InDesign Secrets: Embedding your images so they don’t go missing

October 5, 2012

This article addresses the dreaded lost image phenomenon, which occurs when Adobe InDesign can’t find your linked images and lets you know with glaring red question marks.

The presence of glaring red question marks in your actual layout (and not just your Links panel) is courtesy of InDesign CS6, but the lost images phenomenon is familiar to users of earlier versions of InDesign as well.

Anne-Marie’s solution is simple: embed your images. That way they can’t get lost if you move the image folder or send the document off to a client without a separate file full of graphics. An embedded Photoshop file even retains its layers.

The first step is to find the original image and relink it (you’ll have to solve that challenge on your own). Then right-click on the image in the Links panel and choose Embed Link.

Your image is now permanently part of your file.

As easy as this is, you should be aware of two potential disadvantages to embedding your file. First, when you embed your images you no longer have the benefit of automatically updating links, but if your graphic is stable and not going to change (like a logo), then it’s really not a an issue. Second, embedding images makes your InDesign file significantly larger. But as Anne-Marie notes, it’s not 1993, and while you may not want to embed hundreds of images, the increased file size you’ll see from embedding a handful of images for an in-house document is not the obstacle it used to be.

One other note: you can’t embed a video file or another InDesign file.

What I find particularly fascinating is if you embed a graphic file within your InDesign document, the encompassing InDesign file behaves in some ways like a zipped archive. If you wish to unembed the graphic later, you can create a new “original” right from InDesign. For certain scenarios, this is an elegantly simple solution to the lost image syndrome.

Interested in more? Check out the the LinkedIn Learning course InDesign Secrets biweekly series. Or watch InDesign CS6 New FeaturesInDesign CS6 Essential Training and InDesign FX.