User Guide Cancel

Modify, mask, and export objects and frames

  1. InDesign User Guide
  2. Get to know InDesign
    1. Introduction to InDesign
      1. What's New in InDesign
      2. System requirements
      3. Common questions
      4. Use Creative Cloud libraries
    2. Workspace
      1. Workspace basics
      2. Customize your workspace in InDesign
      3. Toolbox
      4. Set preferences
      5. Properties panel
      6. Touch workspace
      7. Default keyboard shortcuts
      8. Document recovery and undo
    3. Generative AI
      1. Text to Image
      2. Generative AI FAQ
  3. Create and layout documents
    1. Documents and pages
      1. Create documents
      2. Work with parent pages
      3. Work with document pages
      4. Set page size, margins, and bleed
      5. Work with files and templates
      6. Convert PDFs to InDesign files in InDesign (Beta)
      7. Create book files
      8. Add basic page numbering
      9. Number pages, chapters, and sections
      10. Convert QuarkXPress and PageMaker documents
      11. Share content
      12. Understand a basic managed-file workflow
      13. Save documents
    2. Grids
      1. Grids
      2. Format grids
    3. Layout aids
      1. Rulers
      2. Align and distribute objects using rulers
      3. Measure objects using the Measure tool
  4. Add content
    1. Text
      1. Add text to frames
      2. Threading text
      3. South-East Asian Scripts
      4. Arabic and Hebrew features in InDesign
      5. Create type on a path
      6. Bullets and numbering
      7. Glyphs and special characters
      8. Text composition
      9. Text variables
      10. Generate QR codes
      11. Edit text
      12. Align text
      13. Wrap text around objects
      14. Anchored objects
      15. Linked content
      16. Format paragraphs
      17. Format characters
    2. Typography
      1. Using fonts in InDesign
      2. Kerning and tracking
    3. Format text
      1. Format text
      2. Auto Style text
      3. Work with Style Packs
      4. Tabs and indents
    4. Review text
      1. Track and review changes
      2. Add editorial notes in InDesign
      3. Import PDF comments
    5. Spell check and language dictionaries
      1. Check spelling, autocorrect, and dynamic spelling
      2. Create, add, and manage dictionaries and words
      3. Change dictionary preferences
      4. Duden dictionary
    6. Add references
      1. Create a table of contents
      2. Footnotes
      3. Create an index
      4. Endnotes
      5. Captions
    7. Styles
      1. Paragraph and character styles
      2. Map, export, and manage styles
      3. Object styles
      4. Drop caps and nested styles
      5. Work with styles
      6. Leading
    8. Tables
      1. Format tables
      2. Create tables
      3. Table and Cell styles
      4. Select and edit tables
      5. Table strokes and fills
    9. Interactivity
      1. Hyperlinks
      2. Dynamic PDF documents
      4. Buttons
      5. Forms
      6. Animation
      7. Cross-references
      8. Structure PDFs
      9. Page transitions
      10. Movies and sounds
    10. Graphics
      1. Understand paths and shapes
      2. Draw with the Pencil tool
      3. Draw with the Pen tool
      4. Apply line (stroke) settings 
      5. Compound paths and shapes
      6. Edit paths
      7. Clipping paths
      8. Change corner appearance
      9. Frames and objects
      10. Align and distribute objects
      11. Linked and embedded graphics
      12. Integrate AEM assets
    11. Color and transparency
      1. Apply color
      2. Use colors from imported graphics
      3. Work with swatches
      4. Mix inks
      5. Tints
      6. Understand spot and process colors
      7. Blend colors
      8. Gradients
      9. Flatten transparent artwork
      10. Add transparency effects
  5. Find and replace
    1. Find and replace text
    2. Find and replace fonts
    3. Find and replace glyphs
    4. Find and replace using GREP expressions and queries
    5. Find and replace objects
    6. Find and replace colors
    7. Search options to find and replace
  6. Share
    1. Save and access cloud documents
    2. Organize, manage, and share cloud documents
    3. View and manage versions in cloud documents
    4. Common questions about InDesign cloud documents
    5. Share and collaborate        
    6. Share for Review
    7. Review a shared InDesign document
    8. Manage feedback 
  7. Publish
    1. Place, export, and publish
      1. Publish online
      2. Publish online dashboard
      3. Copy, insert graphics
      4. Export content for EPUB
      5. Adobe PDF options
      6. Export content to HTML
      7. Export to Adobe PDF
      8. Export to JPEG format
      9. Export HTML
      10. DPS and AEM Mobile overview
      11. Supported File Formats
      12. Export and import User Settings
    2. Printing
      1. Print booklets
      2. Printer's marks and bleeds
      3. Print documents
      4. Inks, separation, and screen frequency
      5. Overprinting
      6. Create PostScript and EPS files
      7. Preflight files before handoff
      8. Print thumbnails and oversized documents
      9. Prepare PDFs for service providers
      10. Prepare to print separations
  8. Extend InDesign
    1. Automation
      1. Data merge
      2. Plug-ins
      3. Capture extension in InDesign
      4. Scripting
  9. Troubleshooting
    1. Fixed issues
    2. Known issues
    3. Crash on launch
    4. Preference folder read-only issue
    5. Troubleshoot file issues
    6. Unable to export PDF
    7. InDesign document recovery

