• Global community
    • Language:
      • Deutsch
      • English
      • Español
      • Français
      • Português
  • 日本語コミュニティ
    Dedicated community for Japanese speakers
  • 한국 커뮤니티
    Dedicated community for Korean speakers
Exit
0

InDesign Best Practices 1: Graphic Formats

Engaged ,
Jun 12, 2024 Jun 12, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

This thread (and others I will start with a topic header starting with InDesign Best Practices) is due to a bit of altruism and a lot of selfishness. (Yes, if you search for "best practices" there are some useful threads but not nearly enough.) The Adobe documentation for InDesign doesn't say much about best practices for advanced and even many basic tasks. There are tutorials out there outside this forum and the Adobe helpfiles. But, I find that this forum and questions and the answers from very-helpful expert folks on it are generally better than those tutorials. I have learned a lot from those experts over the years. One of my main roles in life over the past couple of decades seems to be pushing InDesign to the limits (and often beyond, as in when, with an early 19.x version, I couldn't edit many of my files in InDesign for several months). And, I have been paying attention to what the experts said. So I am going to post my hard-won knowledge by topic with "InDesign Best Practices" in the header so that it's easier for me and others to find them. Now, on to graphic formats. I am certain that some exeperts will trash my recommendations, but that's why this is a thread with replies!

 

InDesign best practice question: Which format should you use for graphics that you link into an InDesign document and why?

  • Small InDesign document, photograph that you need to tweak in Photoshop, but without adding transparency: link to your tweaked Photoshop .psd file. Why? Because
    • For a small document, the performance hit of a .psd file is negligible.
    • You should link so that, if you look at the photo in context, you can right-click it and select "Edit Original" and it pops up in Photoshop so that you can tweak it. You can leave it open in Photoshop and keep tweaking and then refreshing (in InDesign, click the yellow triangle at the top left of the photo's frame) until it looks right.
  • Large InDesign document, photograph that you need to tweak in Photoshop, but without adding transparency: export all your files from Photoshop as JPEG .jpg files and link to them. Why? Because
    • Linked Photoshop .psd files cause a big performance hit on large files. I have had files that were uneditable until I exported to JPEG .jpg format and linked to those.
    • JPEG .jpg files are compressed and lossy (some loss of detail) but in Photoshop you can tweak the compression vs. quality level, and the performance hit from InDesign having to expand them seems negligible. Some argue for TIFF .tif files which are not compressed, and seem like a reasonable alternative, but I've found the JPEG .jpg files work fine.
    • Pro Tip 1 (not mentioned anywhere in the Adobe documentation): there are ways to automate conversion of Photoshop .psd files to JPEG .jpg files. I use a Windows File Explorer replacement called Directory Opus, and in it, when looking at a folder full of Photoshop .psd files, I can select/highlight all of them, then right-click, and select "Convert to JPG" and in a few seconds I have all the exported JPEG .jpg files that I need. I have no idea what program provides this right-click functionality; if you can reproduce it in native Windows File Explorer, please post your success in this thread. If you can do it on a Mac, please also post your success in this thread.
    • Pro Tip 2 (not mentioned in the documentation): if you have a folder full of Photoshop .psd files as well as the JPEG .jpg files you exported, and your document has links to all of the Photoshop .psd files, you can relink all of the files from Photoshop .psd to JPEG .jpg files with a few clicks. In the InDesign Links Panel (icon of two chain links), select all of the Photoshop .psd files (you can also select all of the JPEG .jpg files as well, it doesn't matter) and then do not right-click (this is not in the right-click menu). Instead, from the hamburger menu (three small lines) at the top left of the InDesign Links Panel, select Relink File Extension… and then enter jpg and click Relink. That should relink all of your Photoshop .psd files with the corresponding JPEG .jpg files.
  • Any size InDesign document, Photoshop .psd file with transparency:  follow the above instructions but, for a large document, convert to Portable Network Graphics .png format which, unlike JPEG .jpg format, supports transparency.
  • Small InDesign document, Adobe Illustrator .ai files, with or without transparency: link to the .ai files so that you can, as above with Photoshop .psd files, right-click and "Edit Original."
  • Large InDesign document, Adobe Illustrator .ai files, with or without transparency: export to Portable Network Graphics .png format as that deals better with large areas of the same color than JPEG .jpg files, and link to them as described above. While the performance hit is not as bad as with linking to Photoshop .psd files, it's significant.
TOPICS
How to , Performance

Views

166

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Jun 12, 2024 Jun 12, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Thanks for sharing your hard-earned knowledge on InDesign best practices hopefully it benefits many users looking to optimise their workflow.
Just some counterpoints and considerations that could further help users:

 

Considerations

Yes, sometimes file types can cause issues in performance, especially at larger file size - but remember resaving PSD files to JPG or PNG has seemingly unintended changes to the structure of the images. 

