Buried Treasure: Creating Quick Contact Sheets

[This article refers to InDesign CS4. In InDesign CS5, you can create grids while placing files, while drawing frames and shapes, and while duplicating objects.]

In the Creating contact sheets help topic, I mention how to place multiple graphics into a grid. It’s a pretty neat trick, especially if you use the modifier keys to change the number of rows and columns as well as the spacing between the images.

You can also create a simple contact sheet in InDesign by placing multiple images in a grid.

1. Choose File > Place, select multiple images, and choose Open.

2. Hold down Ctrl+Shift (Windows) or Command+Shift (Mac OS) and click or drag.

3. While still dragging, release the other modifier keys and press the arrow keys to determine the number of rows and columns. Use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to change the number of rows and the Left and Right arrow keys to change the number of columns. To change the spacing between frames, use the Page Up and Page Down keys or hold down Shift while pressing the arrow keys.

4. Release the mouse button to place the grid of images.


Even though the images may have different sizes, the frames in the grid are the same size. Use the Object > Fitting commands to fit the images within the frame. If images need to be moved within the frame, use the Direct Selection tool to select and move the image.

6 Responses to Buried Treasure: Creating Quick Contact Sheets

  1. Santiago says:

    I believe this is a unique feature os CS4. This does not work in CS3.

  2. C. Posey says:

    I assume this is for newer versions of ID? Not working in CS2

  3. Jimbo says:

    How about the photo names under the photos? Or are you stuck with photos with no names?

  4. In CS4, there is no automated way to add photo names under the photos using the grid-place method. Let’s hope for better caption support in future versions of InDesign.

  5. Andrew Maney says:

    Adding captions for CS3 or CS4 is really easy.

    After you finish placing all your images. Open the ‘Automation – scripts’ window.

    Then open Application/Samples then either Applescript or Javascript folder.

    You scroll down and click on ‘labelGraphics.applescript’ and you get a little window, where you can select your preset paragraph style and some other options.

    Happy labeling.

  6. lucy says:

    in cs6: could not find the automation- scripts window, captions can be managed under objects> captions> caption setup….

    then ‘Generate Static Caption’ in same menu

    this was i was able to get file name and any metadata info under pics

    also, space between grid cells is controlled with command + arrow keys.

    not too hard