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Turning Off the Frame Edge Highlights in CS5

Sandra asked:

Is there a way to turn of the frrame edges that show when you roll over objects with your mouse in InDesign CS5? They show in Normal and Preview mode.

Um… no. Sorry.

If you haven’t experienced this yet, what Sandra is referring to is a feature, not a bug. Here’s what Adobe’s help system says about it:

“InDesign now temporarily draws the frame edges as you use the Selection tool to hover over items on a page. This method makes it easier to find the item you want before you select it. The color of the frame edge drawn matches the color of the layer the object is on. Groups are drawn with a dashed line. This feedback is especially helpful when working in Preview Mode or with Hide Frame Edges selected”


“When you hover over a page item with the Direct Selection tool, InDesign displays the path and display the path points. This feedback makes it easier to view the path point you want to manipulate. You no longer have to select the object with the Direct Selection tool and then select the path point. You can simply drag the point you want.”

In most cases, I find that I like this feature a lot. It really does make it easier to find objects when in Preview mode. However, sometimes I do find myself thinking of that old cartoon of the “little old lady” batting the boy scout over the head saying, “I don’t want your help! Stop helping me!”

One option is to use the Presentation mode (Shift-W) instead of Preview mode. If you’re trying to see what a page will look like (and you’re not trying to edit the page), Presentation mode is a wonderful way to do it. And… no object highlighting!

[Editor’s note: This problem has been “fixed” in InDesign CS5.5: You can now turn off the Highlight Selection Under Selection Tool checkbox in the Interface pane of the Preferences dialog box.]

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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  • - November 30, -0001
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91 Comments on “Turning Off the Frame Edge Highlights in CS5

  1. This just showed up in the InDesign Magazine tip of the week, written by Mike Rankin… clever!
    “Spring-Loaded Tools to the Rescue
    InDesign tries very hard to help you align objects when you drag by snapping them Do you dislike the Frame Edge Highlighting that appears when you mouse over frames in CS5? Spring-loaded tools can help. Frame edge highlighting only appears when you use one of the selection tools. With spring-loaded tools, you can press and hold single keys to temporarily switch to any other tool. As long as you hold the key for more than a second, you’ll switch back to your previous tool when you release the key. You have plenty of choices (t, \, p, f, m, n, c, e, g, z, etc). Holding the spacebar also prevents the highlighting from appearing, and it’s a nice big place for your fingers to rest. Heck, you don’t even have to pay much attention to where you press–just rest your hand in the middle of the keyboard and lift it up when you want to select something. But don’t hold v or a, which are the shortcuts for the selection tools.”

  2. David-

    Thanks for mentioning the tip. I should also mention that you probably don’t want to rest your hand on j, unless you want to induce a seizure, (especially if you have panels like swatches, color, and effects open) as you flip back and forth between container and text attributes several times per second. Whee! :)

  3. Really, REALLY hate this too! Not so much the multiple flashing frame edges (glad I’m not epileptic) but the cursor delay/freeze when there’s lots of items to pass over. And is it just my PC or is the delay dependant on the size of the object being hovered over? Bigger the box the longer the cursor freeze? It’s a real pain when trying to work quickly and a disaster that I can’t simply turn it off. Moan, whinge, grumble etc.

  4. aaaaaaaaagggghhhh

    This feature of Highlighted Frame Edges must surely be designed for grandma and young kid novices because it is very annoying and unhelpful for the experienced user. OK. I understand why the Adobe boffins want to make CS5 idiot-proof and very user friendly, but why in heavens name can you not elect to switch this feature off. It is the most frustrating feature ever since I starting using the very first version of an otherwise brilliant program many years ago. Please give a SWITCH OFF option next update, PLEASE ADOBE just do-it.

  5. Same comment applies to that silly big and ugly GREY CIRCLE that keeps appearing in the centre of image boxes. Who thought of that unhelpful feature. If Adobe insist on keeping this feature – then can we have the option to at least change the color and keep it very faint. Same applies to the color of Highlighted Frame Edges.

  6. @ Andy, you can fix one of your gripes, just go View > Extras > Hide Content Grabber! Otherwise known as the doughnut :)

  7. Glad Im not the only one who got annoyed with this feature. I am still using CS3, because when I tried CS5, it bugged me so much I could’nt stand working with it. CS3 work perfect for me, if they add a new feature, they should also add disable for that feature for people like me who are not always happy with the “new present”

  8. Adobe, why, why, why inflict this on us with no option of turning it off? Please, please, please Adobe, listen to professional designers before you mess with our software and workflow. Guess if we cannot stand working with it, it will be back to CS4 for our studio. Will Adobe refund the cost of the upgrade though if we abandon using it? hmmm…yeah, I thought not….

  9. Dear Adobe, please for Patch 7.0.4 put a toggle into “Menu > Views > Extras” or into “Settings > Userinterface”. Thanks.