 

PSD could be layered, it could be CMYK - saving to JPG would flatten it - saving to PNG would make it RGB - and could shift colours. 
JPG adds artefacts although maybe not noticeable in print, it would depend on the users knowledge of saving images fit for purpose..

Saving to JPEG could remove smart objects and well layered and editable PSD files - again TIFF file might be a better option with compression.

Saving to PNG could have similar issues. 

 

Albeit - you may not even notice these changes in print unless it's colour critical.

 

Another point - if the PSD file has Text Layers (or the TIFF file) - then saving to PDF would be better.
Placing a PSD or TIFF with text layers in InDesign causes the text to rasterise at the native resolution of the document.
Saving to PDF preserves the vector text. 

 

Great you started this -  it's a great initiative to share best practices I think it's very valuable and can significantly benefit the community.  Hopefully, it will become a robust resource for seasoned professionals, and newcomers to InDesign.

 

 

Votes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Jun 13, 2024 Jun 13, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi @keithconover , If you are in control of the content creation then the answer is simple: link (don’t embed) .PSD for images, and link .AI for vectors—or if you are setting type in a Photoshop file and don’t want it to raster—PDF as Eugene suggests.

 

You certainly can place and successfully output web formats like PNG and JPEG, but there are plenty of disadvantages to those formats and no advantages. All linked images are represented by a relatively low res, flattened, proxy in the layout, so the idea that linked PSDs create a performance hit is not true—a compressed JPEG and a large, multi-layered PSD file would both be represented in the layout via a similar proxy preview. Consider this placed 1.4GB PSD vs. the same file flattened to JPEG at 29MB:

 

Screen Shot 34.png

 

 

Screen Shot 35.png

 

 

Because both links are represented by proxies, the file size of the InDesign docs are virtually the same:

 

Screen Shot 36.png

Votes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Engaged ,
Jun 13, 2024 Jun 13, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Except some of my big files with linked .psd and .ai files were uneditable – would crash InDesign if I typed more than a couple of letters – until I replaced the .psd files with exported .jpg files. After that they worked fine. Hard to argue with that kind of evidence.

Votes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Jun 13, 2024 Jun 13, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Yeh I get the slow down too. Indesign can be sluggish, I typically switch the display down from highest even to the Gray when editing text. 

I know it's not ideal

Maybe next time try saving as compressed tiff file instead of JPG, tiff compression should be lossless.

 

Especially for transparency, PNG would not be my first choice, tiff for me here or PSD 

 

It's great to discuss best practices and methodology and I'm not saying I'm 100 percent correct for every situation...

 

I remember over 20 years ago a file would not rip at all, so we resaved the enormous image files as different file formats relinked them and it ripped in seconds.

 

That was back in quark days though, and nearly a quarter of a century ago tech has moved on. 🙂

Votes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Jun 13, 2024 Jun 13, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

LATEST

Hard to argue with that kind of evidence.

 

You are assuming that the format change is what fixed the problem, but exporting a JPEG from InDesign and replacing the PSDs with new links would also clear any metadata overhead from the links.

 

The ancestor metadata bug can be a fairly common problem, if I check the File Info on this simple blank Photshop file its Raw metadata is too large to display—its dimensions are only 1920 x 1080 but its file size is 65MB!

 

Screen Shot 46.png

 

If I place this file in an InDesign pagelayout, its metadata will get passed in and corrupt the ID doc as well. Here I’ve placed the file 16 times and it’s impossible to efficiently move around the layout. If I check the ID file size the reason becomes clear—the file size is 2.95GB.

 

Screen Shot 47.png

 

 

Screen Shot 48.png

 

If I try to do a Save As on the PSDs to a different format, the metadata does not clear—I have to remove it manually or via a script (see the threads I linked to for the script).

 

If I run the script, the InDesign file size drops to 1.8MB and there are no performance issues.

 

Screen Shot 49.png

 

 

Votes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Jun 13, 2024 Jun 13, 2024

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I have had files that were uneditable until I exported to JPEG .jpg format and linked to those.

 

Also, watchout for Photoshop’s ancestor metadata bug, which is well documented and can corrupt ID files with placed images of any format—more here:

 

https://community.adobe.com/t5/photoshop-ecosystem-discussions/inflated-jpg-file-size-photoshop-docu...

 

https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign-discussions/file-size-is-too-big/td-p/9370587#10084949

 

https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign-discussions/is-there-a-script-to-clear-indesign-metadata-red...

 

 

Votes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines