Learn the basics of working with images in Adobe InDesign, including adding images to your documents, transforming images, working with image linking, wrapping text around images, and more.
Learn how to place graphics into your documents using the Place command.
Graphics can play an important role in your InDesign projects. InDesign can import a wide range of graphic file formats: from JPG and native Photoshop or PSD files to Adobe Illustrator files as well as PDFs and more. In this newsletter design, you'll place several graphics using different methods. You can open this file from the practice files for this tutorial if you want to follow along. Graphics you add to an InDesign document need to be in a frame. You can create placeholder frames that you can add the images to later. Or InDesign can create the frame for you as you place or import a graphic file. To start, you'll create a placeholder frame. Then you'll place a graphic in it. In the Tools panel on the left, press and hold on the Rectangle Frame tool to see other types of frame shapes that you can create. Select the Rectangle Frame tool. In the document, you'll draw a frame. So, starting on the left edge of this column at the top, click and drag to draw a frame that spans both of these columns. When you get to the edge of the column on the right, a small arrow will appear next to the pointer. That means that the frame will snap to the column guide. When it snaps, release the mouse button to create the frame. With the frame selected, you can now place a graphic in it. To do that, choose File, Place... The place command is used to import graphic files, text files, and more. In the Place dialog box, navigate to the downloadable practice files for this tutorial. In the Links folder, select the image named Jellyfish.jpg. On Mac, you might need to click the Options button to reveal more options. On both Mac and Windows, make sure that Show Import Options is not selected. You can change options about the graphic as you place it, but we don't need to do that right now. Click Open. The image is placed in the frame at 100% of its original size. So, if an image is larger than the frame, some of it may be hidden. If the image were smaller than the frame, it wouldn't fill the frame. You'll learn more about resizing and fitting images to frames in the video in this tutorial on moving, resizing, and fitting graphics. Next, you'll have InDesign create a frame for you and also place an image into the existing frame you see down here. When you place a graphic, if a frame is selected, the graphic in the selected frame will be replaced by default. Now we want to avoid that in this case. So, choose Edit, Deselect All to deselect the image. You can also place multiple graphics which can save you time. You'll do that next for these two graphics. You can either choose File, Place like you just did or click the Import File button in the Properties panel on the right. So, click the Import File button. In the Place dialog box that opens, navigate to the downloadable practice files for this tutorial. And in the Links folder, select the image named Sealion.jpg. To select another image, press the Shift key and click to select the image named Seaturtle.jpg as well. Then click Open. Since no frames were selected, you should see this loaded graphics cursor now. And you also should see a thumbnail of one of the images and a number telling you how many graphics you're placing. If you press the right or left arrow keys on your keyboard, you can cycle through the images. When you see the image of the turtle - this one - move the pointer into the third column over here. Press and drag to create a frame. As you drag to place the image, you'll notice that the frame is drawn in the same proportion as the image. In other words, the width and height of the frame change proportionally together. Release the mouse button to place the graphic. When you place a graphic this way, you're essentially scaling or resizing it as you place it. Now there's one graphic left to place in the loaded graphics cursor. The frame you see down here has an X in it, which means it was created with the Frame tool and is most likely a placeholder for a graphic. To place the image in this frame, move the pointer over the frame. When the loaded graphics cursor changes, you should see a parenthesis now. Click to place the image in the frame at its original size. Now that you know how to place graphic files in Adobe InDesign, start exploring the different methods you've just learned. You can begin by adding different types of graphic files to your own projects.
What you learned: Add graphics to projects
In InDesign, you can bring raster images, like an image you take with your phone, or vector graphics, like a logo, into your documents:
- Choose File > Place to place a graphic (or multiple graphics) in your document.
- Click Open. If a frame was selected before placing, the graphic is placed within the frame. You can also click to place a graphic into an existing empty frame or create a frame as you place a graphic.
- With the Selection tool in the toolbox, drag a corner point of a graphic frame to resize the frame and to reveal or hide parts of the image.
- Drag within the graphic area (not the center) to reposition the graphic and the frame.
Transform graphics in your InDesign documents.
