How to make an image B&W in InDesign

A common question I come across is ‘can you make an image black & white (B&W) in InDesign without using Photoshop or another application or software’, the simple answer is yes you can.

The slightly longer answer is that this process will allow you to make image appear black & white, but it will not convert your image to greyscale, that can still only be done with Photoshop or similar. So just bear in mind that this process will show you how to make your image black & white in InDesign but the images will still print in full colour as they have not been truly converted to greyscale.

Below I have written a step by step guide hopefully covering all areas to tell you how it is done. If you prefer a video over written instructions well you are in luck as I’ve made one of those too.

Here is the written guide on how to make an image black & white (B&W) in InDesign

Click Here for the video guide.

How to make an image black & white (B&W) in InDesign without Photoshop

STEP 1
Open the document with the image you wish to change in Indesign. To do this go to ‘File’ in the menu at the top of the page and select open.

Open button InDesign

Then navigate to the document you intend to open and click ‘Open’ in the bottom right hand corner of the pop-up box.

Open button InDesign pop-up

STEP 2
Click on the ‘Swatches’ panel located (by default) in the menu on the right hand side.

Swatches Panel Indesign

If you are unable to find the swatches panel here you can open it by going to ‘Window’ in the menu at the top of the page, select ‘Colour’ and then click on ‘Swatches’. This will open the panel.

Swatches Button InDesign

STEP 3
In the Swatches panel click on ‘Black’.

Black Swatches InDesign

Ensure you have the ‘Fill’ colour filled black and not the stroke.

Black Fill Swatches InDesign

STEP 4
Now draw a box over the image you want to convert to black and white (B&W). To do this select the ‘Rectangle tool’ from your tool bar.

Rectangle-Tool-InDesign

Click on a corner of the image and drag over the entire image. I would recommend zooming in and checking that the box lines up exactly with the edge of you image.

STEP 5
You should now have a solid black box covering your image.

With the box selected go to the ‘Effects’ panel which is usually located in the right hand side menu.

Effects Panel InDesign

If you are unable to find the effects panel here you can open it by going to ‘Window’ in the menu at the top of the page and click on ‘Effects’. This will open the panel.

Where to find the effects panel InDesign

STEP 6
Click the drop down menu in the top left hand corner of the effects panel.

Change effect InDesign

STEP 7
Select ‘Colour’ from the drop down list.

Colour Blending Mode InDesign

Your image will now appear black & white (B&W).

Change image to B&W InDesign before & after

How to make an image black & white (B&W) in InDesign without Photoshop – Video guide

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I hope thats a useful tip. Thanks for reading.

Written by Donna Hocking, Graphic designer and creative artworker. If you are a designer / agency in need of support or a business looking for someone to create your print & web materials get in touch I’d love to hear from you. You can also read more about what services I provide here.