that and go looking at the bottom of this list. Up in the Title area of this dialog box, I can see the name of the image that it's looking for, the roux academy logo_draft.ai file. That was the draft version of this logo, I threw that away a long time ago; I am never going to find it.
But I can replace it with the new version, that's the roux academy logo file, the final version. I'll click Open and it throws away the old version and it puts the new version in now. Now in this case notice that I only did it for that one image, the other one is still missing. Let me undo that with the Command+Z your Ctrl+Z on Windows and show you how you can update all of them at the same time. Instead of clicking on the icon here on the page, I am going to come over and do it in the Links panel. I'll select not any of the individual images that have been placed, but the title, the one at the top that surrounds all of them and I'm going to double-click on that icon.
Once again, it gives me the opportunity to find the image and I'm going to link it to my new version. Now all of those images have been updated. I want 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 in my document but I don't know where that image is on my hard drive or on the server. Well, I could select the image, for example, this Photoshop file, and then I'll go to Links panel flyout menu and choose Reveal in Finder or on Windows it would be Reveal in Windows Explorer.
And when I choose that, it takes me right to the folder and selects the image for me. 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 in design will only be able to use the low resolution preview and your output may not look right.
- Getting started in just 30 minutes: the quick start guide to InDesign
- Understanding your workspace
- Creating and setting up new documents
- Creating and applying master pages
- Entering and editing text
- Placing graphics
- Working with color and gradients
- Editing frame and path shapes
- Working with layers, objects, and groups
- Rotating and scaling objects
- Applying character and paragraph formatting
- Using styles
- Creating and formatting tables
- Exporting to EPUB and interactive PDF
- Packaging, printing, and exporting your final document
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