As you place graphics in your InDesign projects, you'll eventually need to move, resize, and fit those graphics to their frames. In this video, you'll work with images placed in this newsletter design by learning about resizing frames to crop graphics, using the Content grabber to select graphics, fitting commands, and more. Open this file from the practice files for this tutorial if you want to follow along. You'll start by cropping or hiding parts of an image. This is a great way to hide parts of a graphic that you don't want to show in your design. So, select the Selection tool in the Tools panel on the left. Move the pointer over the larger image at the top. When the pointer shows a little black box next to it, not a hand, click to select the frame and the graphic inside. Graphics you place are contained within a frame. The frame and the image are treated as a single object when you move the frame. But you can also transform them separately. Move the pointer over the upper right point of the frame. And drag towards the center to the corner of these pink and purple margin guides. The pointer will snap or pull into the guides. Notice that the frame was resized, but the graphic inside wasn't. The frame cropped or masked a part of the graphic. Move the pointer over the turtle image off the right side of the page. Once again, the pointer shows a little black box next to it telling you that if you click, something will be selected. This time move the pointer over the circles in the center of the image. This is called the Content grabber. If you were to click the Content grabber, don't click it. You'll select the image within the frame. You'll explore that shortly. Move the pointer over the image away from the center. Click and drag the image onto the page. And the purple and green Smart Guides will help you to align it to the column. Next, you'll resize this frame and the graphics inside it at the same time. With it still selected, press Command and Shift on Mac or Control and Shift on Windows. And drag the lower right corner of the graphic frame making it as wide as the column. Release the mouse button and then the keys. Notice that with the keys held down, the frame and the graphic are resized together. The Command or Control key resizes the frame and the graphic. And the Shift key constrains the proportions, so you won't distort the image. So, the text doesn't overlap the image, drag the bottom middle handle up to crop or hide part of the image. Now when it comes to resizing images and frames, you'll want to use the fitting commands. This can save you time by making image scaling and other transformations a lot faster. Move the pointer over the center of the third image down here. When you see the Content grabber, the circles, and the pointer turns into a hand, click to select the graphic within the frame. You can see the bounds of the graphic here - this brown color. And you could tell that the image is larger than the frame it's in, so these parts of the image are cropped or hidden. Now if you drag within the graphic area, resize, or transform it, you'll effect the graphic and not the frame. For instance, drag a corner of the graphic to resize it. As you drag, press the Shift key to constrain the proportions of the graphic, so you don't distort it. When the graphic is a little bit smaller but still bigger than the frame, release the mouse button and then the key. With a graphic selected, you can actually see how big it is relative to the original size it was by looking in the Properties panel to the right of the document. If you click More options in the Transform section, you can see a percentage that tells you in this case that the graphic is smaller than its original size. Press Escape to select the frame and not the graphic. You should see the blue frame is now selected. To fit the image into the frame in different ways, you can apply a fitting command. You can find a series of fitting commands in the Frame Fitting section of the Properties panel on the right here. Click Fill Frame Proportionally. A fitting command you'll use often to fill the frame with the graphic without distorting its proportions. Using the Fill Frame Proportionally command, a part of the graphic will usually be cropped or hidden. Now that you know how to resize and fit graphics to frames, you can incorporate graphics in your projects and ensure that they work in the space provided.
What you learned: Transform graphics and frames
- With the Selection tool, click a graphic to select it. Drag a corner to resize the frame, not the graphic, hiding or revealing parts of the graphic.
- Press Control+Shift (Windows) or Command+Shift (macOS) and drag a corner to resize the frame and the graphic within.
- Move the pointer into the center of a frame, and a disc-shaped circle appears, called the Content Grabber. Click the Content Grabber to select the graphic within the frame. Any transformations such as resizing or rotating will now apply to the graphic and not the frame. Press the Escape key to select the graphic frame again.
- Flip graphics horizontally or vertically, or rotate them, by changing values in the Transform section of the Properties panel.
- Apply fitting commands to selected graphics by selecting a fitting command in the Properties panel to achieve a perfect fit.