Learn to modify, mask, find, and export objects and frames in InDesign.

An object is any item you add or create in the document. This includes paths, shapes, rasterized artwork, 3D objects, and any placed file. A frame holds your text, graphics, or other design elements.

You can create, resize, and move objects and frames around your layout to achieve the perfect design for your project. Here are some ways to work with objects and frames in InDesign:

Fit an object to its frame

You can use the Object > Fitting commands to achieve a perfect fit if the frame and its content are of different sizes.

Frame alignment options apply to frames with a graphic or a text frame but don't affect paragraphs inside a text frame.


An imported image cannot exist without a frame.

Follow these steps to fit an object to its frame:

  1. Select the frame.

  2. Go to Object > Fitting and select any of the following options:

    Align an object within a graphics frame
    Align an object within a graphics frame

    A. Original B. Frame resized to fit content C. Content resized to fit frame 

    Fill Frame Proportionally

    Resizes content to fill the entire frame while preserving the content’s proportions.

    Fit Content Proportionally

    Resizes content to fit a frame while preserving the content proportions.

    Content-Aware Fit

    Automatically fits an image inside the frame based on the image content and frame size. Go to Preferences > General and select Make Content-Aware Fit the default frame fitting option to make this the default frame-fitting option.

    Fit Frame To Content

    Resizes the frame to fit the content.

    Fit Content To Frame

    Resizes content to fit the frame.

    Center Content

    Centers content within a frame.

    Clear Frame Fitting Options

    Removes undesired fitting settings applied with Auto-Fit.

Move a frame or its content

When you use the Selection   tool to select a graphics frame, you can select either the frame or the image within the frame.

The following techniques include ways to move a frame or its content independently of each other. These techniques are useful for adjusting a graphic when cropped or masked in its frame.


If a selection tool doesn’t work as expected, try deselecting all by pressing Ctrl+Shift+A (Windows) or Command+Shift+A (macOS).

Move content only

Select the Direct Selection   tool and select the graphic to move the content without moving the frame.

This will mask a part of the content.

Move frame only

  1. Select the frame using the Selection   tool.

  2. Select any border with the Direct Selection   tool and drag it in any direction to move the frame without moving its content.

    This will mask a part of the content.

Move content and frame

Select the Selection   tool and then select the image outside the content grabber to move a frame and it's content.

Crop objects

Cropping and masking are both terms that describe hiding part of an object. Cropping uses a rectangle to trim the edges of an image, and masking uses an arbitrary shape to make an object’s background transparent.

  • Select the object using the Selection   tool and drag any handle on the bounding box to crop a graphic. Press Shift as you drag to preserve the frame’s original proportions.

Add a border or background

A graphics frame is ideally suited for use as a border or background for its content, because you can change the frame’s stroke and fill independent of the content.

