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Another Way to Delete All the Images (but leave the frames)

A while back I wrote up a short blog post about a script that would let you delete all the images throughout your document — but leave the frames intact. A reader, Matt Byers, sent us an email recently with another solution.

This works only for the images on the current spread, but it’s clever and a good reminder of a rarely-used feature, so I wanted to pass it along:

…how to select multiple graphic frames and delete the content: I select the frames I want to delete the contents from (I still need the frames there, as I will be putting in new content), choose Object > Select > Content (or press Shift-Esc), and then press Delete.

Great idea! Love that Shift-Esc shortcut…

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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22 Comments on “Another Way to Delete All the Images (but leave the frames)

  1. Here’s yet another approach! You can also use the White Arrow (Direction Selection Tool) to select multiple images directly (without selecting their containing frames). The White Arrow directly selects the contents, whereas the Black Arrow (Selection Tool) selects the frames. Most people don’t realize they can use the White Arrow to select content across different frames. Just hold Shift to select more than one. You can then press Delete to remove just the contents, leaving the frames intact, or do other things like use your Arrow keys to nudge the content, etc.

    • I make a canvas 1118mm x 1050 mm in which I create 70 containers 154 x 104 mm with a .25m stroke. Within that I pace another image frame of 150 mm x100 which is centred and into which I pace images to be printed on an Epson 9900 printer. I delete the images by selecting the content and then have to hold te shift key down while I select the remaining 69 images Once all selected, I can then delete to get rid of a the images However I cannot see how to select all of the content automatically with the white arrow?

      • You can’t select all the content automatically with the white arrow tool — you would have to click 70 times. See the article above. Select all with the black arrow, choose Select > Content, and then delete. That’s much faster.

  2. As David said, if all you have is graphic frames, then you can do a select all or drag a selection over all the frames and do the Object > Select > Content like the article says. That’s awesome if all you have are easily selectable graphic frames.

    My comment about the White Arrow was more directed at layouts that have a mix of text and images, where selecting just the image frames isn’t as easy. Sorry if that was confusing.

  3. Thanks David and Dan I was hoping there was a way to sect the first image and then select the remain 69 without having to Cmd shift select the remainder individually before deleting their content.

    • @Roy: Well, you should be able to drag the Selection tool over them, like making a rectangle that surrounds them all. It would be better if the frames were all on the same layer; then you could option/alt-click on the layer (in the layers panel) and it would select all those objects at the same time.

  4. I tried that David, but all that happens is that I delete the inner, image, frame. I would love to find a faster method of deleting all the images but keeping that inner image frame, but only seem to come right by clicking twice in the inner frame, getting the brown image bounding box and the moving the cursor over the others and shift clicking to get their brown image boxes, and then deleting the all.

    • @Roy: Okay, one more time, from the article above: You select all of them with the Selection tool, then choose Object > Select > Content, and then hit Delete. Does that work for you?

    • I reckon your frames are grouped (like mine were). Select all as above and then choose OBJECT > UNGROUP first then choose OBJECT > SELECT > CONTENT

  5. Yes David, that works! However it seems no faster than clicking onto the image with the direct selection tool which shows up the image bounding box and doing likewise to all the other images and then deleting them without having to go Object, select, content.

    What I was hoping for was to discover a way in which I could select all the inside image containers by drawing around them in one swoop and then drilling down to the image via Object, select, container. But I suppose that is precluded by there being a second outer container with a stroke which allows a 2 mm white cutting edge to the image.

  6. David, earlier on you mentioned having the images on the same layer. Now I am wondering if I should create the outer cutting box with the stroke on one layer and then the inner image box with all the images on a second layer, if by then selecting only the second layer, I can drag over the image, effectively only choosing the inner box and the doing the object, select, content selection?

  7. Hi Roy

    why not just simply ‘lock’ the outer cutting box so you can ‘select all’ without selecting this then follow the ‘shift+esc’ option?

    • Thanks Mark,

      I will try that. Thinking though that I wil have to lock the two boxes as I only want to delete the content. I haven’t tried further for a while, but must solve this problem, or rather find a solution to make the work faster.

  8. Mark image frames + Shift-Esc + delete.

    Sooooo simple. So timesaving… instead of having to delete very image your your Indesign page / spread.

    Thx. Very useful.
    Probably a looooot of handy shortcuts out there we / I don’t know about.

    • I didn’t know that keystrokes. I’ve done Esc to change the selection from the content to the frame. Adding Shift to go from frame to content is awesome. Good one!

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