I am working on Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5

I am producing a map in Illustrator with multiple layers to place in an InDesign document. The bottom layer of the Illustrator file is an aerial photograph of the area. I have placed a compound path over the aerial photograph to "cut out" the focus area we are working on (I'm an urban planner). The compound path is plain white with 100% opacity, and it is on a different layer than the photograph.

When placing the Illustrator file in InDesign and exporting as PDF, for some reason the bottom layer (the aerial photograph) is still visible at the outer edge of the InDesign content box (see picture). This effect is NOT visible when physically printing the page from the PDF, but it is always visible on screen (at every zoom level).

flashing bottom of aerial picture

The Illustrator file is set up specifically to be the exact same size of the content box in InDesign to keep the scale of the map consistent.

Things I have tried:

  1. making the InDesign box a tiny bit smaller so the edge of the Illustrator file is not at the exact edge of the InDesign box. The problem persists.
  2. expanding the compound path so it covers area outside the artboard in Illustrator as well, to cover up the edge properly. The problem persists.
  3. Placing a rectangular path the same size as the artboard on the same layer as the photograph and giving it a 2p contour, plain white, 100% opacity, again to cover up the edge. The problem persists.

Any advice would be appreciated.

  • Well, without knowing the art it's hard to tell what's showing in your image and shouldn't be. Are you referring to that black line at the bottom? Have you (in InDesign) selected the content of the image frame, not the frame itself, and verified it's at 100%? White can often overprint in Illustrator. That might be an issue (Especially in CS5.5). A mask may be a better alternative.
    – Scott
    Jan 19, 2018 at 16:25
  • Have you checked the "separation preview" while in Illustrator? When turning it on/off, does the map shows? If yes, then you probably have an overprint fill on the top object.
    – Thea Kunst
    Jan 19, 2018 at 19:06
  • Sorry, @Scott, I was indeed referring to the black line at the bottom. Will check your suggestions and report back. Thanks a lot!
    – cetequ
    Jan 22, 2018 at 7:29
  • The content of the image frame was, for some reason, at 99,99994%. Set it to 100%, did not fix the problem. Checked overprinting, White fill was not set to overprinting. Checked separation preview, map does not show, so overprinting is not the issue.
    – cetequ
    Jan 22, 2018 at 7:39

1 Answer 1


I did not find the solution to my problem, but a suitable workaround.

As Scott suggested, a clipping mask applied to the aerial photograph did indeed get rid of the unwanted line at the bottom of the image frame.

Just to explain why I originally used a white fill compound path to hide unwanted parts of the photograph: I wanted to have the ability to show the surroundings of the area by toggling the compound path layer on and off in InDesign. In order to retain that ability I duplicated the photograph layer, left the original layer intact and applied the clipping mask only to the duplicate. So now, in order to switch between the full map and the cut-out, instead of toggling the compound path on and off, I switch between the two map layers.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.