For those who are not aware, InDesign is a desktop publishing software application for creating flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, and books. It is one of the most productive software that allows you to share your projects both in digital and print formats. This software is vastly used by top graphic designers, artists, publishers, and marketing professionals. The new users may require some time in learning the complete software. In this article, you will get to learn how to open PDF files in InDesign.

Opening PDFs in InDesign:

Importing PDF files into your InDesign documents enables you to build on existing documents or graphics. The software also allows you advanced options like how to display PDF files you place in your document. There is no direct way to edit the PDF document in InDesign as the developers do not allow this but you can import a PDF page into your document using the “Place” command. The entire document, including text and images, with the original formatting and layout, will be placed on a blank sheet in InDesign. Here is a step-by-step guide for your ease.

Resize Your Document:

The first step you need to take is to resize your InDesign document so it can match the dimension of the PDF files and enabling it to fit on the page. Click on the option Page Size on the dialog and then adjust it accordingly.

Place a PDF File:

Almost every file you import on InDesign appears as a graphic. You can import and manipulate the PDF file to InDesign like you can usually do with a picture, but the software doesn’t allow you to edit the PDF. Hit the option File on the dialog box followed by clicking the option Place. Now choose the PDF file you want to import. Once completed, the PDF file would appear as a graphic and you can manipulate it anywhere on the page. Click and drag to move the graphic to fit within the frame of your page.

Export to a PDF File:

InDesign supports PDF format and lets you export image files as PDFs as well. To do that for redistribution purposes, click on the option File followed by Export… then Select Adobe PDF (Print) from the Save as Type drop-down and then finally clicking the option Save. The general pane on the software presents you with options such as specify pages, layers and interactive elements to export.

For instance, if you checkmark the hyperlinks box then you will be able to incorporate clickable links in your PDF file. You will be able to specify the quality pre-set using Adobe’ pre-set and selecting High-Quality Print which will create a large file with supreme quality. The final step is to hit the option Export to finish the exporting process.

Other Tips Using InDesign for PDFs:

InDesign is a software specifically designed for the images files. So, if you are thinking to import large PDF large files then you should be prepared to be patient. Importing or exporting large documents can take some time depending on their compression settings and your PC’s processing speed. However, what you can do is to either extract images or different pages and add them one by one in InDesign or use a Mac/PC that is not too old.

If you want to edit the PDFs in the InDesign then you can use third-party tools such as PDF2ID and PDF2DTP to your advantage. These tools are quite helpful for editing PDFs within InDesign, but it all depends on how much and what type of editing do you want.

InDesign preserves every color in a placed PDF, even if the original color library is not installed. The software also preserves color traps, so that your overlapping colors maintain a visual edge.


Reading this article may have given you a feeling that InDesign involves too many complications when it comes to PDFs. It is true to some extent, but once you learn the software, you will be able to edit PDF texts, images, links, and other elements as your needs. You will also be able to mark-up PDF, fill forms/change forms in the PDFs, and batch convert PDF to Word, Excel, and EPUB at a high speed. So, InDesign is worth investing if your work involves too much PDF files.