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This article is from June 16, 2010, and is no longer current.

Turning Off the Frame Edge Highlights in CS5


Sandra asked:

Is there a way to turn of the frrame edges that show when you roll over objects with your mouse in InDesign CS5? They show in Normal and Preview mode.

Um… no. Sorry.

If you haven’t experienced this yet, what Sandra is referring to is a feature, not a bug. Here’s what Adobe’s help system says about it:

“InDesign now temporarily draws the frame edges as you use the Selection tool to hover over items on a page. This method makes it easier to find the item you want before you select it. The color of the frame edge drawn matches the color of the layer the object is on. Groups are drawn with a dashed line. This feedback is especially helpful when working in Preview Mode or with Hide Frame Edges selected”


“When you hover over a page item with the Direct Selection tool, InDesign displays the path and display the path points. This feedback makes it easier to view the path point you want to manipulate. You no longer have to select the object with the Direct Selection tool and then select the path point. You can simply drag the point you want.”

In most cases, I find that I like this feature a lot. It really does make it easier to find objects when in Preview mode. However, sometimes I do find myself thinking of that old cartoon of the “little old lady” batting the boy scout over the head saying, “I don’t want your help! Stop helping me!”

One option is to use the Presentation mode (Shift-W) instead of Preview mode. If you’re trying to see what a page will look like (and you’re not trying to edit the page), Presentation mode is a wonderful way to do it. And… no object highlighting!

[Editor’s note: This problem has been “fixed” in InDesign CS5.5: You can now turn off the Highlight Selection Under Selection Tool checkbox in the Interface pane of the Preferences dialog box.]

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, CreativePro 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

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  • Sandra says:

    Ouch! Thanx David for your fast reply.
    It might not be a bug but it sure bugs me, hope it will be an option I can turn off in 7.1

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    Lock your layers also does it

    Just add a new layer above to rid of that pencil crossed out mouse icon.

  • Jeremy says:

    I started a thread in the Adobe forums about this new “feature” and it got quite the amount of feedback. I really hope they add in an option to disabled it, you can disable pretty much anything else in the View menu!

    Here is the thread:

  • Mike Rankin says:

    This could be a case for calling on Mr. Spanky (aka the Hand tool). The highlighting only appears when you’re using the Selection or Direct Selection tools. So if it really annoys you, switch to a different tool. Press H to switch to the Hand tool, then hold command to get the most recently used selection tool so you can grab and move items, etc.

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    Fair cop, Mike.

    I think they tried to make it easier to select points, which is fine. But at the same time they didn’t include an option to negate this behaviour.

    Just as they took away the “Tile Horizontally” and “Tile Vertically” from Window>Arrange… which is confusing at first. But I’ll get used to that little button.

  • I posted this too on the pre-release forum, but apparently nobody there was as annoyed as I was about this new “feature”. Maybe in 7.1 (or even CS6).

  • Antonio says:

    this is a seriously horrible and distracting feature. maybe on the mom & dad lite version of adobe indesign they can use this feature but for any serious design its a pain in the ass.

  • Kristin says:

    This feature is sooo annoying! grrr. did they not talk to any designers when designing this programme? I don’t need help finding where my objects are I can see them!

  • Andreas says:

    I agree to Kristin – this feature is totally needless for me, it makes me nervous!

  • mary says:

    Yes, nervous is the perfect description. I keep thinking that I have selected something and am afraid I’ve moved it.

  • Nic says:

    Thanks to Kristin, it’s really a feature, which is absolutely needles. In the evening, when I finished my work my eyes are stressed of this nervous frames. Its something for absolute beginners, but not for designers. I think that for people who works with older PC or Mac will have a serious problem, cause the frames uses much processing power.

  • Rachel says:

    Yup, it’s infuriating and makes me feel as though I’m inadvertantly moving stuff too! However, now that I know I’m not the only one, it makes this slightly bearable . . .

    I also find the measurements appearing when you resize a link annoying too – does anyone know how to stop this? It’s just unnecessary clutter.

