I have imported a few png files (using File > Place) that are simple black shapes with transparent backgrounds, and I am now trying to change the shapes' colors. I've done an hour's worth of Google searching and tinkering to no avail. This seems like such a simple task, but I must be missing something.
For one thing, InDesign is not isolating the shape as it's own path separate from its transparent background; I can only select the bounding box (blue one) and the content box (brown one), both of which are just square boundaries around the object. I eventually was able to use Object > Clipping Path > Options to isolate the shape into a path, but it was either creating way too many anchor points or slightly deforming the shape. It didn't matter anyway, because the fill color was still not changing.
Any idea what I'm doing wrong? Thanks for your help.
InDesign cannot color transparent images in any file format. It can only color non-transparent images. You'll need to do this in Adobe Photoshop.
You talk all the times of shapes. PNG do not have any shapes, they are pixels. Why are you using PNGs?
If you want to recolor pixels in InDesign, they have to be saved as PSD or TIFF without layers and that means also without transparency in grey or bitmap mode in Photoshop.
If you have forms, you should do it in Illustrator, change there the color, save as AI and place it.