Creating Photoshop CS5 Clipping Paths That Stay Transparent in InDesign

I’d done this before but forgot the technique and spent a day and a half looking for the solution. Scouring the internet, I found many (bad) tutorials that tell you to create a layer mask from your work path, but that is not the right way if your goal is to import a clipped image into InDesign or other program. Steps for Photoshop CS5 & InDesign CS5

  1. Create your clipping path- I used the Quick Selection Tool Brush in Photoshop. Others will recommend you SELECT->Color Range and Eyedrop your color.. but this would have been problematic for me as I’m trying to silo the white background on a B&W drawing.. where parts of the drawing are white.
  2. Right click on your selection when complete and click Make Work Path. Name your path whatever you like.
  3. **THIS IS HOW YOU TURN YOUR WORK PATH INTO A CLIPPING PATH!** Highlight the Work Path you have named on the Paths tab, click on the upper right options menu -> Clipping Path. You can leave the Flatness: ___ device pixels box blank, but you’re welcome to research the effects of different values. Click “OK”. If clipping path is successful, the path name will now look white.
  4. Save the file. Tif or EPS is fine. Import into InDesign and the clipping transparency will be preserved!

About Steven Chu

Hi, I'm Steven! I'm an entrepreneur, photographer and art director in New York. Follow this blog for self expression, fun, and most importantly: looking comfortable, at ease, and amazing in your photos no matter who takes them! I dedicate this to my amazing friends who have let me inadvertently turn all of our hangouts and travel photos into a never ending photoshoot of fun. The proof is in the pudding-- our photos rock. My other projects: I'm the founder of, a face-to-face tech concierge service for NYC. Book a techie to walk you through something you want to learn! My work focuses on socially engaged art projects which use technology to create access to resources for communities. Visit Steven Chu Studio ( for branding & design work or Steven Chu ( for photography projects.

2 thoughts on “Creating Photoshop CS5 Clipping Paths That Stay Transparent in InDesign”

  1. Hallelujia–THANK YOU very much, Steven!! Same story for me, as I make these a few times a year and promptly forget which series of clipping mask procedures actually work. After 20 minutes of wrangling, you just saved me. Appreciate it!

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