I am creating some large banners at my job, and using Illustrator to create specifically shaped clipping masks. The problem is, this file is getting way too large and slow. I am trying to figure out how to convert this to an InDesign document, but not coming up with very good methods to import the clipping mask / crop boxes over. I should have made this originally in InDesign, but didn't think Illustrator would run this slow (not on the best machine).

Any ideas?

enter image description here

  • Are they linked images? You can try wireframe mode, put portions of the document on individual layers and then hide some of them, set the raster effects lower while editing (though I have no idea if "raster effects" includes the display of photos...). If your camera is anything like the one I use, those 20 photos are 25MB each, which is about 500MB of data that needs to be recalculated/resampled every time you zoom or scroll (worst case).
    – Yorik
    Mar 23, 2016 at 18:53

5 Answers 5


Create low-res versions of the photos, but keep the same names. Once you send the file to print replace the images with the full sized files.

  • Just make sure to triple check if you've linked the right files at the end! Mar 24, 2016 at 12:14

reducing images sizes is one way.

  • Very true, might end up doing that unless someone has a more helpful method
    – Jace Inman
    Mar 23, 2016 at 17:26
  • You can link that whole illustrator graphic in Indesign. Create an Indesign document and link this graphic. Omit the Heading text from the file, because you'll reproduce it in Indesign.
    – user5248
    Mar 23, 2016 at 17:32
  • The problem with that, is that my Illustrator document isn't complete, and it's going painfully slow. It freezes nearly every time I do anything.
    – Jace Inman
    Mar 23, 2016 at 17:38
  • 1
    you can temporarily disable the images, also its possible to wirte a script to use lower res versions of images and then swap back.
    – joojaa
    Mar 23, 2016 at 18:17
  • You don't need to have it complete. You just need to link it, and then always go back to the illustrator file to make adjustments and have them be reflected in InDesign.
    – user5248
    Mar 23, 2016 at 18:18

You can easily send the cropping boxes over to InDesign. Empty them from their content, and copy-paste the actual shapes into InDesign, preferably at once. There they will be shapes, which you can select and then Place images into.


Just to expand on what others have suggested. What I would do is replace the linked images with low resolution copies.

The easiest way to do this is to have all your linked images in one folder. You can then batch process the images to produce low res versions with the same filenames in a separate folder. You can do this with Photoshop, a command line tool or some other program—use whatever is convenient and easiest for you.

All you need to do then is relink the images to the correct folder, depending on which you need—Use the low res folder while you are working then relink to the full resolution images before you output your print files.


Indesign is much better with linking external files. You could re-work the item in Indesign with photos linked as PSD or layered TIFF, and import your masks from AI to PS. You can either crop each image individually, or merge all photos and use a single combined mask pasted from AI to crop your composition.

In my experience Illustrator is always slow with external links and i would avoid this situation unless specifically required.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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