InDesign Secrets: Placing one InDesign file inside another InDesign file

Published by | Thursday, November 8th, 2012

In this week’s InDesign Secrets video, David Blatner explains how you place one InDesign file inside another and, perhaps more importantly, provides some reasons why you might want to exploit this feature.

Placing an InDesign file inside of another InDesign file works much like adding any other type of file, such as a PDF. Once you use the standard File > Place command, choose your desired InDesign file and position it where you want it to appear in the layout of your original InDesign document. Just like any other placed file, the new file will appear in the Links panel, and any edits made externally to the placed InDesign file will automatically update. Accordingly, changes made will also appear with the same warnings and update ability that any placed link would display in the Links panel.

The Links panel in Adobe InDesign

Initially, the new InDesign file behaves just like a static, uneditable PDF or picture, but you can use the Edit Original command to open the linked file in InDesign. David also has a tip in the video for downloading a free plugin that allows you to convert the placed file into its constituent objects. That way, you can change the layout and other features just like you would any other page in your document.

For members of, David’s partner in InDesign secrecy, Anne-Marie Concepción, also has an exclusive video in our library called Creating bookmarks for PDFs, in which she explains how to create bookmarks in InDesign that will appear when your document becomes a PDF.

Anne-Marie and David will be back in two weeks with more InDesign Secrets.


Interested in more?
• The entire InDesign Secrets biweekly series
• Courses by David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción on
• All InDesign courses

Suggested courses to watch next:
InDesign CS6 New Features
 InDesign CS6 Essential Training
Up and Running with Acrobat XI



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6 Responses to “InDesign Secrets: Placing one InDesign file inside another InDesign file”

  1. Woodrow Limes says:

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this site and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info especially the last part I care for such info much. I was looking for this specific info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  2. Brandon says:

    Once you convert from layout zone you cannot still globally update from the source of the link correct?

  3. Carrie says:

    May I ask if you can import an Indesign file with a mail merge?

  4. Annie says:

    I am designing a newspaper, and some of the ads in this newspaper is also made by me. I usually make these ads in seperate documents, and the I export to pdf’s and place them in the main document. But is it ok to just place the indd-file with the ad in my main indd-document? This wont cause any problems when printing the paper?

    Would love to use this solution, because I wouldn’t have to make new pdf’s every time the ad is changed…

  5. Marcel says:

    1 – Abram os dois documentos indesign que querem copiar e o que quer inserir os textos (origem e destino).
    2 – Dentro do documento que quer copiar, abra a janela pages, selecione todas as páginas, botão direito do mouse, Move pages…/Move to…/documentname.indd.
    3 – Pronto! todas as páginas que moveu, estarão lá no documento de destino.

    1 – Open the two documents indesign wanting to copy and insert the text you want (origin and destination).
    2 – Within the document you want to copy, open the pages, select all pages, right-click, Move pages… / Move to… / Documentname.indd.
    3 – Ready! all pages that move, will be there in the target document.

  6. Grace says:

    Thanks for this post! But I was wondering, what if I wanted to place a specific page of a multi-page InDesign file into another InDesign page? When I simply used the “Place” command, the only first page of the placed file showed up, and I was hoping for a different one.

    Thanks for any help!

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