I've created a booklet in InDesign that I want to prepare correctly for printing at my local printers. This file contains .psd graphics that on my print drafts at home look a bit low resolution or cracked... Do I need to embed them or do something to make sure that they will be printed exactly like the originals' high resolution format?

Basically, how to prepare the whole file for printing ensuring that I get the correct fonts, high quality .jpg photos and high quality .psd files in it at the final print?

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    Indesign by default shows raster graphics in lower quality so my first instinct it's probably fine. There's no difference in quality between linked and embedded. That said, if the linked file is like deleted or something indesign will only be able to show, print and export a low quality version. — Export your file as pdf and if it looks good as a pdf send the pdf to the printer. if you're still unsure, ask the printer if the file is alright. — Indesign also has a preflight check, which can warn you if things are bonkers... Like missing linked files or poor resolution.
    – Joonas
    Mar 29, 2019 at 18:07
  • The linked file is fine, not deleted and in high res. Ok thank you very much for the help! And of course I should create outlines on the whole text for fonts to remain and be printed correctly right?
    – Antigone
    Mar 29, 2019 at 18:10
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    No, do not create outlines of type in InDesign. Output to PDF and leave the fonts live. You'll get better results. PDFs embed font data.
    – Scott
    Mar 29, 2019 at 18:37

2 Answers 2


InDesign does not "store" any data for placed images. Everything is a "link" to the original image file and not "embedded" within InDesign.

What happens to placed images in InDesign upon output....

  • InDesign references the original image data
  • InDesign transforms the original data as necessary to meet the InDesign document. What that means is... if you scale a placed image, the data is scaled. If you rotate a placed image, the data is rotated. Etc.
  • InDesign then outputs the data after transformations are applied to meet any output specifications -- i.e. PDF Job Options or printer dialog settings.

Where this becomes problematic.....

If you place a low resolution raster image into InDesign, InDesign uses that low resolution image. It won't create a "better" image. Whatever the original is, that's the only image InDesign can use.

If you place a high resolution raster image into InDesign and then scale it up (enlarge it), you have stretched the resolution. In many instances this will cause quality damage to the enlarged image. It is best to never enlarge an image more than 105% within InDesign itself.

If you place a high or low resolution raster image into InDesign and scale it down you effectively increase the resolution of the image. This does no harm to high resolution images but may make some minute details harder to see. For low resolution images, it may be beneficial to reduce them within InDesign, see here.

If you are scaling raster images within InDesign, it is best to keep an eye on the Effective PPI which can be seen in the Info Panel (window > Info) with the image selected in InDesign. The Effective PPI should always meet the minimum requirement needed for output.

As for why your test prints look poor, it's not really possible to tell without much more information regarding image sizes and resolutions as well as hardware (printer) capabilities. It could be a hardware limitation of your printer, it could be the images themselves, or it could be how you've transformed images within InDesign.


InDesign has an incredibly powerful pre-flight & packaging system set up for exactly this task:

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Once you've opened the palette up you can choose (or create) an appropriate pre-flight profile:

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You can edit that profile and add all the relevant resolution and colour space parameters which you feel appropriate to this given project:

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Which will then become an instant ongoing pre-flight in the panel against all such issues:

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And this will let you know instantly where and what issues you have before you go out to print.

Once you are ready to print, use the Package command to build a fully press-ready package which includes all linked resources (including fonts) in one resource folder,; it creates a new "packaged" version of your ID file, with all links repointed to the correct resource in the packaged folders - pretty much insta-ready to FTP up to your PSP (Print Service Provider) and you should be good-to-go.

Hope that helps.

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