I'm trying to place an .ai file into my InDesign file, but for some reason it seems like the 3d effects and drop shadow aren't showing up in my InDesign file.

Here's a pic of my artboard in Illustrator: enter image description here

And here's a pic of the same file placed in InDesign: enter image description here

Does anyone know why this is happening and how I can fix it?

  • Odd.. never seen this. Seems it's primarily the shadows on a few type objects, and that one type object that is not transformed as it should be. What software versions,? Are you placing the .ai file directly or using PDF or some other format?
    – Scott
    Apr 13, 2022 at 18:37
  • I'm using the .ai file directly Apr 13, 2022 at 18:57
  • 2
    If it were me it would take some troubleshooting to determine what specifically is different from the objects where aren't correct compared to the "Trainer's Room" object which is correct. I don't think this can be solved without examining the file, which is off topic.
    – Scott
    Apr 13, 2022 at 21:33

2 Answers 2


ID may have trouble with some live AI effects, especially when you have many effects combined into a single file.

Try to make a copy of the AI file in which 3D effects have been expanded, fonts converted to outlines and everything else you can do to remove the live aspect of your effects.

Try to link this new AI file into ID and hopefully that should work.


Adobe's applications are good, but not without bugs. When something unexpected happens it can be really hard to find the reason if you haven't stumbled across the issue before. You have to do some detective work and perhaps try things that seem illogical.

I'll give you a list of things I would try if I were you. I can't promise any of them will help solve the problem though. Some of them are a bit far-fetched. Just some ideas in random order.

  • Compare all settings of one of the objects that fails and one with similar effects that doesn't. For example the two "Trainer's Room" texts in the upper left with 3D effect applied. Are there any differences?

  • Try isolating the problem. Copy/paste one of the problematic objects to a new clean Illustrator document, save it and place it in InDesign to see if it still gives trouble. If it doesn't it might be a solution to copy everything to a new document.

  • Perhaps your Illustrator document has great unneeded complexity in terms of groups, clipping masks etc. See if there is anything you can simplify.

  • Could the fonts be causing problems? Try switching to some other font and see if it changes anything.

  • Sometimes the newest versions of Adobe's applications have bugs. Are you using the 2022 version of both Illustrator and InDesign? Try using the previous 2021 version and see if the problem persists.

  • When you save your Illustrator file, are you perhaps saving to some legacy format? Or could it be related to the Create PDF Compatible File option?

  • In InDesign, have you altered the Object Layer Options? I've had problems with that. Try setting When Updating Link to Use PDF's Layer Visibility and update the link.

  • Perhaps it's just a preview bug in InDesign. What happens if you export a PDF? Do the graphics look as expected in the PDF?

If all else fails, you can always do as @Lucian suggests and expand everything in a duplicate file. You probably should do that no matter what.

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