  10. So glad I am not the only professional designer who finds this feature absolutely RIDICULOUS!! I can not believe Adobe would implement something so obnoxious that has no disable feature. I would like to see them sit behind a screen for 10+ hours a day starring at these obnoxious highlights all over their screen! It really does make you so irritated and definitely hinders work flow. Highlighting layers so you can find them easier…. novel idea for a kindergartner maybe. I am the one who put the layers there in the first place, I do not need help finding them! I want CS3 back.

  11. I agree with most below. For a professional designer this “kindergarten” approach is not only cumbersome, it is insulting. I’m getting eye-strain…Adobe, please listen!

  12. This feature takes a GIANT toll on both my creativity and productivity. A constant flow of unneeded and unwelcome information/distraction to my brain that I neither want nor need. HATE IT, HATE IT, HATE IT. PLEASE let those of us who don’t want it be rid of it.

  13. This is a ridiculous feature. Why do they keep trying to force stuff on designers. We like the tool upgrades and neat options, but stop messing with how we view our design work! CS5 is full of ’em.

  14. I’m adding to the hate of this addition as well. It is seriously distracting. Those of us that have been working with InDesign for a long time have developed systems that work nicely, keep ourselves organized and do not effect our creativity. We are, after all, information designers. If we can’t keep ourselves organized, how can we expect to keep our clients organized?

    There, that made me feel better. Now please get on that patch.

  15. This featured freaked me out when I first upgraded and immediately searched for a way to turn it off. Now several months later, I’d like to say I’ve gotten used to it, but I still find it amazingly distracting and unnecessary. To me, it shows a profound lack of understanding of how designers are wired — which (to generalize) is to favor tools that are streamlined and functional, and to have the control to customize those tools. It’s frustrating that I can’t turn it off, and that I’ll probably have to wait for CS6, where I may or may not finally get the ability to remove a junky option I didn’t want in the first place. Come on, Adobe, treat us better than that.

  16. I lucked out because I purchased CS5 right before CS5.5 was released (I didn’t know it was even coming) and they give complimentary upgrades in this situation. I can’t wait to get the upgrade because this frame edge highlighting is incredibly annoying. I sincerely hope they make some updates to CS5 so that you can all turn off this “feature” and design in peace.

  17. Someone wanted to know why I hate it.

    Well, sometimes I bring in simplistic vector graphics using copy and paste. Not always ideal, but if I want to mess with the color and effects, it is a lot easier to do this in InDesign.

    Right now I have a tire tread, and ever part of the graphic highlights. It’s been driving me nuts! I don’t really care for the feature in general, but especially on graphics like that. Also it outlined in red because that happened to be the color of the layer. Completely irritating.

    Thanks for all the tips. I’m putting the tread on a separate layer and locking it; also changing the color. This will keep me from throwing my mouse at the screen.

  18. Hi all
    You CAN turn off this annoying feature in Preferences/Interface/Curser and Gesture Options/Highlight object under selection tool. This is in Indesign 5.5.
    I hope that you can do the same in Indesign 5.
    Hope this helps

  19. Thanks Jo!!!

    This was making me crazy like everyone else – so glad to have a solution. I hope everyone checks back here to save their sanity.

  20. Yes, you can hide the framed edge highlighting in CS5. In Preferences, then Interface ? uncheck “Highlight Object Under Selection Tool.

  21. I hate the cursor hover feature. I am almost ready to switch back to CS3 because of it. Is there no way to turn it off?

  22. Tab: No.

    Didn’t you read anything of the article — the first paragraph, for example –, nor of the 75 (count’em) comments above yours?

    There is no helping you and you might as well give up on InDesign altogether. There.

  23. I’ve been an InDesign user since the first edition and this is one of the most annoying “feature” ever. Thankfully, CS 5 is only on my co-workers workstation. I still use CS4.

    Keep stuff like this for the non-pro versions. We don’t need the hand holding.

  24. yes, fairly new to CS6….MANY annoying indesign features. I don’t want that brown frame edge that appears around object…be it a picture, an ad…etc….i will crop and enlarge much quicker without it…and often when i grab an ad to place it somewhere else in magazine, i don’t realize it has switched to that annoying brown resize, crop frame and i have to now carefully check all my moved ads to make sure i haven’t cropped off a 1/16th of the ad….IS THERE ANYWAY TO PERMANENTLY DISBABLE THIS FRAME FEATURE?

      • thank you for a quick reply…however, i turned the content grabber off a couple of weeks ago…like so many that have commented here…too many distracting, time-consuming info boxes popping up all the time, frames i don’t want…it is pretty bad when i think CS2 less intrusive into my workspace…spending way too much time hitting the escape key these days…

    • @Gail: Hm. Well, the only other way that you’d be selecting the image inside the frame is by double-clicking (instead of single clicking) with the black-arrow Selection tool, or by single-clicking with the white arrow Direct Selection tool. If you want to move the frame and its content, just single-click on the frame with the Selection tool.

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  26. This appears to have returned in the Creative Cloud version, with no way to hide or disable. It hurts my eyes. Why do they keep pushing this us on?

    • Emm: Not sure what you mean “no way to hide or disable.” Did you see the “Editors Note” at the bottom of the article above? That preference is still available in CC.

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