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A Guide to Working with Images in Adobe InDesign

written by: cscribe2180•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 1/25/2010

This Adobe InDesign tutorial shows you how to import, place, and manipulate pictures and other graphics within your InDesign document.

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    Guide to Graphics in Adobe InDesign

    Well-placed graphics liven up any print document by adding visual elements that keep readers interested. Adobe InDesign makes it easy to import and manipulate graphics for any print document with a variety of different styling tools. After properly formatting your graphics for print publications, drop them into your Adobe InDesign document. Here's how to get started.

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    Importing Graphics and Images

    Select the rectangle frame tool to create a box for your graphic. Click "File," then "Place" to select the graphic you wish to import. The graphic will then appear within the box.

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    Resizing Pictures and Graphics

    If your picture or graphic doesn't quite fit into the box designated for the image, it's possible to directly modify the scale of the image without sacrificing image quality within the Adobe InDesign document. Select the box containing your graphic, then click on "Object" on the top Adobe InDesign menu bar. Within the drop-down menu that appears, click "Fitting" to reveal a number of options for modifying the image. Use "Fit content proportionally" to automatically re-size the graphic within the constraints of the box without distortion. Or, use "fit content to frame" to ensure the box is fully filled by the image.

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    Fitting Content Around Images

    If you want to get rid of an image's boxy feel, the "Detect Edges" feature within Adobe InDesign will allow you to automatically detect image edges and then wrap text and other content around the image based on its actual shape, not the image box. This feature works particularly well with images that have blank or white backgrounds, such as object images.

    Select the image box, then click on "Object" on the top Adobe InDesgn menu bar. From the drop-down menu, select "Clipping Path." Click on the "Type" drop-down menu and select "Detect Edges." This will unlock additional features below which you can experiment with to determine how closely the edges must follow the image outline. You can now create a text wrap to flow text around the image outline. Making sure the image is selected, use the "Text Wrap" tool pane (if you can't see it, go to "Window" and click "Text Wrap") to select the shape and spacing of the wrap. For images with a clipping path, using the rounded text wrap is recommended.

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    Working with Image Edges

    Experiment with different effects for image edges by using the "Feather" and "Drop Shadow" options from the "Object" menu or from the menu that appears when PC users right-click on an image. The "Feather" feature blurs the edges of an image box in a variety of ways to create softening, aging and other effects to the picutre. The "Drop Shadow" feature allows you to add a shadow to the picture from any angle and with any color.

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    Experiment with the Transparency Feature

    Select the "Transparency" feature from the "Window" drop down menu, and play with the opacity of the image to create watermarks and other fading effects.

Adobe InDesign Tutorials

Adobe InDesign is one of the best desktop publishing programs on the market today. In this series of articles, we'll take a look at this desktop publishing software and offer tips and tricks to help you make quality print products like the pros.
  1. An Introduction to the Adobe InDesign Tutorial Series
  2. Setting Up Your Adobe InDesign Document
  3. Using the Adobe InDesign Tool Palette
  4. Creating Paragraph Styles in Adobe InDesign
  5. A Guide to Working with Images in Adobe InDesign