Drag-and-drop to create anchored objects in InDesign CS5.5

The words “easy” and “anchored objects” are rarely found in the same sentence. InDesign CS5.5 makes it possible. Anchored objects are common in EPUB/HTML workflows, and easy drag and drop of anchored frames has the potential to make life a lot simpler.

In InDesign CS5.5,  every selected frame (both text and graphic) shows a blue square near the top right corner.

Handle to drag objects to anchor them

Handle to drag objects to anchor them



  • Click the blue-square and drag it to the position in the story where you want the anchor it. The UI shows a bold “I” beam as you move the mouse through the text. Release to create the anchor.
Drop object at anchoring point

Drop object at anchoring point


  • Use the Shift key as a modifier to change the behavior to create an inline object. This action duplicates the cut and paste gesture you used in previous releases.
  • Use the Alt key as a modifier to open the Anchored Object Options dialog box.

InDesign CS5.5 also makes it easier for you to identify anchored objects. Anchored objects display an “Anchor” icon instead of the “blue square”.

Anchored object displays an "Anchor" icon

Anchored object displays an "Anchor" icon

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  1. #1 by Lori on July 13, 2011 - 3:00 am

    Alas, this seems to be an Adobe feature for the PC version only? I’m running the current InDesign CS5 for Mac and have to insert anchored objects the old way. (Cut and paste into text flow, apply object style, or use the menu drop downs.) Hopefully Mac users will get included soon!

    • #2 by Vikrant on July 13, 2011 - 11:27 am

      This is available in InDesign CS5.5, for both Windows and Mac.

  2. #3 by whitefox42 on March 16, 2012 - 2:23 am

    It doesn’t seem to be working for me either. I can get the little T next to the triangle but I can’t get it to do anything but disapear and my object is still falling through the layers to the bottom. I am at the end of finals week and if I can’t get this to work, I just might fail. Any pointers?

    • #4 by Vikrant on March 16, 2012 - 9:44 am

      Where are you trying to place the anchor? Normally you would anchor the frame to some text.
      Can you anchor the frame anyway and only this method is failing? Give it a try ->Copy/cut the frame; place your text cursor and the location you want to anchor; paste.

  3. #5 by Steve on March 20, 2012 - 9:23 pm

    I’m running InDesign 5.5, but no little blue boxes on my text and object frames! Is there a hide button that needs toggling?

    • #6 by robert on November 7, 2014 - 7:43 pm

      Hey Steve (and others)
      its so frustrating: i can’t find it at all!
      it just isn’t there.
      found the orange corner box but no blue box.
      is there an on and off switch in the preferences?

  4. #7 by Steve on March 20, 2012 - 9:28 pm

    Don’t worry. Found it. Thanks

    • #8 by mike on July 26, 2012 - 8:01 pm

      I don’t have little blue boxes either.

      Where are they?

  5. #9 by Jon on November 10, 2012 - 2:16 am

    It can be extremely frustrating finding the little box. This is because you can only see it when you have the “selection tool” chosen from the tool panel.

    A quick way to do this (on PC) is to hit “esc” and then “v”

    You should now see the little anchor box on the text/graphic frame.

  6. #10 by Brent Hauseman on May 30, 2013 - 1:21 am

    I have tried toggling the “Show Anchored Object Control” and tried the “esc – v” option and neither seems to show me the blue boxes. Any thoughts?

  7. #11 by Jan Bielecki on July 18, 2013 - 3:54 pm

    This works somewhat fine, but I’m having problems when setting images beyond, but also overlapping, text. When anchoring an image to the text using the “Inline or Above Line” setting, when alt+clicking the anchor icon, the image and text works fine together, as long as the image is inside the text frame. But when I want to place an image partly outside of it and use the “Custom” setting, one odd line of text will go underneath the image, even if it has text wrap on. What am I doing wrong?

  8. #12 by Lisa on November 25, 2013 - 9:26 pm

    I found a solution! It’s possible that the object that doesn’t have a blue box showing up has linked text in it. I cut the text and created a new, unlinked text frame and regrouped the object. Then the blue box showed up.

  9. #13 by TH on April 10, 2014 - 7:18 pm

    I also can’t find the blue square and dont see a way here to turn it on. I know this is an old thread but can anyone help me pls. I need to know this verrry urgently.

  10. #14 by Jason on June 17, 2014 - 6:16 am

    This is going to be helpful

  11. #15 by Lala on November 3, 2016 - 7:53 pm

    I love you. <3 You're a lifesaver. :)

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