I'm making an instruction manual on InDesign. I have pictures which have been exported from CAD software and then refined in Illustrator. They are line drawings and I want to have a consistent stroke width in every drawing on the document.

The problem is that the stroke width changes when I resize the drawings in InDesign. I could probably get around the problem by making the drawing in correct size in Illustrator to make the resizing unnecessary. However I'd like to avoid that because I need multiple instances of same drawing in different framing and scale. That's why I'd like to reuse AI files and set the framing in InDesign.

Is that possible at all?

  • So, you want to change the stroke settings that if you resize, the width of the stroke stays the same?
    – Sbaliyev
    Jan 24, 2022 at 9:51

2 Answers 2


InDesign cannot make changes to placed assets. When you place something, it is what it is, and if you scale it, it gets scaled completely, like a picture.


"making the drawing in correct size in Illustrator to make the resizing unnecessary"

Doing this is really the only way to ensure all placed images have the same stroke weight - in addition to ensuring all images are at the same scale in InDesign. There's no ability, feature, or mechanism for InDesign to see or understand the strokes within a placed file, vector or otherwise.

I once had a project with 93 images to be constructed. Then they were to be used in InDesign for a catalog of sorts. The nature of the images made constructing them in Illustrator the most logical route. What I found is it was easiest to configure a single artboard size in Illustrator and construct an image on that artboard size. I could then size the art to fit that artboard well. For each subsequent image, I merely used the same artboard size, in addition to using consistent stroke weights, etc..

When placed into InDesign, I used the Trim or Media bounds for the place. That way, if there were edits to any image and InDesign updated the link, the artboard would still be the same size - meaning images wouldn't rescale in InDesign upon an update.

You probably don't want consistent strokes between primary and reduced/enlarged images. A 1pt stroke may be fine at full size, but if you reduce the image by 50% that 1pt stroke may be way too thick or way too thin for an enlargement. You really want strokes to scale proportionally. By using consistent artboard sizes all the strokes will all scale the same if you reduce/enlarge the images by a consistent percentage within InDesign.

One could copy/paste artwork from AI to INDD and then the strokes would be adjustable in InDesign. However, in my experience, pasting anything even remotely complex into InDesign can be quite a chore to edit (i.e. adjust strokes after pasting).

If I need to adjust images for a reduction/enlargement, then I'll use multiple artboards in Illustrator for size variations. e.g. place the primary image on artboard 1, then copy scale and adjust the image on artboard 2, repeat for each size variation. Then I merely place artboardX in InDesign for the size change (again using the trim or media bounds).

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