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Reverse the Effects of Paste Into with Select Content

Nina wrote:

I have grouped several objects together and then pasted them into a shape / frame. HELP! I do not seem to be able to release the objects from the frame.

Don’t panic, Nina. I know what you mean: After you use Paste Into, it seems like you cannot select those objects again (especially a group). But you can. You just need a trick or two. And you need to understand the difference between two terms: Content and Container. The Container is any frame that holds an image, another frame, or a group of frames. The Content is whatever is inside the frame.
Here are three ways to select Content (objects inside other objects):

  • After selecting the outer frame with the Selection tool, you can choose Object > Select > Content. That selects the group inside the frame.
  • You can also click the Select Content button selectcontent in the Control panel.
  • Another way is to Option/Alt-click on the contents with the Direct Selection tool. Each time you Option/Alt-click, you select more. Keep Option/Alt-clicking until you get the selection you want. For example, you can click on an image, then Option/alt-click to select its container, then Option/Alt-click to select the group that the graphic frame is part of, and so on.

Once you have the content selected that you want (in your case, the group), you can choose Edit > Cut, and then Edit > Paste to release it from its container.

By the way, I want to throw out one extra tip here, having to do with nested frames: How do you move a frame (or group) when it is nested inside another frame? After you select it, drag its center point! The center point always lets you move an object, even when its grouped or nested with other objects. That’s not immediately obvious, but it’s very helpful once you get the hang of it.

[Updated: Note that in CS5 and later you can double-click with the Selection Tool to select inside nested objects. More details are on this article.]

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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8 Comments on “Reverse the Effects of Paste Into with Select Content

  1. Thank you, Guido! You are correct. I was typing too fast and too early this morning. I updated the post above.

  2. Andrew, we don’t require people to include their URLs in their comments. It’s helpful if you want people to be able to refer back to you and your site, but it looks like Guido may have inserted “deleted” there. Better to just leave that field blank.

  3. Thanks David! So it is that simple. I wonder why Indesign doesn’t just have the same clipping mask and release option as Adobe Illustrator!

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