5 Methods to Insert Images in InDesign

5 Methods to Insert Images in InDesign

Adobe’s library of unique and professional programs are well-known for being so flexible and having a lot to offer. Photoshop is quite possibly the best graphic design application while Adobe Maya offers just as much but for animators. Graphic design applications, in particular, are something that Adobe offers plenty of. There’s Photoshop, Illustrator, and our focus in this article, InDesign. Each of them is tweaked precisely for a specific type of environment. Adobe InDesign is meant for designing flyers, leaflets, and similar graphical works. One thing that some users just can’t figure out though is how to insert images in InDesign.

Given that inserting images is useful when designing a flyer, poster, and especially a publication like a magazine, knowing how to do this is vital. Fortunately for you, we have five ways that you can insert images in Adobe InDesign.

Method #1 – Inserting an Individual Image

Let’s start with the simplest way to insert images in InDesign. Using these steps will allow you to insert a single image onto your project.

Step #1 – Open the Adobe InDesign file you want to add an image to.

Step #2 – Click on the “File” tab at the top of the program and select “Place” from the menu.

Step #3 – Using the file explorer window that appears, locate the image file that you want to insert.

Step #4 – After selecting the image, it will load onto your cursor. Insert it now by either left-clicking once or left-clicking and dragging your cursor so that it is the appropriate size.

This is the easiest way of adding a photo, and if you need to insert more than one, all you have to do is repeat these steps.

PS: here are the best InDesign Alternatives as well as how to resize an image in InDesign for your reference too.

Method #2 – Inserting Multiple Images

Alternatively, when you want to insert more than one image, there’s another method to consider. For the method below, it’s important that all of the images you want to paste are in the same folder/directory. If not, this won’t work.

So, if you need to insert multiple images onto your canvas, then follow these steps.

Step #1 – Launch Adobe InDesign and open the project you want to add images to.

Step #2 – Like before, click on “File” and from the drop-down menu, click on “Place.”

Step #3 – Direct yourself to the folder which contains all of your images.

Step #4 – Click on the first image, hold down your “Shift” key, and click on the final image. This selects all of the images in between.

Note: If the images are not next to each other in the folder, hold down the “Ctrl” (or if you’re a Mac user, Command) key and click on each image individually.

Step #5 – Once you select all of the images to add, click on “Open.”

Step #6 – Back on the canvas simply left-click, and this will add your images.

Using this method to insert images to InDesign can be messy if you’re adding more than just a few. However, it’ll save you a lot of time in comparison to adding every image singularly.

Also, click to read more about InDesign vs. Publisher and how to wrap text in InDesign, as well as Optimizilla here.

Method #3 – Inserting Images in a Grid Layout

Depending on what type of graphic you’re designing, it might be appropriate to have your images in a grid style. If you’re designing a leaflet that shows candidates for an election or some of the products that your business sells, a grid layout is very useful.

Here’s how you can insert images in InDesign in this format.

Step #1 – After opening the project to add images to, click on “File” and then on “Place.”

Step #2 – Like before, click on the first image you want to insert, hold your shift key, and click on the final images. This selects all of the images in between those two as well.

Step #3 – Once you click on “Open,” left-click and drag your cursor. It’s important that you don’t release your mouse button until afterward.

The next part of this gets a little bit complicated. There are a few things you can do before releasing your left-click, and you do them with the arrow keys on your keyboard.

  • Up arrow key: increases the frames at the top
  • Down arrow key: decreases the frames at the top
  • Right arrow key: increases the frames at the bottom
  • Left arrow key: decreases the frames at the bottom

When you’re happy with the number of frames you have, and the layout is exactly as you want it to be, you can stop holding your mouse button. Your images will now be shown in the grids. To make sure the images are proportional to each other and there aren’t any which are too big for your canvas, click on the “Fill Frames Proportionally” option. You can locate this on the control bar.

Method #4 – Inserting Images in a Premade Frame

Like the last method to insert images in InDesign, this next method uses frames. In some situations, you may already have a frame on your screen. If so, you might not want to add another one as this could clutter up your canvas. This is where inserting images in a premade frame can be useful.

If you’re wondering, “Why would I create a frame before inserting images?” you’re not alone. It can be easier to create a frame and then add the images. Maybe you want some of the frames to be at an angle or a different shape. If that’s the case, then planning out your frame before adding the images might be simpler. After you create the frame, follow these steps.

Step #1 – Assuming you’ve made the frame on your canvas, click on “File” and select “Place.”

Step #2 – Locate the image folder and select the images you want to add. You can do this by holding either “Shift” or “Ctrl” as described above.

Step #3 – After clicking the “Open” button, click on the frames where you want the images to be inserted to.

This is useful if you’re designing something but don’t yet have the images. You can create the frame so that it is a part of your design, finish the project, and add the images afterward.

Method #5 – Inserting an Image with a Compound Path

Finally, you can add images to your Adobe InDesign using a Compound Path. These work almost the same as frames do. However, they give you more freedom over where to place the frames and are sometimes preferred over the latter.

By following the steps below, you can insert images in InDesign using this Compound Path feature.

Step #1 – After opening your graphics project, click on the “Window” menu from the top.

Step #2 – From this menu, hover over “Object & Layout” and choose “Pathfinder.”

Step #3 – You can now create individual frames with specific dimensions and as you need them.

Step #4 – Next, select all of the new frames you’ve made and on the Pathfinder panel, hit the add button. This is the equivalent of grouping the frames together and creates the “Compound Path.”

Step #5 – Last of all, click on “File > Place,” and use the explorer window to select your images.

Think of this feature as a way of creating a freeform frame. It doesn’t limit you to a generic square layout, and you’re able to edit the positioning of the individual image slots too. Reiterating what we said before: if you don’t have the images/photos you want to add to your project just yet, then creating your frame anyway will show you where they’ll be placed and makes designing around them easier.

To Conclude on “How to Insert Images in InDesign”

So, there you have it! You can now advance your skillset with Adobe InDesign and take your graphic design to the next level. Knowing how to insert images in InDesign seems so straightforward but given how professional of a tool Adobe InDesign is, it’s easy to get confused by all of the features. If you follow any of the five methods above though, you’ll have no problem pasting your images. All you need to do now is finish your design, and you’ll have a work of art that includes those images!


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