In today’s digital world, visual content plays a vital role in capturing the audience’s attention. Whether you’re designing a brochure, magazine, or website, having precise control over your images is essential. This is where the “clipping path” in Adobe InDesign comes into play. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the ins and outs of clipping paths in InDesign, helping you achieve professional and eye-catching designs.

What is a Clipping Path?

A Chair Before Clipping Path for Product Photo Service
A Chair Before Clipping Path
A Chair After Clipping Path for Product Photo Service
A Chair After Clipping Path

A clipping path is a vector-based outline that defines which parts of an image are visible and which are hidden or “clipped” when placed within a frame in InDesign. This technique is commonly used to isolate objects or subjects within an image, remove unwanted backgrounds, or create custom shapes.

Why Use Clipping Paths in InDesign?

  1. Precision: Clipping paths allow you to precisely define the edges of objects within an image, resulting in a clean and polished look.
  2. Customization: You can create unique shapes for your images, helping them fit seamlessly into your design.
  3. Removal of Backgrounds: Easily remove or replace backgrounds to make your subject stand out.
  4. Consistency: Maintain a consistent style and theme across your layout.

Creating Clipping Paths in InDesign

  1. Open Your Document – Begin by opening your InDesign document and placing the image you want to work with into your layout.
  2. Select the Image – Click on the image to select it.
  3. Clipping Path Options – Go to the “Object” menu, choose “Clipping Path,” and then select “Options.” Here, you can choose between various types of clipping paths, such as “Detect Edges” or “Photoshop Path.”
  4. Refining the Path – You can further refine the path by adjusting parameters like “Threshold” and “Tolerance.” Experiment with these settings to achieve the desired level of precision.
  5. Applying the Clipping Path – Once you’re satisfied with the path, click “OK” to apply it to the image.

Tips for Effective Clipping Paths

  1. Be Patient: Creating a precise clipping path may require some trial and error. Don’t rush the process.
  2. Use Pen Tool: For complex shapes, the Pen Tool offers the most control. Practice makes perfect!
  3. Experiment with Tolerance: Adjust the tolerance level to fine-tune the path and ensure accurate results.
  4. Save as EPS or TIFF: For printing, save your InDesign document with the clipping path as an EPS or TIFF file for the best quality.

Need Help With Clipping Path in InDesign?


Mastering clipping paths in InDesign opens up a world of creative possibilities for your design projects. With patience and practice, you’ll be able to create stunning visuals that stand out in print and digital media. So, dive in, experiment, and elevate your photo editing skills with the power of clipping paths in Adobe InDesign!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I create multiple clipping paths on a single image?

Yes, InDesign allows you to create multiple clipping paths on a single image. This is particularly useful when you need to isolate different parts of the same image.

Can I edit a clipping path after creating it?

Absolutely! You can always go back and edit a clipping path by selecting the image, going to “Object” > “Clipping Path” > “Options,” and making the necessary adjustments.

Are there any shortcuts for creating clipping paths in InDesign?

While there isn’t a direct shortcut for creating clipping paths, you can speed up the process by using keyboard shortcuts for zooming in and out, as well as switching between tools like the Pen Tool.

Is there a limit to the complexity of clipping paths I can create in InDesign?

In theory, there’s no limit to the complexity of clipping paths you can create. However, very intricate paths may require more time and precision.

Are there any alternative software options for creating clipping paths?

Yes, you can create clipping paths in Adobe Photoshop as well. However, InDesign is preferred for layout design as it seamlessly integrates with other Adobe Creative Cloud applications.

This page was last edited on 30 September 2023, at 9:00 pm