• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Adobe Indesign - Copy and Paste or Place?


Well-Known Member
Quick question guys, I have a page in my InDesign doc which I have copied and pasted vector elements from an .AI file, things like logos (vector). Is it ok to be this lazy, or is it best to actually 'Place' these images into InDesign?



Staff member
Typically place the images rather than copy and paste.

Placing is quite simple, drag and drop from Finder/Explorer - or you can use File>Place

I'm not sure how that's lazier than opening up illustrator and copying and pasting it in... seems it would be quicker to drag and drop.

However, I'll often just copy and paste icons in, as I may want to change colour etc as I go along or per section - and it's faster than creating 26 variations of an icon for 1 project.

I'd never copy and paste artwork supplied, logos, complex artwork etc.

One side effect of having lots of vector data natively inside InDesign, with lots of logos, images, etc. copy and pasted into the document is that it can get quite slow and has a negative impact on you moving around the document fluidly.

With placed files - you can control the detail level that shows - either by individually selecting an object and going to Object>Display Performance - or gloablly using View>Document Performance

You can also globally change how vectors are viewed in each preview - here's an article I wrote some time ago

Paul Murray

Staff member
I only copy/paste vector objects if I need to change the colours. Logos, etc I add in as a link to prevent cluttering up my Swatches panel with all the tones from the vector object, and to also make it easy to update multiple instances.


Well-Known Member
Thanks guys, from the sounds of things it seems like it doesn't really matter for the 2-page doc I'm working on. Most of them are in fact icons with a couple of logos.

If it is best to 'Place' everything, which is what I usually do (first time I've copied and pasted graphics from another file), then I can do so, it just means resizing the original graphics and saving them as Jpegs, before placing them in InDesign (hence my lazy comment). I know I can resize in InDesign but there's no point 'Placing' in larger files than what is actually needed (file size and all that). Or does it not matter? Should I just Place in InDesign and resize in there too?
You can resize in indesign. There's no need to scale everything before you bring it in unless you have a doc with lots of images that are huge and you want to bring down the size of the packaged artwork. When making a pdf the images will be compressed to a certain size anyway.

Are you copy/pasting jpegs into indesign??
If you can keep things vector it is always best to do so to ensure higher quality print.

Like the others have said only paste in vectors when they are fairly simple and you need to change colours easily. Placing will speed up your layout.

Obviously the benefit of placing items (especially logos) is that if you need to change the logo it will update on all artwork. Nothing worse than having to go through several docs updating things when it can be done once in illy.

I would never paste a jpeg/tif. You would have to paste it back into photoshop to alter colours and check resolution.


Staff member
There is definitely a chance of making your document extremely vector dense, which means the file sizes can get humongous.

So, if you're copying and pasting that info as vector from AI to ID then you're going to see drastic slow down in ID.

If you place the AI - then you are placing a link to the file - which makes the final output Vector dense, and not the InDesign file itself.

With vector dense PDFs there's an element of a document being too large to render correctly on some computers, due to hardware. But for printing it is almost always desired to have vector objects.

You can place JPEGs if you wish, but any spot colours would be lost, and things like that - plus if the client wants to change the colour of an icon, you have to open that in Illustrator and make a new Jpeg and relink it back to InDesign.

JPEGs don't support transparency, so you'd need to have a Work Path in Photoshop should it end up on a colour background.

Best practice is to place AI files directly - don't copy and paste - and if it's getting too vector dense, you can always of course save your AI files as PSD files.

Place the PSD file - which would support transparency.

But there shouldn't be any need to do any of this.

Just place the AI file directly into InDesign.

File remains scalable and easy to manipulate over making additional artwork that you don't need.


Well-Known Member
Thanks guys, I'll Place for the sake of good practice, although unnecessary in this case; small file size, content heavy, 2-pages, 2 logos and a few icons which will never need editing with the exception of resizing if necessary. Also, it is not for a client and will rarely be printed, so I cutting corners out of a bout of Lazyitis that I caught.


Staff member

If you do copy and paste to InDesign - then you no longer have a link to the image.

If you ever need to send the Vector artwork to another person, then it's embedded in the InDesign file.

However, if you use File>Package, it will collect all the InDesign file, the fonts, the images, PDF, IDML file etc. into one location.

Making it easy to send off the artwork images to someone else, without having to send the artwork.