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Checking for flipped images

Lately I’ve had a couple of people ask me if there is any way to automatically test documents for flipped images. Editors are often concerned about this, since a photograph used in an editorial fashion should not be flipped.

Unfortunately, InDesign’s Live Preflight feature cannot be configured to test for flipped images. So I’ve whipped up a script that does just that. The script will examine the active document, and if any flipped images are found, the script creates a report that lists the name of the images, the pages they are located on, and how the images are flipped (vertically or horizontally). You can download the script here.

Once I began scripting this solution, I ran into a bunch of interesting issues, such as:

  • InDesign allows you to flip either the frame containing the image, and/or the image within the frame. The script reports whether the “flip” has been applied to the image or the frame.
  • Should the image be reported if it has been flipped both horizontally and vertically? I chose not to report this, since this is the same result you would get if the image were rotated 180 degrees.
  • What about graphics that are inline, anchored, or in table cells? The script handles these cases properly.
  • What about graphics that have been pasted into InDesign, so they don’t appear in the links panel? The script will report if these have been flipped, except in the case of pasted graphics that are inline, anchored, or in table cells.

The script does not attempt to “fix” or unflip the images. I believe it is more useful to have a script that just alerts you to the occurrence of flipping, allowing you to fix the items as needed. If you prefer a script that fixes all flips automatically, see this discussion on the Adobe forums.

Keith Gilbert

Keith Gilbert

Keith Gilbert is a digital publishing consultant and educator, Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Community Professional, conference speaker, author, and contributing writer for various publications. His work has taken him throughout North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. During his 30 years as a consultant, his clients have included Adobe, Apple, Target, the United Nations, Best Buy, General Mills, Lands' End, and Medtronic. Follow him on Twitter @gilbertconsult and at
Keith Gilbert

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4 Comments on “Checking for flipped images

  1. Don’t forget – the script won’t check for images from that ‘helpful’ person who flipped the pic in Photoshop first!

  2. When I run the script on Mac Indeisgn CS6 8.0.1 it gives me a error (number 21, null is not an object).

    Am I the only one? Can I fix this?


  3. Thanks so much for this. I’ve been searching for something in Preflight profiles, and Find and Change but no luck so this has saved the day.

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