File Names and Multi-Place

Mutiple Place is a great feature that arrived in InDesign CS3. It enables you to import multiple files at one time, loading them all into your Place cursor, and enabling you to move through all the loaded files with the arrow keys in order to select the next file to be placed.

One feature request I often get from users is for InDesign to display the name of the incoming file, not just a thumbnail of the file content.

Suppose you’re laying out an ad with a bunch of product photos–like tires, for example. A thumbnail image isn’t likely to tell you which tire is which if you’re not a veteran of the tire trade who’s able to determine model numbers from looking tread patterns. Being able to view an image’s file name, rather than the thumbnail could be very useful in those situations.

The good news is that there’s a way to do exactly that in InDesign CS3. The trick is to have your Links Panel open when you place the files.


When you load your Place cursor with one or more files, the file names instantly appear at the top of list of links in your Links Panel (if you’re scrolled to the bottom of a long list of links, you’d need to manually scroll back up to the top of the list to see these items).

The item currently visible in the cursor is indicated by the letters LP where the page number would for a linked file that’s already been placed. As you navigate through the files loaded in the Place cursor with your arrow keys, the LP indicator moves to the appropriate file in the list of links. This tells you the name of the file you’re about to place, or lets you know you need to keep looking for the file that you need next.