  • Jongware says:

    @Rachel: some things are in the preferences, some are not. We hapless end users can only second-guess Adobe’s choices.

    The measurement popup is: in the Preferences, section Interface, checkbox “Show Transformation Values”.

  • TerryAnn says:

    I am wondering what Adobe’s history is in responding to strongly-disliked “enhancements” such as this one. Does anyone know if they might listen anytime soon and provide an update? This is enough for me to go back to CS2 until they make the change, it bothers me so much. I would really like to have my $$ back, this is something I use all day long and I can’t afford to feel nervous/agitated/distracted like this all day.

  • James says:

    Almost make me want to go back to Quark. Not really, but Quark didn’t listen to anyone either.

    I’m with everyone else, I went back to CS3. For Photoshop and Illustrator to be so awesome, I’m surprised at Adobe.

    Another thread said you’ll get used to it. Nope, not getting used to it, that’s why I had to switch back. I gave it 3 weeks.

  • Ex-Posterboy says:

    Thanks for confirming my frustrations.
    I also think it is unprofessional and unnecessary in most situations.

    The fact that it causes my mouse and visual response in INDD to intermittently freeze as it highlights the object frame (a total of 10 -20 minutes of every day I spend designing) is only part of the overall concern… I am worried that I will click on something, my mouse will freeze on it as I continue to move to click on something else, and then I will have moved/resized/deleted something without noticing. That?s SCARY!

    Overall, it is not a “cool new feature” that I will learn to love.

  • Ex-Posterboy says:

    Just make it a “toggle-based” option.
    You know: cntl-shift-option-tab-right+left mouse buttons while holding your right pinky finger out at a tangent to your other fingers.

    That should do it.

  • mai says:

    Absolutely HATE this new feature. Rather than “help” me, I think it slows everything down by who knows what. Very frustrating! Let’s hope Adobe drops this feature the next time around or at least make it an option to hide it.

  • Brad says:

    Agreed, these feature is horrible and makes me want to go back and use CS3, which I had no problems with. Interesting that don’t even try and make it optional when you can adjust so many other things in InDesign.

  • calls says:

    This feature really annoys me, I’m looking over a design, thinking creatively as I move things around, and every time I’m pondering what to do, or what colour to try something, all the time the blue boxes flash, very very irritating.

    So irritating that I now use Illustrator for flyers etc and only use Indesign when I have to. Crazy really when I’ve paid £600 for the upgrade!

    I really can’t understand why companies like Adobe don’t monitor feedback from the web and social networking, and just add a preference to turn it off. Is it SO difficult to do what the customers want?? happens so much with companies.

  • Debbie says:

    I came here hoping to find a way to turn off this feature. It’s not helpful at all, it’s distracting. I ended up saving down my document to IDML and going back to use CS4. It also seemed to make things much slower or maybe it felt that way because it was so distracting.

    If you change the layer color to a light grey – or something that matches most of your background closer, it helps a little bit.

  • Hate says:

    Hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate.

  • SCREAM says:

    a-greed a-greed a-greed! a-greed a-greed a-greed a-greed a-greed a-greed

  • Nicole says:

    I couldn’t agree more with everyone! There may be TIMES where it could be helpful, but there SHOULD be a way to disable it! Don’t know why Adobe wouldn’t give you that option since they give you an option to Show/Hide everything else! Grrrr.

  • Danielle says:

    Under View… Extras.. there’s stuff you can turn off that’s annoying..

    But I can say I am very disappointed they got rid of the inx file export, this has hurt my work flow greatly as I jumped from CS3 to CS5 I don’t think I should have to go but CS4 just to convert!!!!

  • Bob Levine says:

    @Danielle. This is one that can’t be turned off.

    As for INX, that’s irrelevant. InDesign has never been able to save back more than one version so you would have needed CS4 anyway.

