I'm trying to create a Clipping Mask a la Photoshop in InDesign, but I seem to hit a wall. I was trying to use a bw-png (actual file-gamut is rgb) with some transparency data as clipping mask using the punchout option under "effects".

Turning transparency down to 0% grouping it with the part I want to clip, and turning on Punch out. It Punches out the whole container giving no regards to its contents.

Is there a way to use the b-w image's data to punch out a mask ?

  • Are you trying to use the same linked image in multiple ways by masking portions in certain instances? There may be other, easier, ways to do that. If that is what you are trying to accomplish.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 16:19
  • I'm sure there's a way, if you add an example of what do you want to get i'll give you an InDesign solution.
    – user120647
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


This is a Photoshop-specific routine so why make things complicated? Do all you image processing in Photoshop, save as PSD and place this in InDesign as an external link.

  • thanks for the advice, i was trying to make it less complicated by keeping it editable in indesign. so indesign doesn't offer a way to use bw images as clipping masks ? seems like a pretty basic option to me... Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 14:54
  • I'm not sure but probably not possible. Ask anybody else and they will tell you the same, InDesign is not built for this. I never touch photo assets in InDesign and working with many, many PSD/JPG/TIF/AI/EPS/etc links via PS and AI.
    – Lucian
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 14:58
  • Like @Lucian said, ID is not made for this kind of work, in the same way that AI and PS are not made for page layout (In the latter, you CAN do it, it's just not advised). With your issue, the Pathfinder tools in ID are used for creating shapes, but not clipping masks. You'll have much better results doing it in PS and importing, like Lucian says.
    – DLev
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 15:49

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.