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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe InDesign

How to Insert an Image in InDesign

Read Time: 5 mins

Inserting an image (or Illustration or PDF) in an InDesign file is a super easy task. There are a couple of different ways you can get an image onto the InDesign page, and we'll review them in this quick tutorial.

Do you prefer to learn by watching a video? Then you can watch this from the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel to learn how to place an image in InDesign:

What You'll Learn in this Quick InDesign Insert Image Tutorial

  • How to place an image on a page
  • How to insert an image into an existing frame
  • How to drag and drop an image to place it

What You'll Need

I used the following assets from Envato Elements to create this tutorial:

1. How to Place an Image on a Page

Step 1

Let's see how to insert an image in InDesign. First, choose File > Place, and then navigate to the directory containing your image.

InDesign's File menu with the Place command selectedInDesign's File menu with the Place command selectedInDesign's File menu with the Place command selected

Step 2

Select the desired image and click Open.

The Place dialog box with image files and one file selectedThe Place dialog box with image files and one file selectedThe Place dialog box with image files and one file selected

Step 3

Your cursor will switch to a “loaded” cursor (indicated by a mini-preview of your image). Place the image using one of the following methods:

Method 1: Click on the page to place the image at that location and at 100% of the original size.

Method 2: Click, hold the mouse button, and drag with the cursor to the desired size. This will also maintain the image’s proportions and orientation. Release the button when the image is the size you want.

Method 3: Click and drag as above while holding Shift to place in a frame with different proportions than your image. For instance, you can place a wide image into a tall frame. You may need to adjust the Fitting Options from the Object menu afterwards.

InDesign page with one image placed by three different methods as describedInDesign page with one image placed by three different methods as describedInDesign page with one image placed by three different methods as described

2. ‬How to Insert an Image Into an Existing Frame

Next up, let's see how to place an image in InDesign into an existing frame. Notice that items live in a frame—or container—in InDesign. When placing using the methods above, the frame is created for you. However, if you already have a frame and you want to put an image in it, use one of the methods below.

Step 1 (Method 1)

To add a picture in InDesign, select the frame you want to insert the image into.

Step 2

Choose File > Place.

Image frame selected and the Place option chosen from the File menuImage frame selected and the Place option chosen from the File menuImage frame selected and the Place option chosen from the File menu

Step 3

Check Replace Selected Item at the bottom of the Place dialog box.

Image selected to place, Replace Selected Item checked onImage selected to place, Replace Selected Item checked onImage selected to place, Replace Selected Item checked on

Step 4

Navigate to the image and click Open. The image is placed directly into the chosen frame.

Selected image is placed in frameSelected image is placed in frameSelected image is placed in frame

-OR-

Step 1 (Method 2)

With no frame selected, choose File > Place.

Step 2

Navigate to the desired image and click Open.

Step 3

Roll over an empty frame to place the image inside that frame.

Empty frame with loaded cursor rolled over frameEmpty frame with loaded cursor rolled over frameEmpty frame with loaded cursor rolled over frame

3. How to Drag and Drop an Image to Place It

Step 1

Now, let's learn how to insert a photo in InDesign with the third method. Make sure you can see the desktop window that contains the image you want to place and your InDesign page.

Step 2

Drag the image from the desktop across into your InDesign document. This has the same results as using the Place command, and you can place the image using one of the methods above.

InDesign window and desktop window side by side, arrow to indicate dragging an image from the desktop onto the InDesign pageInDesign window and desktop window side by side, arrow to indicate dragging an image from the desktop onto the InDesign pageInDesign window and desktop window side by side, arrow to indicate dragging an image from the desktop onto the InDesign page

Now You Know How to Add a Picture in InDesign!

We've reviewed how to insert a photo in InDesign using three quick methods. Getting images into an INDD document is easy, and there are several ways to get that done. But no matter what methods you use, you’re now ready to step up your designs by adding images into the mix!

Here are even more great InDesign tutorials, full of great tips, tricks, and ideas. And don't forget to visit Envato Elements' huge library of InDesign graphic templates for your next project!

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