Alex here with a question, hoping the creative minds here can help with. Thank you in advance!

I design a few icons in Adobe InDesign in the interest of time for a publication, but now I was asked to share them in an "editable" format to be used in a different file in Adobe Illustrator. I tried all the option that InDesign has for export (PDF, EPS), but all of them flatten transparency on the drop shadow effect (Clip-group - Images) which means the person that opens them in Illustrator cannot change the drop shadow properties anymore.

I was wondering if there is a workaround or a plugin for InDesign in order to export all the effects (drop shadow, bevel & emboss etc.) in such format that they can be later adjusted in other software like Illustrator or even back in InDesign without sharing the InDesign source file?

You can have a better understanding of my question in the attached image.

Thank you so much!



enter image description here

  • Hi. Welcome to GDSE. Can't you simply do this in Illustrator instead? Add the drop shadow effect in Illustrator. Save as AI, or maybe apply an SVG drop shadow effect in Illustrator, and export as SVG.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 22, 2022 at 10:40
  • Hi Billy, thank you very much for your reply. I cannot do it in Illustrator as this was just a simple example. I have 2 huge other documents where I have multiple effects on vector shapes directly in InDesign and I don't have the time to remake all of them in Illustrator , that would take ages :) Thanks!
    – alex
    Mar 22, 2022 at 11:05
  • 1
    I can't answer with confidence, but I'm pretty sure it's not possible. Others might have more detailed knowledge. My thoughts: You can edit the effects of PDF files exported by Illustrator only if you tick on Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities when saving. You can also edit effects of EPS files exported by Illustrator, because they are so-called "Illustrator EPS" files which contain data from the original Illustrator document. No such options are available when exporting PDF and EPS from InDesign. And Illustrator can't open InDesign files...
    – Wolff
    Mar 22, 2022 at 18:38
  • Dear Wolff, thank you so much for the reply. This is exactly my assessment right now, brilliantly said by you. Now, what would be great is to find a plugin or something, but I've been digging up almost all the internet for a solution and still can't find one :( Maybe someone will see my post and have a solution, I don't give up, ha :) Thank you all for your help!!
    – alex
    Mar 23, 2022 at 9:23
  • @alex - TBH I think you probably made a mistake designing icons in InDesign in the first place. I know InDesign has vector capabilities, but it is quite limited in comparison to a true vector image editor. Maybe next time use Illustrator. It's easy to place AI files in InDesign, but you are kind of trying to do it backwards, which it was never designed to do.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 24, 2022 at 11:06


Your Answer

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

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.