What is the best way to use images with halftone patterns in Indesign?

I'm working on a book in which all the images will have an halftone effect.

I'm applying the halftone filter in Photoshop but, when I resize the pictures in Indesign, I'm afraid that the halftone pattern will not scale up.

What can I do?

What is the best way to manage halftones in Indesign?

Or, can I apply the filter to all of the images in the book at the same time?

  • To be frank, you should never be "scaling images up" within InDesign. Place images at 100% always for best results.
    – Scott
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 0:26
  • Are you referring to an exaggerated halftone effect? Because, in general most all images are printed with actual halftones.
    – DA01
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 0:31

2 Answers 2


You are correct: scaling a halftone pattern can introduce moire and other scaling issues.

One way to do this is to place the images For Position Only and then, once you determine the final size, note the percentage scale and then edit the image size in Photoshop and then apply the halftone pattern. You would then update the link and reset the image scale to 100% in inDesign.

Sounds like a lot, but this is the way it was done, more or less, when random separations were submitted back in the stone age.

A second way to conceive of it is to place a screen of white with transparent dots (aka the paper color) as an overlay over each image.

  • the first option seems impossible, I have a 600 images book to do. I will try the transparent dots
    – Alekoner
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 21:09
  • the secondo option doesn't seem to produce an halftone pattern
    – Alekoner
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 21:16
  • re: Horatio's suggestion for 'faking it': Make sure the Dots are transparent (the rest white).
    – DA01
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 0:38
  • 1
    @AleGummy: I am confused: you say option 1 is impossible, but the accepted answer is exactly what I suggested without the most important step. If you set images at random percentages and then halftone them, how is this different than halftoning and then resizing? It isn't. You need to halftone the image at 100% size and place at 100% size to ensure that all the halftones have a uniform dot size and also ensure none of them have moire and scaled-halftone issues.
    – horatio
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 14:40

You need to give us more information:

  • Is the halftone effect exaggerated or is it regular halftone (I am not sure there is any publication that needs 600 images with halftone effect)
  • If you really need all 600 images with the effect like in the picture below then should the dots be the same on all images?

I would it do like this:

  1. Set all images to InDesign as you would like, WITHOUT halftone effect
  2. Make an Action Script in Photoshop that would make halftone effect
  3. In InDesign select all the links and update them

Type of halftone effect

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