How to Create a Clipping Path in Adobe InDesign

In Brief...

Clipping paths are silhouettes around portions of images. They can be used to mask out opaque white backgrounds, as well as create contours around portions of an image for text wraps to follow. Clipping paths are often created using Photoshop, but InDesign can do it too, when there is enough contrast between the image edges and the background.


  1. In this example, a clipping path will be used to remove the white background from the photo of a tea set.
    Tea Set with White Background

  2. To create the clipping path, select the image, then go to the Object menu. Scroll down to Clipping Path and choose Options.
    Clipping Path in Object Menu

  3. In the dialog box, check Preview, then go to the Type menu and choose Detect Edges. If there are areas inside the silhouette of the image that should be clipped, check Include Inside Edges. Tolerance can be used to adjust the tightness of the fit of the path. Threshold is used to set the levels of color contrast in the image to be included or ignored.
    Clipping Path Dialog Box

  4. The white background is now removed.
    Background Removed from Image

Author: Kate Cahill

Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical, and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her class. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint to produce a fully-developed and cohesive brand identity.