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InDesign can't determine how much of your placed image is content or blank and as such offers no way (that I know of) to bring in the psd file that way. However there are many ways you can make the workflow better.
1) Make the images to size in photoshop (why have all that surrounding space)
2) If importing a psd, turn on "Import options" in the place dialogue box. This allows you to turn on/off layers so if your black square is the top object, only show that layer.
3) Make the blending mode (effects) 'multiply' which will get rid of your white surround.
I have .PSD file measuring 10cm square. It's completely blank except for a layer containing a 5cm square box in the middle. Thanks in advance
InDesign will always respect the dimensions of a pixel based image. Bounding area is only an option with .ai (perhaps other vector) files.
when it used to make it 5cm square
Perhaps only if there were a clipping path applied
Thanks guys. But in the past when this has happened it's seemed to be linked to the last image I opened in PhotoShop. Often I have to render PDFs in PhotoShop to send visuals to printers and, depending on what I pick in the "Crop to:" drop down box, in the past has altered the way my next image imports in InDesign. In the past if the next .PSD image imported into InDesign with the extra white space around it, I turned Import Options on and then got similar "crop to" options in InDesign, and (off the top of my head) chose "Bounding Box" to resolve the issue. Now I'm just getting the option to turn layers on or off.
That said, InDesign does now seem to be behaving exactly as you (Daniel) describe. This is annoying because I've been testing this now on a .PSD graphic which used to place and crop to the content, but now places at the size of the full PhotoShop document.
And Rik: I agree that I could crop the original images in PhotoShop, which would technically resolve the issue - and may end up being what I have to do in the short term. But I've got a bee in my bonnet about this now, because this isn't how InDesign has been behaving for me for the past 5 years.
I've tried deleting the preferences for both InDesign and PhotoShop in the vain hope it would be as simple as that. That didn't work.
I'll keep searching for the answer...
I'm almost too emabrrased to write this; however, Daniel, you're absolutely right. I've just gone over some very old InDesign documents containing PSD files which I was sure were going to be cropped to the bounding box, and they're NOT. The options I was talking about in my last post I realise now actually refer to importing .AI files (as you suggested) and not .PSD files at all. I was tired last night; that's my only excuse, and it's a lame one!
But future users who find this thread looking for an answere will appreciate that you posted what you learned. Thanks.