How to Slice in InDesign

By Darrin Koltow

Slicing images with Adobe InDesign enables you to create multiple clickable regions from what appears to be a single image on a Web page. This lets potential customers click on an individual product feature to learn about just that feature. InDesign lacks the Slice tool and the "Save for Web" command that Illustrator and Photoshop have. However, with the Scissors tool you can split a single rectangle frame that holds the image you want to slice into multiple rectangle frames. You can then create a new document from each rectangle and export a document as a JPEG.

Create a new document in InDesign with the Web preset, and then click the File menu's "Place" command. Select an image you want to slice, and then click "Place" to import the image in a new rectangle frame.

Click the horizontal ruler, and then drag it to a place on the image where you want to make a horizontal cut. InDesign displays a guide where you released the mouse. Drag additional horizontal and vertical guides to define the image's slice regions.

Click the scissors icon on the Tools panel to run the Scissors tool, and then click the place where the top-most horizontal guide intersects the left edge of the rectangle frame. Click where this guide intersects the right edge of the rectangle frame. These two clicks cut the rectangle frame in two halves, neither of which is a true rectangle. Before you can further subdivide either half, it's necessary to convert the halves to true rectangles.

Press "V" to run the "Select" tool, and then click the top rectangle half.

Click the "Object" menu, select "Convert Shape" and click "Rectangle" to enable slicing of the top half. Run this same command on the bottom rectangle half to enable you to slice it.

Use the Scissors tool and the "Convert to Rectangle" command to subdivide the original rectangle frame into the remaining individual rectangles.

Press "V" to run the Selection tool, and then click the top left rectangle frame. InDesign displays the rectangle's width and height in the Width and Height controls on the Control panel. Press "Ctrl-C" to copy the rectangle to the clipboard.

Press "Ctrl-N" to display the new dialog box, and then enter the rectangle's width and height dimensions in the dialog box's Width and Height controls. Enter "0" in all four Margin controls, then click "OK" to create the new document.

Press "Ctrl-V" to paste the rectangle's image into the new document, then click and drag the rectangle to align it with the canvas borders.

Click the "File" menu and select "Export." In the Export dialog box, browse to the location on your computer where you want to save the new document, type a name that distinguishes this slice from the other slices. For example, enter "WidgetImage_slice01.JPG." Select "JPEG" from the "Save as type" drop-down menu and click the "Save" button.

Copy and paste the remaining rectangles into new documents one at a time, and export each document as a JPEG file just you exported the first rectangle.


Information in this article applies to InDesign CS6. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.