  • krzychu says:

    This is just horrible. I hate it. Really this highlighting is making me crazy. My boss wanted to upgrade whole dtp department in company to indesign cs5 but I talked him out of this (highlighting sucks so bad) :) We’ll stick to cs4. And I’m a hero too, because not buying 60 upragedes is nice example of reducing costs;) WIN WIN:)

  • @krzychu and others: Okay, look, I just have to ask something: I know it can be annoying, but is it really THAT annoying? Why? It’s just the edges of frames flashing on and off when you are in Preview mode or when you have frame edges hidden, right? To me it’s a little frustrating at times, but enough to want to not use CS5 and all its great features at all?! That just seems really weird to me. But maybe I’m missing something. Can anyone explain such deep hatred?

  • dennis says:

    yeah… horrible! same thing in Photoshop! if you dragging around objects a thin frame appears and just doesn?t make sense at all. and it?s not even tight!!!
    does anybody know if there is a way to turn it off ?

  • holly says:

    I hate this ‘feature’! It is VERY DISTRACTING – I hope Adobe solves the problem with an update that offers an option to turn the pesky thing OFF!

  • Webby77 says:

    Having newly acquired ID CS5, I too say this is an annoying feature.

  • Tim says:

    It seems sort of silly to reiterate on what has been said about 400 times already but maybe if we get half a million people saying the same thing it will get noticed, so I’m putting in my 2 cents. I can’t stand the frame edge highlighting either… completely distracting.

  • Moyer says:

    Adding my two cents… it’s an annoying feature. Why? Don’t need it. Simple as that. It’s an overthought feature.

  • Andy says:

    HATE HATE HATE this feature. Just upgraded from CS3 to CS5 and am seriously thinking of a deinstall & reinstall of CS3. May just go back to Quark

    I have alot of retail clients (that like to put WAY to much into small ads) and this is gonna make me blind and utterly distracted. Adobe’s rational is stupid. Adobe, how about you jsut do layouts for me too.

  • Mike Rankin says:

    This has got to be the most widely hated feature in the history of InDesign. Either that or it’s the most intensely hated by a small number of people. I’m with David, I don’t love it, and if I had the choice, I’d turn it off, but it’s not the end of the world. And I’m sure the folks at Adobe are well-aware of how this has been received by their customers.

    Like I wrote above in the comments, the cure for now is to work with any tool other than the selections tools.

    Here’s a tip. Press H for HATE. Easy to remember, right? It will give you the Hand tool. Then press command/ctrl to temporarily get the last-used selection tool when you want to grab something.

  • alex says:

    I agree with everyone, this non-optional ‘feature’ is horribly distracting, my whole project lights up like a fireworks display when I try to work.

    David– I guess it’s that annoying to me because, for my design process I need to be able to really concentrate. And my whole page is blinking and doing things and it really does kill my ability to concentrate on the work I was trying to do. Over time I just start feeling increasingly irritated. Definitely to the point where I’m skipping CS5 entirely until they allow us to turn it off.

    Like everyone else has mentioned I think it will help if lots of us make feature requests for the option to disable it:

  • M Rogers says:

    I can’t describe how much I HATE this — I switched back to CS3 after a week. It’s InDesign’s equivlent of Clippy from Microsoft Office: an interface that insists IT should be the focus of your work, rather than, you know, the actual content of your design piece…


  • Gavula says:

    Add me the chorus of boos.

    It was cool when every step Michael Jackson took lit up in the Billy Jean video. Right? But imagine how annoying it would be if he was trying to get some work done.

    The “Billy Jean cursor”. Another solution without a problem from your friends at Adobe.

  • Gavula: rofl! I will call it that from now on, giving you full credit, in all my classes and seminars. ;-)

  • Sue Bray says:

    My clients (and I) are on the ‘boo’ list as well.

    I’d like to see the ‘Billy Jean Cursor’ in the Preferences as a switch; Default set to off.

    Update request in process!

  • Kevin Northway says:

    Hey Adobe, we know where are objects are. We put them there! Might be a useful feature for teaching but give us the option disable it.

  • Jean Pearcey says:

    This highlighting feature drives me crazy too!
    Assuming that everyone would appreciate the feature is not cool…Please allow purchasers to turn on and turn off as they choose….Thanks.

  • Phil says:

    David Blatner must be the product manager for Adobe who pushed this feature on all of us. David, listen to your customers!!!

  • @Phil, no, I’m definitely not the product manager! :) My point was simply that it wasn’t nearly that annoying to me. I mean, it’s a little annoying, but I haven’t heard this kind of vitriol and reactionism in a long time, and it just surprised me that it would be about something which seems relatively benign. That said, I have pointed the adobe product mgmt to this blog post, and I know they’ve read it.

  • Phil says:


    Thanks for your reply. To be honest I find it terribly annoying. In my work I do a lot of illustration with multiple layers, and when I mouse over some of my work it lights up like a Christmas tree. Hard sometimes to tell what is selected and what is not. All I am saying is Adobe, give us the option because if you chose to determine our workflow, we will find options … just not at Adobe. And if Adobe thinks they are just to big to fail, let’s all remember the lessons learned by Enron and GM. That’s all.

  • Mitch says:

    IT SUCKS! I want my CS4 Back. This feature is horrible and seems Adobe forget to actually have someone use it the real world.

  • soloflight says:

    Turn Off the Frame Edge Highlights in CS5, it is a terrible feature please allow us to turn it on and off if we like, in the future upgrades

  • Turner says:

    Just started using 5 after a long time on 3, and found this thread by googling “frame roll over in CS5” after I exhausted everything I could think of to turn it off. I agree, it distracts from a designer’s ability to visualize what they are creating, especially if you have a lot of text boxes on a page. Adobe, please allow us to control our work space and give us a shut off as soon as possible.

  • HP says:

    I agree, it’s very annoying! If you go to View – Extras – Show Frame Edges, they won’t flicker on and off when you mouse over them. An OK solution for a project that doesn’t have a lot of frames.

  • Jan says:

    I HATE this feature and tried for quite some time to turn it off before I read this blog. It’s VERY distracting and as a migraine sufferer, I don’t need any more computer screen light impulses triggering a headache.

  • This just showed up in the InDesign Magazine tip of the week, written by Mike Rankin… clever!
    “Spring-Loaded Tools to the Rescue
    InDesign tries very hard to help you align objects when you drag by snapping them Do you dislike the Frame Edge Highlighting that appears when you mouse over frames in CS5? Spring-loaded tools can help. Frame edge highlighting only appears when you use one of the selection tools. With spring-loaded tools, you can press and hold single keys to temporarily switch to any other tool. As long as you hold the key for more than a second, you’ll switch back to your previous tool when you release the key. You have plenty of choices (t, \, p, f, m, n, c, e, g, z, etc). Holding the spacebar also prevents the highlighting from appearing, and it’s a nice big place for your fingers to rest. Heck, you don’t even have to pay much attention to where you press–just rest your hand in the middle of the keyboard and lift it up when you want to select something. But don’t hold v or a, which are the shortcuts for the selection tools.”

  • Mike Rankin says:


    Thanks for mentioning the tip. I should also mention that you probably don’t want to rest your hand on j, unless you want to induce a seizure, (especially if you have panels like swatches, color, and effects open) as you flip back and forth between container and text attributes several times per second. Whee! :)

  • Mike the “J” key is great … LOL … it’s like the Hypnotoad (from Futurama)

  • Terri Stone says:

    Speaking of the InDesign Magazine Tip of the Week, anyone who wants it delivered free to their email inbox can sign up here:

  • Wayne says:

    Really, REALLY hate this too! Not so much the multiple flashing frame edges (glad I’m not epileptic) but the cursor delay/freeze when there’s lots of items to pass over. And is it just my PC or is the delay dependant on the size of the object being hovered over? Bigger the box the longer the cursor freeze? It’s a real pain when trying to work quickly and a disaster that I can’t simply turn it off. Moan, whinge, grumble etc.

  • Andy says:


    This feature of Highlighted Frame Edges must surely be designed for grandma and young kid novices because it is very annoying and unhelpful for the experienced user. OK. I understand why the Adobe boffins want to make CS5 idiot-proof and very user friendly, but why in heavens name can you not elect to switch this feature off. It is the most frustrating feature ever since I starting using the very first version of an otherwise brilliant program many years ago. Please give a SWITCH OFF option next update, PLEASE ADOBE just do-it.

  • Andy says:

    Same comment applies to that silly big and ugly GREY CIRCLE that keeps appearing in the centre of image boxes. Who thought of that unhelpful feature. If Adobe insist on keeping this feature – then can we have the option to at least change the color and keep it very faint. Same applies to the color of Highlighted Frame Edges.

  • Stix Hart says:

    @ Andy, you can fix one of your gripes, just go View > Extras > Hide Content Grabber! Otherwise known as the doughnut :)

  • ruth says:

    Glad Im not the only one who got annoyed with this feature. I am still using CS3, because when I tried CS5, it bugged me so much I could’nt stand working with it. CS3 work perfect for me, if they add a new feature, they should also add disable for that feature for people like me who are not always happy with the “new present”

  • kym says:

    Adobe, why, why, why inflict this on us with no option of turning it off? Please, please, please Adobe, listen to professional designers before you mess with our software and workflow. Guess if we cannot stand working with it, it will be back to CS4 for our studio. Will Adobe refund the cost of the upgrade though if we abandon using it? hmmm…yeah, I thought not….

  • Stephan Möbius says:

    Dear Adobe, please for Patch 7.0.4 put a toggle into “Menu > Views > Extras” or into “Settings > Userinterface”. Thanks.

  • Jenn says:

    So glad I am not the only professional designer who finds this feature absolutely RIDICULOUS!! I can not believe Adobe would implement something so obnoxious that has no disable feature. I would like to see them sit behind a screen for 10+ hours a day starring at these obnoxious highlights all over their screen! It really does make you so irritated and definitely hinders work flow. Highlighting layers so you can find them easier…. novel idea for a kindergartner maybe. I am the one who put the layers there in the first place, I do not need help finding them! I want CS3 back.

  • Sharon says:

    I agree with most below. For a professional designer this “kindergarten” approach is not only cumbersome, it is insulting. I’m getting eye-strain…Adobe, please listen!

  • Arlene Conley says:

    This feature takes a GIANT toll on both my creativity and productivity. A constant flow of unneeded and unwelcome information/distraction to my brain that I neither want nor need. HATE IT, HATE IT, HATE IT. PLEASE let those of us who don’t want it be rid of it.

  • Peter says:

    Absolutely horrible.

  • Stephanie says:

    This is a ridiculous feature. Why do they keep trying to force stuff on designers. We like the tool upgrades and neat options, but stop messing with how we view our design work! CS5 is full of ’em.

  • Jana says:

    I’m adding to the hate of this addition as well. It is seriously distracting. Those of us that have been working with InDesign for a long time have developed systems that work nicely, keep ourselves organized and do not effect our creativity. We are, after all, information designers. If we can’t keep ourselves organized, how can we expect to keep our clients organized?

    There, that made me feel better. Now please get on that patch.

  • Brett says:

    This featured freaked me out when I first upgraded and immediately searched for a way to turn it off. Now several months later, I’d like to say I’ve gotten used to it, but I still find it amazingly distracting and unnecessary. To me, it shows a profound lack of understanding of how designers are wired — which (to generalize) is to favor tools that are streamlined and functional, and to have the control to customize those tools. It’s frustrating that I can’t turn it off, and that I’ll probably have to wait for CS6, where I may or may not finally get the ability to remove a junky option I didn’t want in the first place. Come on, Adobe, treat us better than that.

  • Abby says:

    Does CS 5.5 allow you to turn this off?

  • Peter says:

    Yes, but the upgrade is not free!