Add border or background to a graphics frame
Add border or background to a graphics frame

  1. Select the frame of a graphic with the Selection   tool.

  2. Use the Swatches panel and the toolbox to apply a stroke and fill color.

  3. Use the Stroke panel to adjust the frame’s stroke weight, style, or alignment.

Object export options

Use Object Export Options to specify export parameters for different formats, such as EPUB, HTML, or accessible PDFs. You can apply Object Export Options to text frames, graphic frames, or as groups and customize the following options:

Apply Object export options

  1. Select the frame or group.

  2. Select Object > Object Export Options.

  3. Add or adjust the settings for Alt Text, Tagged PDF, and EPUB and HTML tabs.

Alt-text options

Alternative text (Alt text) is a brief text-based description of an image or graphic. This text is used in situations where the image is not rendered or to help screen-readers.

Alt-text Source

Select the source to assign the Alt text for the selected frames or groups.


Enter text manually.

From Structure

Use text as specified in the structure. You can label graphics for use with screen-reader software.

From XMP (Title |Description |Headline |Alt Text (Accessibility) |Extended Description (Accessibility))

Use data stored in common XMP fields. If XMP data is updated using another application such as Adobe Bridge, when you update the link, the text is updated automatically.

From Other XMP

If the text string is stored in another XMP field, enter the complete namespace and property name in <ns>:<property> format. For example, the Adobe Bridge user interface supports IPTC Core, which contains a field titled IPTC Subject Code. If you store the text string in this field, the Property value would be Iptc4xmpCore:SubjectCode[1].

Decorative Image (no Alt Text)

Select this option if the image provides no critical information or context and is used for decorative purposes only. The screen readers would ignore these images and would not announce their names.


When you import content from Microsoft Word, InDesign also imports alt-text applied to images.

Tagged PDF options

Apply Tag

Select the source to assign the PDF Tag for the selected frames or groups.

From Structure

Use text as specified in the structure.


Use for graphic elements that have no important meaning when they are read aloud by a screen reader.

Based on Object

Automatically determines the frame content and applies the Story or Figure tag.

Actual Text Source

Actual text can be applied to graphic elements that visually view text like a scanned TIFF image. Actual text is used to represent words that were converted to artwork and is only applicable for tagged PDFs.


Enter text manually.

From Structure

Use text as specified in the structure. You can label graphics for use with screen-reader software.

From XMP (Title |Description |Headline |Alt Text (Accessibility) |Extended Description (Accessibility))

Use data stored in common XMP fields. If XMP data is updated using another application, such as Adobe Bridge, the text is updated automatically when you update the link.

From Other XMP

If text string is stored in some other XMP field, enter the complete namespace and property name in <ns>:<property> format. For example, the Bridge user interface supports IPTC Core, which contains a field titled “IPTC Subject Code”. If this field was where the text string is stored, then the Property value would be “Iptc4xmpCore:SubjectCode[1].”

EPUB and HTML options

Use the EPUB and HTML options to specify image conversion settings for individual objects.

epub: type

Select the options icon to choose the order in which the reader can read the document.

Preserve Appearance From Layout

Select any of the following to specify custom image conversion settings:

  • Default: Default settings mapped to the Export dialog settings dialog.
  • Use Existing Image for Graphic Objects: Uses an existing image for graphic objects.
  • Rasterize Container: Convert the object into an image. For example, a text frame gets converted to an image.
  • Rasterize Content: The appearance is preserved via CSS. 

Custom Layout

Select the layout preference from the drop-down:

  • Alignment and Spacing: Specify the image alignment, left, center, right, and the top and bottom padding.
  • Float Left: Select this option for floating left alignment.
  • Float Right: Select this option for floating right alignment.

Insert Page Break: Select this option to insert page breaks with images. Page breaks can be inserted Before Image, After Image, or Before and After Image.


Select the custom CSS width and height from the following options:

  • None: No CSS width or height is applied to the object.
  • Default: The default CSS width and height are used.
  • Fixed: A fixed CSS width and height are applied.
  • Relative to Text Flow: Applies to CSS width only. The CSS width adapts to the text flow.
  • Relative to Text Size: Applies to CSS width only. The CSS width adapts to the text flow.
  • Custom Width: Select this option to enter the custom value for width.
  • Custom Height: Select this option to enter the custom value for height.

The Size drop-down list is applicable for the EPUB Reflowable and HTML Layout only. This is not applicable for EPUB Fixed Layout.

More like this

Have a question or an idea?

Ask the Community

We would love to hear from you. Share your thoughts with the Adobe InDesign Community


Get help faster and easier

New user?