Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Automatically place multiple images in a grid

One of the nicest new features of InDesign CS4 is the ability to automatically place multiple images at once, arranged neatly in a grid of frames automatically created to your specifications. Here's how:

1. With nothing selected on your page, choose File > Place, and select multiple images by clicking on one image, and then command-clicking (Mac) or ctrl-clicking (Windows) on subsequent images.

2. Click the Open button. InDesign will import all the images you selected, and then display the "place cursor" with a number showing how many images you've imported.

3. Hold down command-shift (Mac) or ctrl-shift (Windows), and drag out a rectangle. You will see a grid of frames appear. Don't release the mouse button, but you can now release the command/ctrl-shift keys.

4. Now, while continuing to hold the mouse button down, you can adjust the number of rows and columns using the cursor (arrow) keys on the keyboard. The up/down arrows increase/decrease the number of rows in the grid, and the right/left arrows increase/decrease the number of columns in the grid.

Again, while continuing to hold the mouse button you can adjust the space between the rows and columns using shift+the cursor keys on the keyboard. Shift + the up/down arrows increases/decreases the vertical space between rows, and shift + the right/left arrows increases/decreases the horizontal space between columns.

5. Release the mouse button, and a precise grid of frames will be created, with an image placed in each frame.

Only as many frames as you have images selected will be created. In other words, no empty frames will be created. So if you've dragged out a 10 x 10 grid, but only have 15 images selected, only 15 frames will be created, not 100.

Conversely, if you have more images selected than the number of frames you specified in your grid, after the first grid is created, you will see another "place cursor", and then you can repeat steps 3-5 to create a second grid.

20 comments:

dblatner said...

I love this technique, Keith. Thanks for writing it up. If people want a video version, to see it in action, check out http://indesignsecrets.com/indesignsecrets-videocast-8-placing-images.php

Naveed said...

Thanks a lot..

Øystein said...

Thanks! Greatly appreciated. Love when people take their time to write up things like this.

Colleen said...

Great info , thank you. Question: because the pics are different shapes and sizes, is there something i can do to make them fit proportionally? If i fit content to frame (grid) the images get distorted -- there must be a 'correct' way to do this.....right?

THANKS!

Colleen said...

HA! Just answered my question i think... fill frame proportionally, ???

Keith Gilbert said...

@Colleen: Yup, Object > Fitting > Fill Frame Proportionally is what you're looking for!

Benjamin said...

Is there a way to remove the borders between each image?

concrete said...

CS5 will not allow the spaces between to reduce... why? yet CS4 did?... what the?

Keith Gilbert said...

@concrete: to adjust the spaces between the grids in cs5, the keystroke has changed to command-arrow (mac) or ctrl-arrow (windows)

MagStev said...

Question: My pics are different shapes and sizes, is there something i can do to make them all just be simply placed on a page, WITHOUT changing their sizes and without GRID too?
Note: Similar to CS2 behaviour.

SPIX said...

Me too MagStev,
I need all my images to import at their original dimensions.
Anyone have the answer?

Ana said...

Great! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

You saved my life.

Anonymous said...

I am on a High School Yearbook Staff, and I was wondering if there is a way that I can leave space on the left side of the page to put names. I am working on putting all of the students' pictures ont the page. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

That was exactly what i needed. Thank you so much for this great tip. I had to place 37 JPG images of a sign onto a page for a report. This made them all uniform and saved me a ton of time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot!
You saved my day!

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to create a booklet of video clips & I tried this method, it worked brilliantly. But the only issue I have is getting the dimensions of photos on different pages all the same. Any advice?

Anonymous said...

FYI, Indesign has is a great script called ImageCatalog.jsx that will allow you to upload multiple images very quickly.

Anonymous said...

Life Saver. Had to get 4x640 images onto 4xA0 paper.

bauer22 said...

I am wondering if you can tell me how I can use this technique but repeat the same image in the grid (not different images)?