Explore graphic linking using the Links panel.
When you place graphics in InDesign by default they are linked to the original graphic file outside of InDesign. This way the document file size is smaller, and you can update graphics easily. In this video, you'll learn about graphic linking in the Links panel and how to replace and repair image links. You can open this file from the downloadable practice files for this tutorial if you want to follow along. The image in the background of this magazine cover needs to be replaced. To replace it, select the Selection tool in the Tools panel. Then click the image of the bowl of berries to select it. You can see that the selected graphic is a Linked File. if you look at the top of the Properties panel on the right over here. Now to see more information about the graphic and a listing of all the graphics in an InDesign document you can open the Links panel. To open the Links panel, choose Window, Links. In the Links panel, you can see there are two graphics in this file. The graphic you selected is highlighted in the panel. If you move the pointer over the name of this graphic, you should see a tool tip that shows the path to the linked graphic. Making sure the link information is showing down here, if you need to, you can click this little arrow. When you select a graphic in the Links panel list, you can see a lot of information about the graphic, like format, size, and a lot more. The number that appears to the right of each graphic is the page number that the graphic appears on. Clicking on it is a quick way to jump to a graphic in a longer document. One way to replace a graphic in InDesign is by using the Links panel. With the berries graphics selected, click the Relink option at the bottom of the panel. Navigate to the downloadable practice files for this tutorial and select the BerrySpoon.jpg image. Then click Open to replace the graphic. When you replace a graphic, any transformations applied to the original graphic you're replacing, like scaling or rotating are preserved. Now if a linked graphic is edited outside of InDesign, or it's renamed, or moved after you placed it, InDesign will warn you since those linked graphics are important for printing, exporting, and more. When working in your InDesign documents, graphics are shown at a lower quality, so you can typically work faster. But when the document is printed or other, the linked graphics are printed at their best quality. So, making sure that your graphic links are working is really important. Next, you'll open a file with a graphic that was modified in Photoshop after it was placed in the InDesign document. And also, a graphic that was moved to a different folder after it was placed in InDesign. To open the file, choose File, Open... Navigate to the downloadable practice files for this tutorial. Select the file named Update_links.indd. And click Open. A dialog box should appear telling you the InDesign file is missing a graphic and has a modified graphic. Click Don't Update Links, so you can see what the issues are when the file opens. With the file open, look in the Links panel. The graphic named Berries-small.jpg has a stop sign with a question mark meaning it's missing or InDesign can't find the original graphic. You can even see the same stop sign out in the design on the image. Move the pointer over the image name in the Links panel. And you'll see a path in the tooltip of where it thinks it is. To fix this missing link, you need to relink to the graphic. Click the berry image out in the document. To relink it, you could click the Relink option in the Links panel here. Or you can click the Relink File button in the Properties panel. Go ahead and click the Relink File down here. After clicking the button in the dialog box that appears, navigate to the downloadable practice files for this tutorial. And in the links folder, select the Berries.jpg image. It's the same image; it just has a different name. Click Open. And the link is now fixed. In the Links panel, click to select the Spoon.jpg image. This yellow yield sign you see means it was updated or modified outside of InDesign. Maybe in Adobe Photoshop. Click the 2 to the right to select the graphic and show it in the document window out here. Now to fix this issue, you can either click the Update Link option in the Links panel or click the Update File button in the Properties panel over here. Go ahead and click the Update File button. And after clicking the button, the newest version of the graphic is imported into the frame. Knowing how to replace graphics and also ensuring that graphic links are not modified or missing is a really important step when you begin to work on InDesign projects of your own.
What you learned: Graphic linking
Graphics placed in InDesign are linked by default to the original file outside InDesign. If a placed graphic is updated outside InDesign — in Adobe Photoshop for instance — the graphic is automatically updated in InDesign.
- Choose Window > Links to see a list of all the graphic files placed in a document in the Links panel. Each linked graphic is listed in the Links panel along with the number of the page it’s on.
- Select an image in the Links panel and click the Go To Link button to select the image.
- Click the Relink button with a graphic selected in the list and navigate to a replacement image. Any transformations performed in InDesign are preserved.
When you open a document with missing or modified graphics, a dialog box appears.
- In the Links panel, a graphic with a stop sign means it’s missing. To fix this issue, select the graphic in the Links panel, and click the Relink button at the bottom of the panel or click the Relink File button in the Properties panel.
- A graphic with a yellow yield sign icon indicates it has been modified. To fix this issue, select the graphic in the Links panel, and click the Update Link button at the bottom of the Links panel or click the Update File button towards the bottom of the Properties panel.
Discover how to wrap text around content using the Text Wrap panel.
In InDesign you can wrap or flow text around objects like graphics, shapes, and text frames. In this postcard, you wrap the text around this image in different ways. If you want to follow along, you can open this file from the downloadable practice files for this tutorial. To select the image, select the Selection tool in the Tools panel on the left and come out and click on the image. Make sure you select the frame and you don't click the Content grabber in the middle which selects the image in the frame. Now you'll wrap this text around the image, so it doesn't cross over it. Now you could simply resize this text frame, so the text is fit within a certain area. But if you ever move the image or resize it, for instance, you'll have to resize the text frame again. If you wrap the text around an object like this image, the text will always wrap and stay the same distance away. When wrapping text around content, you apply the text wrap to the object that the text is wrapping around, so the image in this case. That way if the image ever moves or you add other text, all text will wrap around it. With the image selected in the Properties panel on the right, there are several options for wrapping text in the Text Wrap section in the panel. The simplest type of text wrap is to wrap text around the bounding box of the selected content. Click the Wrap Around Bounding Box option here. The text will now no longer cross over the image; it actually stops at the bounding box or frame edge. Even if the image frame moves - like this - the text will wrap around the image. If you moved your image, choose Edit, Undo Move Item to undo it. Now the text in his frame isn't all showing. Don't worry about that. You'll fix that shortly when you learn about another type of text wrap. Notice how the text goes right up to the image frame. It would look better if the text was moved away a bit. To do that, you can apply an offset to the different frame edges: top, right, bottom, and left. In the Properties panel to see the Offset options, click More Options in the Text Wrap section of the panel. If you change any of these values, they should all change together. To change the offset on just the right side, make sure this Make all settings the same is off by clicking it if necessary. It should look like this. Then, change the Offset Right value by clicking the up arrow. That increases the distance the text is from the frame edge on the right side of the frame. Positive values move the wrap away from the frame, and negative values move the wrap within the frame. If you wanted to turn the text wrap off, you could click the No text wrap option with the image selected here. To deselect the image, choose Edit, Deselect All. Now you'll reshape the image frame with the Direct Selection tool and see how it affects the text wrap. Select the Direct Selection tool. And move the pointer over the upper-right corner of the image frame. When the pointer is over the corner point, and the pointer changes appearance, in other words a little box appears next to it, click and drag to the left to reshape the image frame stopping at this vertical guide. This crops or hides part of the image. When you release the mouse, notice that the text stays in place. That's because it's still set to wrap around the bounding box surrounding the image. But you can change that. Select the Selection tool in the Tools panel. This ensures that the frame is selected and not the image. Then click the Wrap around object shape option to wrap around the image area that's showing. Notice that the image is now selected. You can tell because of the brown box around it. To move the text away, click More Options in the Text Wrap section of the Properties panel to show the Offset values again. change the Top Offset value by clicking the up arrow. When you wrap text around the object shape, there's really only one offset value to work with. To change the value faster, you can actually press the Shift key and click the up arrow. This keyboard shortcut works for just about any field in InDesign. To see the final text wrap, you can choose Edit, Deselect All. There really are a lot of ways to work with text wrap in InDesign, and that opens up a lot of creative doors for you and your designs. The next time you're working on your own projects experiment with wrapping text around a graphic or other object.
What you learned: Wrap text
You can wrap text around any object, including text frames, graphics, and objects you draw in InDesign. Text wrap is applied to the object being wrapped, not the text itself:
- With the Selection tool, select the object you want to wrap text around.
- In the Properties panel, click the desired wrap option.