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Newbie Notes: “Index” Mode

March 18, 2011

Have you ever come across images that you can’t seem to edit, copy or move to another document? And when you look at the layer, it says Index instead of Background? Many clipart images are like this. Having accumulated lots of Public Domain pieces of clipart when I first started to get interested in digital designing, I found it very frustrating not to be able to use them! A simple workaround is to drag a selection box around the whole image and then you can move it into your document. I am indebted to some kind person who answered my plea for help in one of the Forums several years ago and I’m terribly sorry I can’t remember which one! Since then, I have discovered that these files are saved in Indexed Color Mode and you can simply change this by going to Image – Mode – RGB, and then you can carry on as normal. However, saving your converted image as a jpg at maximum quality usually at least doubles the file size, so I  keep my originals in their Index mode to save space.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Kaaren (Kindred Spirit) permalink
    March 18, 2011 4:10 pm

    Great Tip! Can you tell me if this works for Elements as well?

    • March 18, 2011 4:52 pm

      Hi Kaaren! Yes, I am test-driving PSE 9 at the moment and I can confirm that this does work in Elements.

  2. anne-marie Chepy permalink
    March 18, 2011 5:40 pm


    pour ce genre de problème, j’utilise le petit programme “clic” qui me permet de faire une capture d’écran,même pour les images que l’on ne peut pas “enregistrer sous”.
    Je ne sais pas si la traduction sera compréhensible!!!!

    • March 18, 2011 7:53 pm

      Anne-Marie says, “For this kind of problem, I use the little program “click” which enables me to make a capture of screen, even for the images which one cannot “record under”. I do not know if the translation will be comprehensible!!!!”
      Bonjour Anne-Marie! Oui, la traduction est vraiment compréhensible (merci Babel Fish!). Bienvenue et merci pour votre commentaire.

  3. jayleigh permalink
    March 19, 2011 1:31 am

    Thanks! i couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the pngs that wouldn’t move! Now i read this tip, i can manage them! Thanks so much for giving tips as you learn them. It’s so helpful. Oh, and i NEVER have any problems with YOUR designs!

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