One incredibly useful, but often overlooked, feature in InDesign is the ability to place one InDesign document into another as an Image Link. Go to File>Place… and you’ll see in the file browser that InDesign files can be selected indicating they can be imported/placed within a layout.

placing indesign document into another indesign file

This is a real advantage when placing artwork that is likely to be updated. Suppose we have a press ad that features the front cover of a magazine. Usually we might create a tiff or PDF from the cover file and place this within our ad layout. However, any changes to the cover mean creating a new updated file for our ad.

If we place the magazine’s InDesign file instead we are linking to the original source file. If the file is amended our link will show as being modified and can be updated in the Links panel.

broken links when placing indesign in indesign

The only thing to keep in mind is that you are linking to an InDesign file which, in turn, links to other assets. When placing a tiff or PDF all the content is contained within that one file – an InDesign file may use other graphics and Fonts so these will need to available for it to print/export correctly.

Missing or modified links will need to be rectified in the source file and this then saved. Fonts can be managed from the “Find Font…” panel without having to go back to the source file as these are controlled on a system level.

In general using standard file formats for image links are easier to manage but, in a workflow as outlined above, using InDesign files can be a real advantage.

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