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Tip of the Week: Pasting Photoshop Vector Paths into InDesign

This InDesign tip on pasting Photoshop vector paths in InDesign was sent to Tip of the Week email subscribers on December 8, 2016.

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Photoshop has a big set of vector shapes that you can use as frames in InDesign to make interesting layout effects. To access them in Photoshop, choose the Custom Shapes Tool in the toolbar (grouped with the rectangle, ellipse, polygon, etc.). When you select the Custom Shapes tool, the menu of available shapes will appear in the Options bar.

InDesign tip Photoshop custom shapes

In order to use those vector shapes in InDesign, you have to take an extra step. You can’t copy and paste them directly from Photoshop, or you’ll see this:

InDesign paste Photoshop vectors error

The trick is to select the shapes using the Path Selection Tool in Photoshop.

select Photoshop path

Then paste into Illustrator.

The path will come in with no stroke or fill. In order to paste it into InDesign, you must give it some formatting before copying it. The quickest way to do this is to press the D key, which will apply default formatting of a 1pt black stroke and a white fill.

paste Photoshop path into Illustrator

Then copy, switch to InDesign, and paste. You’ll get a fully editable vector shape with the same stroke and fill that was used in Illustrator.

paste Illustrator path into InDesign

Then you can place an image or text into the frame, resize it, apply formatting and effects, etc.

Photoshop custom shape used as InDesign frame

Mike Rankin

Mike Rankin

Editor in Chief of, InDesign Magazine, and Author of courses on InDesign and Illustrator. Husband. Dad. Dog walker.
Mike Rankin

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