Embedded Files

About links and embedded graphics

When you place a graphic, its original file is not actually copied into a document. Instead, InDesign adds a screen-resolution version of the file to the layout, so that you can view and position the graphic, and creates a link, or file path, to the original file on disk. When you export or print, InDesign uses the links to retrieve the original graphics, creating the final output from the full resolution of the originals.

Links can help minimize the size of a document by storing graphics outside the document file. After placing a graphic, you can use it many times without significantly increasing the size of the document; you can also update all links at once.

If the bitmap image you place is 48K or smaller, InDesign automatically embeds the full-resolution image, instead of the screen-resolution version in your layout. InDesign displays these images in the Links palette, so that you can control versions and update the file whenever you like; however, the link is not necessary for optimal output.

Note: If you move a document to another folder or disk (for example, if you take it to a service provider), be sure you also move the linked graphics files; they are not stored inside the document. You can copy all related files automatically, using the Preflight and Package features.

Other methods for importing graphics

When you copy and paste or drag a graphic into an InDesign document, some attributes of the original object may be lost, depending on the limitations of the operating system and the range of data types the other application makes available for transfer, and the InDesign Clipboard preferences.

Copying and pasting or dragging between two InDesign documents, or within a single document, however, preserves all of the graphics attributes that were imported or applied. For example, if you copy a graphic from one InDesign document and paste it into another, the new copy will be an exact duplicate of the original, even including the original’s link information, so that you can update graphic when the file on disk changes.

Note: You cannot use Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) or Publish and Subscribe (Mac OS) to import graphics. Many programs do not reliably preserve file format, color, and resolution information when providing data through Publish and Subscribe or OLE. The Place command and the Links palette in InDesign provide comparable features, and have better support for publishing file formats.

Preparing imported graphics for color management

Use the following general guidelines to prepare graphics for being color-managed in Adobe applications:

Embed an ICC-compliant profile when you save the file. The file formats that support embedded profiles are JPEG, PDF, PSD (Photoshop), AI (Illustrator), INDD (InDesign), and TIFF. (See To embed a color profile in a document.)

If you plan to reuse a color graphic for multiple final output devices or media, such as for print, video, and the web, prepare the graphic using RGB or Lab colors whenever possible. If you must save in a color model other than RGB or Lab, keep a copy of the original graphic. RGB and Lab color models represent larger color gamuts than most output devices can reproduce, retaining as much color information as possible before being translated to a smaller output color gamut.

To embed a color profile in a document

In order to embed a color profile in a document you created in Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, you must save or export the document in a format that supports ICC profiles.

  • Save or export the document in one of the following file formats: Adobe PDF, PSD (Photoshop), AI (Illustrator), INDD (InDesign), JPEG, or TIFF.
  • Select the option for embedding ICC profiles. The exact name and location of this option varies between applications. Search Help in the relevant application for additional instruction.

Bitmap import options

You can apply color-management options to individual imported graphics when using color-management tools with your document. You can also import a clipping path or an alpha channel saved with an image created in Photoshop. This gives you the ability to directly select an image and modify its path without changing the graphic frame.

When you place a PSD, TIFF, GIF, JPEG, or BMP file, and select Show Import Options in the Place dialog box, you’ll see a dialog box containing these options:

Apply Photoshop Clipping Path If this option isn’t available, the image was not saved with a clipping path, or the file format does not support clipping paths. If your bitmap image does not have a clipping path, you can create one automatically in InDesign.

Alpha channel Select an alpha channel to import the area of the image saved as an alpha channel in Photoshop. InDesign uses the alpha channel to create a transparent mask on the image. This option is not available for images that do not contain at least one alpha channel.

Image imported without clipping path (left) and with clipping path (right)

Click the Color tab to view the following color-management options:

Enable Color Management Select this option to apply color management to the graphic you’re importing, and to activate the other options in this panel. Deselect this option if consistent color is not required for the graphic.

Profile If Use Embedded is selected, leave this option unchanged. Otherwise, choose a color source profile that matches the gamut of the device or software used to create the graphic. This profile enables InDesign to properly translate its color to the gamut of the output device.

Rendering Intent Choose a method for scaling the color range of the graphic to the color range of the output device. Typically, you’ll choose Perceptual (Images), because it accurately represents colors in photographs. The Saturation (Graphics), Relative Colorimetric, and Absolute Colorimetric options are better for areas of solid color, and do not reproduce photographs well.

To print or save separations

At the top of the Print dialog box, choose a preset in the Printer Preset menu, if one with the appropriate separation settings exists.

Do one of the following:

  • To print to an output device, choose the device in the Printer menu.
  • To print to a file, choose PostScript® File in the Printer menu. Then choose a PPD that supports the output device.

Click General, and specify the pages to separate.

Click Output, and do one of the following:

  • To print to an output device, choose Separations to create the separations in InDesign.
  • To print to a file, choose either Separations, or In-RIP Separations to save separation settings in a composite PostScript file for processing in the RIP.

Note: To use Adobe In-RIP Trapping, you must be working with in-RIP rather than host-based separations. Otherwise, the trapping feature won’t have access to all of the colors at once, and trapping won’t occur.

Click Graphics, and do the following:

  • For Send Data, choose All.

For Fonts, choose Complete or Subset, unless fonts will be inserted later (for example, at the RIP or by a post-processing application).

For PostScript®, select the PostScript level of the output device: Level 2 or Level 3.

Click Advanced, and do any of the following:

To replace low-resolution graphics embedded in placed EPS files with their high-resolution versions at output time, make sure that Read Embedded OPI Links was selected when the EPS file was placed in the InDesign document, and then select OPI Image Replacement in the Advanced panel of the Print dialog box.

To omit different imported graphics types for later replacement by an OPI server, select from the Omit For OPI options.

For Transparency Flattener Preset, choose [High Resolution] or an available custom style with high-resolution settings.

Choose any other print options.

Do one of the following:

  • To print to an output device, click Print.
  • To print to a file, click Save and accept the default filename, or type another name for the file. Then click Save again.

Note: Once you’ve created separations of the InDesign document, the settings you’ve chosen in the Print dialog box are saved with the separated file. The file saves the separation settings, the PPD information, and any color conversions you have specified in the Print dialog box.

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