How to Import and Export Content in InDesign - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

Creative Suite 5 InDesign relies on importing content into a document that’s then incorporated into a page layout. You need to import images and text for many of your layouts. You can select text or image files from your hard drive or network. You can also choose sound and video files that you can use when you’re creating PDF documents for electronic distribution.

Import content to InDesign

When you choose File→Place, and choose a file to import, a new cursor icon appears, with a thumbnail preview of your image, when you place it over the page or pasteboard. To place the imported content, click the page where you want the upper-left corner to be placed.

When you import different kinds of images, you see the Place dialog box, in which you can select a variety of options for importing selected content. However, to access additional settings, you must select the Show Import Options check box in the Place dialog box. The figure shows the additional options that appear when an image is placed.


Select a file and click the Open button. Another dialog box opens with options specific to the type of file you’re importing. For example, if you’re importing a bitmap image (say, a JPEG), you can choose how you want the bitmap to appear, whether it contains a background or color management information, and other, similar options.

When you import text information, you may lose some text formatting that was made in the original file. Anything that InDesign doesn’t understand isn’t imported into the document. Column information, as well as margins, also typically aren’t retained when you import text. However, some plug-ins are available that help remedy the situation.

You can use the Launch Bridge button in the center of the Application bar in InDesign to open Adobe Bridge. Then simply drag and drop the images you want to use directly from Bridge.

Export from InDesign

In InDesign, you can export pages or a book as several file types. Most notably, you can export layouts as PDF documents, which anyone who has the free Adobe Reader installed can view. InDesign can also export to other image and vector formats, such as EPS and JPEG.

An InDesign document can also export to SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and XML (Extensible Markup Language), which is useful when you export documents for the Web. InDesign has a handy feature to package your work for Dreamweaver: By choosing File→Export for Dreamweaver, you can export a project you’re working on and have it ready for page creation in Dreamweaver.