If I drag an image from Finder into an InDesign image – without activating InDesign – it scales the image to the same size as the previous image.

If I do the same but with activating InDesign I have to hold the Option/alt key – and the result is that the image is scaled to 100%.

The clickthrough method works fine for individual images – but for multiple images it's a hassle.

Is there a better way to do this?

  • How exactly do you want to place them? Specific positions across multiple pages? – Joonas Nov 12 '15 at 16:44
  • Clarify: you want them to be 100% as in (2), but to have the convenience of (1)? Are you dragging multiple files from random levels of the directory tree, or are the multiples in a single directory? – Yorik Nov 12 '15 at 18:53
  • They are all in a single directory. I want them to be the same size (percentage wise) as the image they are replacing. They new and the old images are all the same size pixel wise. – user66613 Nov 13 '15 at 17:13

This was an odd one. Never bumped into this thing before. Seems like a bug to me.

It doesn't matter if Indesign window is active of not. It's actually about some weird thing with the alt click replace method.

There are 4 different ways to replace images ( if you don't count scripting ):

  1. Drag and drop 1 file from Finder to Indesign image
  2. Select 1 image in Indesign and File > Place... Cmd + D 1 image file and check: Replace Selected Item.
  3. In the Window > Links panel: Right-click + Relink...`

These three function exactly the same. They retain the scaling and you can only use them with one image at a time.

  1. Load one or more items to the place cursor and press Alt when clicking. This replaces the I'mage, but for what ever reason, it will get rid of the scale transformation.

I'm pretty sure this is a bug. I can't think of a reason why this would act differently.

Image example, where I'm replacing multiple images with the alt click method:

Note that I'm replacing them with the same images, so that it's more apparent that the size changes.

I created this grid of images by irst making 4 graphic frames and then I placed the images with place cursor by clicking on each frame and finally I manually resized each image. I did it like that, because this way the alt click method starts working differently, compared to the three other methods.

enter image description here

I did some testing...

Turns out that if you place the original image ( the image you want to replace ) by clicking and dragging, the alt click method will retain scaling. It makes sense, because when you place image like that, the Graphic frame automatically gets frame fitting: Fit proportionally.

As it turns out, if you select the graphic frame and turn ON auto-fit ...or even turn it ON and then turn it OFF, this makes the alt click method work as expected.

I ended up making this script that will go through every single image, and if the image gaphic frame doesn't have auto-fit ON, it will turn it ON and then immediately back OFF.

It will not ignore locked layers.

var doc = app.activeDocument;
var graphics = doc.allGraphics;

for ( var i=0; i < graphics.length; i++ ) {

     var graphicFrame = graphics[i].parent;

     if ( !graphicFrame.frameFittingOptions.autoFit ) {
         graphicFrame.frameFittingOptions.autoFit = true;
         graphicFrame.frameFittingOptions.autoFit = false;


alert( 'Done.' );

Image example, where I'm again, using the alt click method, but this time after running the script:

Note that I'm replacing them with the same images, so that it's more apparent that they don't change size.

enter image description here

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