How do I Find Missing Images in InDesign? Here’s how!

You open your document in InDesign and get an error box to say some of your images are missing. Don’t panic. It’s easily fixed.

To find missing images in InDesign relink the image boxes either by double clicking on the ! or by opening the Links Window.

There may be a few reasons why your images are missing. Let’s look at that and how to fix it.

Haven’t opened a file in a while

You open an InDesign file and you get a dialog box message to say one or more images is missing or modified.

You can click on the box to update links but I wouldn’t recommend this unless you are 100% sure it will update the correct image.

Click on ‘Don’t Update Links’ and your file will open as normal. However you will notice that some of your images now have little icons of a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark or a red circle with a question mark in the top left hand corner.

Triangle : This icon means that the file has been modified since you last opened it.
This could be a colour change or size change.

Question Mark : This icon means the image can’t be located on your computer.

But this is easily solved. If you haven’t opened this document file in a while the reason for the alert could be simply that you have moved the original image whilst filing or doing a tidy up on your machine. I regularly do this after I have finished working on a project, where I bundle files together and move them to the cloud.

The easiest way to fix this is to do a search for your file. But InDesign Links window has made this job super simple.

Go to the Top: Click on Window – Links

Here you will see a box with all your images / pics listed that are in your document.

Click on the first image name that is a Triangle. If you Double Click on this icon it will automatically update this image.
You can click on the Numeral PIC to the right within the box and it will show you the image within your document – these are page numbers.
If your image changes dramatically then there is a problem.
It means the image has updated to the incorrect file or that you have altered the file since having this document open last.
This rarely happens, unless you use a lot of images over and over. If it is incorrect, simply click Undo – ⌘Z (on a mac) or Ctrl Z (on a PC) and it will revert back to the original missing pic.

At the bottom of your Links Window there is a Drop down arrow, click on this and all the information about the iamge will appear.

If you Right CLick on the NAME and Go to Copy ‘Image name. jpg’

Then go to your Desktop and paste the file name into your search bar. This should locate your file for you.
You may find that there is more than one file with this name. This will then explain why the incorrect image updated.

Select the correct one if you are 100% sure and either make a note of where it is or sometimes it’s just easier to drag it tot he Desktop.

Go back to InDesign and update the link to your corrected file.

The other Icon – Red Circle with a White Question Mark means that your computer cannot locate your image. This happens because the file has either been moved or the path has changed.
If you Double Click on the Question Mark it will open a box with the Path listed on the top of the box.

If you can follow the path through the folders you will locate your file. If you can’t see the full path – sometimes the path is longer than the window will allow to show – go back to the Link Info Window and down to Paths.

If you hover your mouse over it the full path will appear or alternatively Right Click and Copy Full Path.

Return to your search bar and paste the name and locate your file.

File or Document is Not Yours

If you are working on a document that you didn’t create then missing files are often an issue.

Depending on what way the files are saved, somethimes you receive an InDesign file but everything linked to it hasn’t been included.
If this is the case all of your images will have a Question Mark Icon beside them. And chances are your fonts will also be missing (not always – depends on the extent of your own Font Library). However as soon as you open the file, missing fonts will be listed.

There is only one solution to this problem. You need to contact the originator and ask them to resend the document. But this time they need to Package it.

File : Package

Package Dialog Box appears.

All links and images need to be up to date and not missing or modified.
Click on Package.

This will create a folder with the document and everything needed to open it fully on a third party computer.

If you receive a document from another person and get the missing images message, all the files should be contained within the folder it arrived in – the Package Folder.

What if I don’t update the Links?

If you have a file but don’t have all of the images you can still export it. You will receive an error message to say that the links need to be updated but if you click continue your file will still export.
So why bother going and finding any images?

The reason is that your file may look fine to you but if you send it to a Print Shop with missing images they will not be able to print it correctly.
The missing images will either be blurry or possibly missing altogether.
It’s very important everything is up to date to avoid large blank spaces within yourdocument.
Some Print Shops don’t check jobs.
They may just hand you a bundle of flyers or brochures and it’s full of errors, because images or fonts were missing.

So don’t just export and hope for the best. Make sure everything in your document is up to date and relinked.

Here are some other posts you might find useful:

Missing text InDesign

InDesign Missing Fonts that aren’t missing

Tara Cunningham

My name is Tara. I am a Graphic Designer for the last 25+ years. Designing everything from Wedding stationery to Magazines. I have been using Adobe products since I was in college and know all the tips and tricks that make life a little easier when completing a project. Hopefully you will find the answer to your question on

Recent Posts