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Relink from One Image File Type to Another

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Eugene asked an excellent question in the comments to this old post:

Say if I do decide to change the .tif to .psd and I move the .tifs out to another folder, would it or would it not be a good idea if Indesign said, “Hey, those .tifs aren’t available, there’s a similar name with a .psd extension, would you like to use these instead?” Then you just press, yes use my .psd files.

Many folks had asked for this ability, and so Adobe delivered: InDesign CS4 has a feature called Relink to Folder. It’s an awesome command (it lives in the LInks panel menu) because it basically directs InDesign to some other folder on your computer (or server, or whatever), where your images may live. So you can relink a hundred images from one folder to another quickly.

But even cooler, you can tell InDesign whether to insist on the same file type or use a different one. Here’s the control in the Relink to Folder dialog box:

So, you select one or more images in the Links panel, choose Relink to Folder, tell it which folder to look in, and choose a file extension. The original image doesn’t even have to be “Missing”! In fact, the two images (psd and tiff, in your case) can even live in the same folder.

Sweet, yes?

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at LinkedIn Learning ( are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
  • Eugene says:

    That is very good indeed. Many thanks for the explanation. I’ll have to get CS4 soon, over priced in Europe or not, it seems like a must have.

    The links panel is certainly getting there, but it still has a long way to go. Next step is drag and drop from links panel – or are you going to tell me you can already do that? :)


  • Klaus Nordby says:

    That IS a great, time-saving feature indeed! God knows how many times I’ve had to quickly place some unedited JPGs in a layout, then later edited and saved them as PSD — and then had to manually re-import them again. That boring time-drain procedure is now . . . mercifully down the drain.

    ID CS4 sure isn’t a New Dazzling Features release, but it IS a Big Efficiency release. The amount of time and boring fiddling we can save on layout work with the Smart Guides feature alone is amazing.

    How about doing a Big Efficiency Special edition of the podcast? No lame jokes, no eeek-eeek, just a super-efficient delivery of Big Efficiency stuff — in the name of efficiency? Nah, that’s probably too much to ask, to be spared the jokes and eeek’ing . . .

  • Marc Hinds says:

    Instead of asking David and Anne-Marie to revise their friendly banter, how about no more rude and negative posts instead?

    Keep up the good work, guys. I’m a silent supporter who faithfully listens to the podcast and thoroughly enjoys hearing all your tips and tricks, current trends and information, and also benefits from your outstanding training. (David’s Beyond the Basics is outstanding and Anne-Marie, I loved your InCopy CS4 tutorial?just excellent.)

    Please know that I’m one of many who morally support you and don’t want you to change a thing. This relinking tip is a great example of what you both regularly let us in on. Thanks for everything you do for the friendly InDesign community.

  • @Marc: Thank you so much for your vote of support. Much appreciated. Don’t worry, it’s in our contract that we have to always have fun and say “eekeeek” in each episode. Remember: If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right!

  • Jeremy says:

    In academic life, there’s almost no creativity because there’s so little playfulness. Everyone’s trying to be taken seriously, with the result that no one’s being original. I chose a new career in InDesign-type-stuff partly because the best people in the profession show clear signs of cheerfulness breaking in. I say let frivolity reign! eeek-eeek!

  • Jennie says:

    Another great tip!

    Klaus, I would be emailing David and Anne-Marie to see if they were alright if they dropped the jokes and eeeek eeeeking. I have a feeling you would also be checking on them!

    David and Anne-Marie, I think a Big Efficiency Podcast would be great! And for the sake of efficiency you could even wait until it is podcast #100 (or as the Romans would say, Podcast C).

  • Eugene says:

    Speaking of efficiency guys. Any plans on another webinar or veminar or e-seminar? It’s been a while.

    And there’s no better way to show efficiency than with live video. The last one’s were great.

  • Anne-Marie says:

    Good news: a) Yes, our videocasts should start in a few weeks; (I’m committing us here, I know); b) Yes, we’ll be dedicating episode(s) of both casts to efficiency-related aspects of ID; and c) Yes, we’ve been working on our 2009 webinar schedule for the past couple weeks, more news to come shortly.

    Great Minds Think Alike! ;-)

  • Jean-Claude Tremblay says:

    This “Relink to Folder” and the ability to change file extensions is indeed a real time saver new features in CS4. Before CS4, I have used a custom applescript to do that. I still have it around for anyone not yet updated to CS4. It might need some edit but it’s easy to do. Send me an email at tremblayjc [at] or ask for it on Twitter at @jctremblay

  • Eugene says:

    Great Anne-Marie, thanks for letting us know. It all sounds very good indeed.

  • Adam Jury says:

    This is a great tip; one of those little new features that might get glossed over next to some of the big ones added in CS4, but very handy at certain times!

  • Martin Braun says:

    You can relink all your TIFF to PSD in CS3 by exporting your document to INX and search and replace “.tif” with “.psd” in a text editor like TextWrangler. It’s a little bit venturesome but worked for me in many cases.

  • Adi Ravid says:

    That’s great.
    Links management in CS4 is much better and friendlier than before.
    In the past, I used a script to redirect all my links to another location. Now it’s finally built in.
    If any of the pre CS4 users would like to use it, you can download it from here.
    It doesn’t have the ability of relinking to a file with deferent extension, but if you need it, just drop me a word and I’ll add it ASAP.

  • David Wrase says:

    in the CS3 Links Palette, I could choose Link Information, and in the Location field, I could select the file name (as live text with the curser) and copy it, and paste it into my document.

    CS4 Links Panel does not let me select the text.

    Is there an efficient way to get the image names of my links into my InDesign document as text?

    (we often list image names in the slug area)

  • @David: You can might want to use this script or the LabelGraphics script that comes with InDesign to add names.

  • Michael says:

    This feature is nice and all but the ‘Link to Folder’ option does not search subfolders?! I am working on a huge catalog that needs to be relinked to out Images server. Our images are filed alphabetically by company then alphabetically by product. That is about 5 levels deep.

    Maybe someone knows a script that can do this?

  • AnP says:

    remember always to use “mass” relinking of new extension name images, by spelling TIFF to correct way … either tiff or tif… indesign will not recognize the other type!! if spelt incorrectly.

  • dubai dave says:

    Oh my lord…! I’m an artworker and quite often have brochures, magazines or massive brochure where I have to take all the stock images, psds etc etc and retouch, CMYK them and then replace one by one.

    You have just made my job a thousand times easier.

    Thanks so much

  • Katherine says:

    I know this post is old, but I am hoping someone can help. We have a bunch of files that are built in CC. We have made their sections indd files that are linked back into the original indd file. So that if we have an update we change one indd file and it auto populates to all the files that the indd is linked into. Problem comes up that the vendor is using a program that doesn’t register indd links inside of indd files. They have requested that we convert the links to pdf. We batch convert all the indd links to pdf, and use the relink to folder feature when it is time to send the files to the vendor. For some reason when relink in to folder it is auto defaulting to art bounding box instead of trim bounding box. Does anyone know why this is happening, or of a script that will relink to folder with bounding box set to trim?

  • Dennis says:

    Is there any way to change part of name in lot of links.
    Like if yoy have many pics called pic1-projA.jpg, pic2-projA.jpg ….
    to pic1-projB.jpg, pic2-projB…..

  • Vinno says:

    This website has helped me numerous times! Grateful for having you guys helping me out in deadline times ;-)

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