  • Abby says:

    I lucked out because I purchased CS5 right before CS5.5 was released (I didn’t know it was even coming) and they give complimentary upgrades in this situation. I can’t wait to get the upgrade because this frame edge highlighting is incredibly annoying. I sincerely hope they make some updates to CS5 so that you can all turn off this “feature” and design in peace.

  • Kelly V says:

    Someone wanted to know why I hate it.

    Well, sometimes I bring in simplistic vector graphics using copy and paste. Not always ideal, but if I want to mess with the color and effects, it is a lot easier to do this in InDesign.

    Right now I have a tire tread, and ever part of the graphic highlights. It’s been driving me nuts! I don’t really care for the feature in general, but especially on graphics like that. Also it outlined in red because that happened to be the color of the layer. Completely irritating.

    Thanks for all the tips. I’m putting the tread on a separate layer and locking it; also changing the color. This will keep me from throwing my mouse at the screen.

  • Jo says:

    Hi all
    You CAN turn off this annoying feature in Preferences/Interface/Curser and Gesture Options/Highlight object under selection tool. This is in Indesign 5.5.
    I hope that you can do the same in Indesign 5.
    Hope this helps

  • Ray Craigie says:

    Not in InDesign 5 you can’t…

  • Pam says:

    Thanks Jo!!!

    This was making me crazy like everyone else – so glad to have a solution. I hope everyone checks back here to save their sanity.

  • Sharon says:

    Yes, you can hide the framed edge highlighting in CS5. In Preferences, then Interface ? uncheck “Highlight Object Under Selection Tool.

  • Tab says:

    I hate the cursor hover feature. I am almost ready to switch back to CS3 because of it. Is there no way to turn it off?

  • Jongware says:

    Tab: No.

    Didn’t you read anything of the article — the first paragraph, for example –, nor of the 75 (count’em) comments above yours?

    There is no helping you and you might as well give up on InDesign altogether. There.

  • @Tab: Well, Jongware isn’t entirely correct; you can change this in CS5.5. I’ve added a note in the blog post.

  • C L says:

    I’ve been an InDesign user since the first edition and this is one of the most annoying “feature” ever. Thankfully, CS 5 is only on my co-workers workstation. I still use CS4.

    Keep stuff like this for the non-pro versions. We don’t need the hand holding.

  • dennis says:

    simple fix everyone.

    InDesign > Preferences > Interface > ‘uncheck’ Highlight Object Under Selection Tool

  • Gail says:

    yes, fairly new to CS6….MANY annoying indesign features. I don’t want that brown frame edge that appears around object…be it a picture, an ad…etc….i will crop and enlarge much quicker without it…and often when i grab an ad to place it somewhere else in magazine, i don’t realize it has switched to that annoying brown resize, crop frame and i have to now carefully check all my moved ads to make sure i haven’t cropped off a 1/16th of the ad….IS THERE ANYWAY TO PERMANENTLY DISBABLE THIS FRAME FEATURE?

    • @Gail: I’m thinking you’re accidentally clicking the Content Grabber to select the image inside the frame. More info here:

      • gail says:

        thank you for a quick reply…however, i turned the content grabber off a couple of weeks ago…like so many that have commented here…too many distracting, time-consuming info boxes popping up all the time, frames i don’t want…it is pretty bad when i think CS2 less intrusive into my workspace…spending way too much time hitting the escape key these days…

    • @Gail: Hm. Well, the only other way that you’d be selecting the image inside the frame is by double-clicking (instead of single clicking) with the black-arrow Selection tool, or by single-clicking with the white arrow Direct Selection tool. If you want to move the frame and its content, just single-click on the frame with the Selection tool.

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  • Annoying that there is no option to turn this ‘feature’ off. C’mon Adobe, give those of us who loved PageMaker a reason to love IndDesign. Not happening just yet…

  • Emm says:

    This appears to have returned in the Creative Cloud version, with no way to hide or disable. It hurts my eyes. Why do they keep pushing this us on?

    • Emm: Not sure what you mean “no way to hide or disable.” Did you see the “Editors Note” at the bottom of the article above? That preference is still available in CC.

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