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Place vs. REplace with Multi-item Place in InDesign CS3

One of the coolest features in InDesign CS3 is the ability to place more than one object at a time. For example, if you
select four images and three text files in Bridge or in the Finder (or Windows Explorer) and drag and drop them into InDesign, the Place cursor gets “loaded up” with all those files, plus a little “7” that shows that it’s ready to place all seven files. You can then click on an empty frame (or an empty place on the page to create a frame) to place each one. You can also Command/Ctrl-Shift-click to place all of the files at the same time (creating a new frame for each one). (As Sandee pointed out earlier this year, you can also add more files to the cursor.)

But what if you want to replace one image on your page with another? I was reminded of a fun hidden trick to do this by Craig Swanson at CreativeTechs here in the Seattle area. (I first met Craig when we were both fresh faced and overly eager around 1990. How strange that time has passed so quickly. It’s great to see that he’s still sharing great tips with everyone. You should definitely add his feed to your weekly reading.) The trick is to hold down the Option/Alt key while the Place cursor is loaded. When you put that cursor over a frame with an image in it, you’ll see the cursor change a little bit (to rounded parentheses instead of sharp corner); that’s the “replace” cursor.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for text files or text frames. Oh well.

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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4 Comments on “Place vs. REplace with Multi-item Place in InDesign CS3

  1. Yes, the Alt/Option key is a must when replacing graphics in anchored graphics frames. Now if only there was a key trick to cause it to repeated place the same graphic! That would certainly complete the graphic placement gun universe.

  2. I think the multi-item place is great but when it comes to loading the cursor with multiple text files, is there a away to place them all in one flowing text box?

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