Why Will My Image not Place in InDesign? 2 min fix

Placing of images in InDesign is a fantastic aspect of the app. It allows controlled placement and the ability to track your images. But why would this not be working? Let’s take a look.

Image will not place in InDesign because an update is required, an image box was unknowingly selected, the file is corrupt or named incorrectly or the file was opened and not placed.

There’s always a relatively easy solution or workaround when you have an InDesign problem. Let’s go through the possible solutions to fix the issue.

InDesign Update

Does your machine require a Creative Cloud or InDesign update? This is always my first go to solution. As graphic designers we’re usually so busy ploughing through jobs we forget about the back office admin work that needs to be kept up to date. There is an auto update tab within Creative Cloud and InDesign and I would recommend that you enable this. However, sometimes it’s not practical to run an update. You might be in the middle of a big job and it just doesn’t suit. We click ‘Remind Me Later’ and we tend to forget about it.

Quit InDesign before you check for an update.

Open Creative Cloud and Check for Updates

If an update is available Click on it to activate.

When the update has completed it’s usually a good idea but not always a requirement to do a restart. Although I always feel that new versions never fully work properly until a full restart has been completed. After the restart, open InDesign and check if your pictures will now place in your document.

Placed Incorrectly

Although an update is usually the issue, sometimes it’s just an incorrect click of the mouse. If you have already selected an image box, maybe because you have been previously working on it and moved away to another part of the document, or just accidently clicked on it.

When you Click File – Place and Select your image, the file will drop into the selected box. This then looks like the image placement didn’t happen because in the meantime you have navigated to another page.

No image appears as you have selected the incorrect box

You may be on Page 4 for example but you have a box selected on Page 10. This is where your image has placed. This is where the confusion lies, it looks like nothing has happened (but it has) but you can’t see your image.

The quick fix of this is Ctrl Z. Your placed image will then be seen as part of your Cursor Tool. Click now in either the allocated image box or anywhere on your selected page.

Problem Solved!

What’s the File Name?

This is a slight peculiarity to InDesign. It’s important when you are saving images in Photoshop or Illustrator that you name your files correctly. This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly so you can find your images – I constantly have this conversation with my husband – similar job to myself. A pic or image called AA259 is not relative to anything. Try and name the pic what it is and connect it to the job in hand, i.e. have a particular folder for all your image and vector files inside a folder of the job or project.

Secondly, if you use non-English characters when naming files it totally throws InDesign. If you are running an English version of InDesign, you must name files in English. Even though you know your file is in the correct location and you know the name of it, if there are non-English characters it won’t show or else won’t place properly. You will need to reopen Photoshop or Illustrator and rename your file with English characters and numbers. It will then place no problem in InDesign. Obviously if you are running a French, or German or any other language InDesign this won’t be the case. InDesign will recognise that you are using that language.

Have You Placed? Or Opened?

The last point I make is just a simple error. I find sometimes I do this, if I’m tired or have a million things going on, which is most of the time! I go to place an image but instead of selecting Place I inadvertently Click File – Open. And I’m sitting there wondering what is going on. Why are my images not showing up in the place box? It takes a few seconds to realise. As I say, it’s usually a lack of concentration on my part. But it’s an easy mistake to make.

Hopefully one of the above solutions has solved your problem. 

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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 PurpleHotKeys.com

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