I am having trouble exporting PNGs from Adobe Indesign. The problem is they become very pixelated once they have been exported to PNG. However, when I export to JPEG, there is no pixelation, they look perfect! Has anyone else had this problem?

I need to export them as PNGs because some pages have transparency effects, which JPEG doesn't support.

Is this a bug in Adobe InDesign CS6? Is it a configuration option that I can change?

Below I have provided sample screenshots of the JPEG and PNG files, along with the export settings I used.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


EDIT: I reproduced the problem with a brand new project. I have zipped the project files and uploaded them here. As you can see, the same problem with PNGs exists:

airplane screenshot

If anyone is able to generate a non-pixelated PNG from this sample InDesign project, please let me know how you did it.

  • I'm unable to reproduce the issue using just the "high" setting and your sample project -- Sample image -- quality looks pretty much the same.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 16:29
  • Using "Maximum" setting rather the "high" results in a decent PNG for me.... Sample Image
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 16:39
  • Scott, would you mind sharing your exported PNG? If you zoom in on the text printed on the side of the airplane, is it readable on the exported PNG? Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 16:45
  • See the link above (in my second comment).. that's the "maximum" png. It's not wonderful, but it's not nearly as bad as you're seeing.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 16:46
  • Thank you. That PNG is rendered at 72ppi. I would agree that it looks decent, but only because it has been downscaled. When you render it at 300ppi, and zoom in, do you still see the pixelation? That is the problem I am trying to solve. Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 16:51

4 Answers 4


Coming to this a little late, but I found the problem to be replicable on all machines I have running any version of InDesign from CS6 onwards. It occurs when a graphic containing an alpha channel ("transparency" in the case of PNG, or the existence of any layer other than "background" for PSD) is displayed in InDesign at a size other than 100% (the image, not the boundary) and/or at a DPI/PPI different to that of the document, and is exported either as a PNG or PDF. It seems it switches to a different resampling algorythm for high quality output, but messes up somewhere giving this awful jaggy nonsense.

To prevent issues, I take two different approaches. For images that require no transparency, such as a screenshots or photos, I just make sure the linked file is flattened. For bitmapped art that does require a transparency, I just command+C copy the figure in the "scale" box, edit the original in Photoshop, put all layers into a Smart Object, edit Image Size to increase/decrease by the percentage I just copied, and then if needed, edit Image Size again to rescale to 72ppi (assuming it's for web). Hit save, and InDesign updates the image in its place, so no further editing is required. Occasionally, it's a fraction of a percentage above or below 100%, so double check and set to 100% if necessary.

None of this should be necessary, and it's frankly disturbing that Adobe have let this go for several versions now.


I had the same problem exporting to a JPG. The only solution I found was this:

(1) export to a PDF

(2) open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat

(3) save as a JPG

(4) open in Irfanview and adjust the size a little if necessary (I was starting with 1400 px x 1400 px and needed that as the output. Step 3 gave me 1401 x 1401)

This is a pretty strange work-around but the only thing I could do to get what I needed. I don't know how much additional loss was introduced through this but the final image looks "ok".

Windows 7, Indesign CS 3.0.1

  • Hi Steven, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your answer. If you have any questions, please see the help center or ping one of us in the Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site!
    – Vincent
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 11:01

I'm unable to reproduce this difference after trying with a number of layouts that include transparency effects and various kinds of linked vector and raster images.

Three possible troubleshooting approaches:

  • If your document includes any linked EPS files, convert them to AI files and relink.

  • Export the document to IDML and create a fresh document from the IDML.

  • Trash InDesign's preference file by holding down Ctl, Alt and Shift while the program is starting.

  • Thank you for your response. I tried those 3 troubleshooting approaches to no avail. I even created a brand new project from scratch which exhibits the same behavior. I've edited the question with that information. Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 16:19

you could export as a high res PDF, and then change it into a png in Photoshop. it'd stay high quality and have the transparency.

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