We've got a large indesign file that several people are dipping in and out of on several machines, to do this we've got the indd file and the /images folder that it references in a shared Dropbox folder.

This all works fine, BUT all the image links are broken, when i look at the paths for the links they are using the absolute paths so they are something like this


But on other peoples machines they A) have a different name so their path looks like this User/John.. or they dont have their Dropbox folder in their user root directory.

Seeing as the indd file also resides in the /lorem folder is there a way to get indesign to use relative paths to the images so instead of that long absolute string it would be something like /images/image.jpg

We are using indesign CC - v.2015.1

  • Is everyone on Mac, PC or a mixture of all?
    – user9447
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 16:37
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a two year old question you've come back to and are trying to seek an answer. 1) This type of question would be better suited on SuperUser as this is in regards to the path and someone may have a solution on had, like building a script 2) you have already answered and indicated your own answer is the accepted answer which will cause confusion. That said as this is old Ive closed and would suggest asking on superuser. since it cant be migrated.
    – user9447
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 16:56

5 Answers 5


Unfortunately no.

InDesign (and Illustrator) first look in the document folder. If the links aren't there, only absolute paths are used.

  • Thanks @scott, Is there a common workflow for working with Dropbox and InDesign ? I think what ill do in this instance is work with the indd file for the layout, but then export the final version from the users machine that the files are referenced from.
    – sam
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 20:54
  • Adobe recommends always working locally and never from a server. Copy files locally, work on then, copy files back to the server. There are far too many different server configurations for Adobe to test them all. Headache I know, but Adobe apps simply aren't designed to work with Dropbox or any server. If they work at all of of a server, it's sheer luck.
    – Scott
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 21:29

We have InDesign files that sometimes share graphics, so the proposed solution by Adobe for sharing files and folders -- putting the graphics directly in the same folder as the indd file -- would cause its own headaches.

Instead, using a variant of John's solution with drive x:, but in the OSX environment, we do the following:

  • share the folders that have the indd files in them (we use SpiderOak, but Dropbox would work equally well)
  • create a sparsebundle that will contain the linked image files. By mounting a sparseimage as a volume, the linked files will have the same path on different computers with different users
  • mount the sparsebundles at boot (by dragging into login items)
  • sync the files within the mounted sparsebundle volume (again, we user SpiderOak, but there are other alternatives)

With this setup, different users can manage the indd files without changing any links, and the linked images can be kept in a common, shared location.


Easiest solution is to put the INDD in Dropbox and run your whole project from there.

Alternatively, you should get everyone to move their Dropbox folder to the same location on their machines. Or you can try mapping a new drive letter to fake it:

On Bob's machine, the Dropbox folder is in c:/Dropbox. With c: mapped to X it is x:/Dropbox

On Fred's machine, the Dropbox folder is in c:/user/fred/Dropbox. map the fred folder to X, to get x:/Dropbox.

To map non-root folders, you may need to download Visual Subst, which lets you attach drive letters to folders. (Download at your own risk - I think it is safe, but don't want any blame if you find a virus buried in there!)

I haven't tried this myself in InDesign, but I have ran Xampp local web servers using this method of mapping Dropbox folders.

  • Unfortunatly this wont work for us as we are on OSX where the file system tree is as follows : /Users/name/Dropbox/.. where name is changes depending upon the user
    – sam
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 15:46

Ive setup both computers to now run InDesign CC and even though when you check the paths in the link panel it shows the being local to each machine ie. User/Sam/Dropbox/.. it somehow seems to find the files, im not sure if it does this as it knows its in Dropbox or if it works the absolute path backwards so when it finds the Dropbox part it knows where it is, but either way this now seems to work in InDesign CC.

  • Ive just double checked if this is still the case, and it seems that it isnt.. not sure why it was working when i wrote the above answer
    – sam
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 15:44

Sorry for barging in like this [especially since I don't know InDesign that well] but InDesign looks like it's sharing the same principle as Illustrator, so, why don't you create a Homegroup like setup and instead of working on Dropbox, create a shared work folder and all of the other users access the file directly from your computer.

This way you avoid getting broken links.

Best of luck!

Update from comments:

Think of it this way, Dropbox has the ability to sync files between the server and your computer, creating a Dropbox folder on your computer, right? Well, you share that same folder with the others. This way, all others are working on Dropbox through your computer.

enter image description here

  • When you say homegroup do you mean like a shared folder local to one computer that all other computers can access ? Either way wouldnt work for us unfortunalty as everything for our entire project (much for that just the indesign and images files) is all in dropbox
    – sam
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 15:47
  • @sam Yes, that's what I mean. Think of it this way, Dropbox has the ability to sync files between the server and your computer, creating a Dropbox folder on your computer, right? Well, you share that same folder with the others. This way, all others are working on Dropbox through your computer.
    – Alin
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 15:53

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