Is it better to save AI pages as pdf and then export them as jpg files for input into master indesign document? (Lots of photos, minimal text)

  • 1
    Welcome to the Graphic Design StackExchange! What exactly are you trying to do? Is there a reason you're using Illustrator instead of InDesign for your page layout? If you could provide more context behind your question we can provide better answers. Also see graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/help for tips on how to make the most of the Graphic Design StackExchange.
    – bemdesign
    Jan 9, 2015 at 2:47
  • I have been laying out a rather large book, approx 250 pages. It's an annual project and I have been learning as I go along over the past couple of years. I use AI to build the pages and collect the elements (photos, art, text, etc.) then save the AI file, save as a pdf and then once all the changes have been made export as jpg and place into InDesign. There are some layers added in InDesign. The reason for all the steps has been to eliminate artifacts etc in the digital print run. MY question is for the best quality it it better to upload jpg, PDF or just AI files into InDesign? Thanks.
    – Bob
    Jan 9, 2015 at 11:57

5 Answers 5


Just save Illustrator files as .ai and place the .ai files into InDesign. No need for other formats.


Scott's correct, in that there is no need to convert the .ai files to any other format before placing in InDesign, but I would highly recommend foregoing Illustrator completely and building your image-heavy pages directly in the .indd.

Assembly and simple compositing of the kind you can do in Illustrator are much faster (on the order of two to three times faster) and simpler in Id, especially when you have a lot of cropping to do, you need to fit images within odd-shaped frames, or you find yourself tweaking the position or size of images within their frames. Not only do you get your page layouts done faster, you also eliminate the extra step of placing already-composed pages in InDesign.


I agree with both previous responses and would add that it's always best to decide upon the appropriate application for the type of job you're doing - in this case, that would be Indesign as it is specifically a layout tool. Thus it's best configured to do all the things you want to do to unite the various elements - text and images - into your 250-page publication. While Illustrator has the same elements of this functionality built into it, page layout is not its core purpose - it is better suited to creating vector-based illustrations, logos and graphic elements for use WITHIN layouts. I have a very simple rule for all my work - Photoshop for photos, Illustrator for illustrations, Indesign for layout.

Best of luck with your work :-)


Or use .pdf - it allows you to control the vector/pixel ratio and compression.


I've just been facing this problem, for placing webpages comps into an Indesign presentation. After multiple tests (JPF high quality, PNG, PDF) playing with settings, matching the target size I need etc, I feel placing the AI file in inDesign then using the option "Object Layer Option" to select the layers you want works the best.

Hope this helps.

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.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.