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InDesign: Using Images

Version: Adobe InDesign 2020. Be aware that different versions of InDesign will vary in appearance and functionality. Full Guide: View/Download

Expand each section below to see its content.

To add an image:
  1. Ensure no element is selected. Navigate to Edit > Deselect All.
  2. Navigate to File > Place. 
  3. Locate and select the desired image, and click Open. The cursor will be loaded with the image.

  4. Click-and-drag to the desired size, in the approximate desired area.
If the image is inadvertently placed incorrectly, such as within a different element or its a huge size, undo (Edit > Undo, or Command+Z/CTRL+Z) and click-and-drag to place it again.

Similar to text, images are contained within frames. An image frame acts much like the window; the parts of the image within the frame are visible, and anything that extends beyond the frame isnt. Images have two outlines: a blue one, which is the image frame, and a brown one, which is the border of the image itself. Be aware that the image and its frame can be different sizes, and the frame can be used to crop the image.

Basic resizing controls:
  • To resize an image and its frame together (recommended in most cases), hold the Command key and click-and-drag one of the handles. Hold the Shift key to maintain the image proportions and prevent distortion.
  • To resize the image frame, such as to crop the image, click-and-drag the frame handles. The size of the image itself wont change, only the size of the frame.
  • To resize the image itself without resizing the frame, double-click the image and its brown outline will appear. Click-and-drag the handles to resize. Hold the Shift key to prevent distortion.
  • To change the position of the image within its frame, such as to change the area of the image thats shown, click-and-drag the circle in the center of the image. The frame will stay in place and the image will move within it.


Unless the image needs to be cropped with the frame, its recommended to keep the image and its frame the same size to prevent confusion. If the image or its frame are inadvertently moved and they no match, they can be lined up again quickly.

To match the image to its frame, right-click it and hover over Fitting in the pop-up. Then, select either Fit Frame to Content or Fit Content to Frame.

Images added to frames are not, by default, embedded in a document; they are merely linked. If an image thats in a document is moved, the link to it in InDesign will break and it wont appear when the project is exported. For example, if the images for a project are stored on the desktop and then moved elsewhere (such as the Pictures folder) later, all of the links will break and those images wont appear in the document properly. This is because InDesign expects the images to still be on the desktop, but it can no longer find them at that location. Images that are properly linked will be marked with a chain-link icon to the top-left, whereas broken images will have a red question mark. See  InDesign: Errors & Troubleshooting for more details about fixing broken image links.

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KeywordsAdobe, editing, visual, design, graphic, flyers, brochures, newsletter, flier, book, publishing, images, pictures, photos   Doc ID99597
OwnerJanelle B.GroupPacific Lutheran Univ
Created2020-03-26 10:58:24Updated2023-08-04 16:28:58
SitesPacific Lutheran University
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