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A Script to Show Options for Placed Files


When you use File > Place you are given a dialog box with a choice to Show Import Options.


Tip: Hold down Shift when opening a file and Import Options automatically opens without having to select it.

Import Options allow you do control certain aspects of the placed file, including cropping, visible layers, image proxies, color profiles, clipping paths, and for multi-page files like AI, INDD, and PDF, which page(s) to place.

For an EPS, the dialog box looks like this:


For an InDesign file it looks like this and it’s pretty similar for a PDF/AI.


You have General options to choose pages and cropping, and Layer options to control…well, layers.

Where it fails

After you place a file, (or if you’re like me and love to drag and drop files), you do not get access to Show Options.

For a file that has already been placed, the only way you can get the options dialog box back is by repeating the whole placing process, (i.e. choosing File > Place, navigating to the file, and placing it using Show Options, or holding down Shift).

But let’s face it, this is a real pain. There has to be a better way to do this than navigating all over your hard drive, server, or even worse, someone else’s filing system to re-place a file using different options. And in fact, there is…

A script to the rescue

I stumbled on a cool script, written by John Hawkinson at the Adobe InDesign Forums in this thread. The script is just two lines long, but it does the trick. According to John, the script “assumes a frame (rectangle) is currently selected, and re-places the file associated with it, while showing the options dialog box.”

And sure enough it works beautifully.

Select your placed file in the layout.


Run the script.


You are then presented with the dialog box again. So you can select a different page, different layers, etc.



Just note that if you cancel without re-placing the file you’ll get a harmless “error” that you can just dismiss.


You can download the script here. And if you need help installing scripts, check out this post.

If you only need the ability to reset options for placed PDF and AI files, check out the free PDFOptions Editor script by Jean-Renaud Boulay.

Thanks John (and Jean-Renaud), for giving us a much faster and better way to get that Show Options dialog box back!

Eugene Tyson

Eugene Tyson

Senior Graphic Designer
Eugene Tyson has over 17 years’ experience in the graphic design and print industry. Currently a senior graphic designer and prepress operator, he delivers InDesign training and also works as a consultant for various companies and individuals within Ireland. You can reach him via his dedicated Google+ community for InDesign users in Ireland. You can also follow him on twitter @Euge_Tyson
Eugene Tyson

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19 Comments on “A Script to Show Options for Placed Files

  1. I’d like to say that this is something that has frustrated me for years, and I think Adobe should have included this option a long time ago. It’s a cool script and a massive time saver for me.

    Thanks to John Hawkinson for writing/posting it and I’m glad I found it.

  2. Haven’t tried it but it looks very helpful! Especially with PDFs, say of an ad, for instance, where you might want to include bleeds or crops or just the trim, after you have placed it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Have to say that if there’s one thing I took away from PEPCON 2015, it was the shift-trick… haven’t stopped using that yet!

    I remember “back in the day” there was a script by LuxLucid that would do this called “showpdfoptions.jsx, but then at CS5 (from memory) it stopped working. It did exactly the same thing as the script highlighted by Eugene, but had error correction (e.g. the script wouldn’t run if nothing was selected, and could be quit without the javascript error dialog).

    An individual named Vladislav Ossipov did rework the script though and it can be found here:
    Tested in CC 2015 on a Mac 10.9.5

  4. Thanks for posting that, Colin! Very helpful!

    There’s plenty of people who write similar scripts, shows a necessity for that function if it’s requested and written over and over again!!!

  5. The RePlace script was working beautifully for me for the last few weeks. Suddenly, yesterday, it yields an error. I would appreciate any clues to fix. I’m not a scripter. Yet.

    Error Number:55
    Error String: Object does not support the property or method ‘graphics’

    Engine: main
    Source: place(g.itemLink.filePath, true);

  6. No idea! Try posting over on the forums though – if there’s an answer I’ll try to add it here! Thanks for bringing it up!

    • I was being stoopid. The graphics that I was attempting to change with the script were grouped with their dynamic captions. I had not selected JUST the graphic.

      I either need more sleep, or more coffee.

      • Hi, I cant get it to work, does anyone have the script file they could send me or point me to a download as its not working for some reason when i create the script from the above link. Thanks loads.

    • Hmmmm…strange. So if you right-click on the link and say “download linked file as…” it doesn’t appear as a .jsx file? Or does the download work but not the script itself? I could email it to you if it’s just that the download isn’t working for you.

    • Mac is adding .txt to the file for me when I right click and “download linked file as…”. I had to remove .txt then it worked.

  7. @Does not work anymore for me (since Indesign 13.1)

    My bad – still works. The problem was that I worked remotely on a mac mini and “g.itemLink.filePath” always seemed to prefix it with my harddisk – even when located somewhere else.

    the ugly code below fixed my issue:

    try { var g; (g=app.selection[0].graphics[0]).place(g.itemLink.filePath, true); }
    catch(err) { var g; (g=app.selection[0].graphics[0]).place(g.itemLink.filePath.replace(“Macintosh HD:Users:”,””), true); }

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