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How To Add Drop Shadow In InDesign

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How To Add Drop Shadow In InDesign

How To Add Drop Shadow In InDesign

Adobe InDesign is an excellent piece of technology, and it is great for creating lots of different graphics.

But, there’s no denying that this piece of software can often be difficult to control, simply because it isn’t really that user-friendly.

It can often be difficult to navigate the different menus on this software, and you might find yourself making changes to your design that you didn’t actually want to make. 

One of the best features of InDesign is that you can use it to add shadows to objects on the screen, creating a 3D appearance and taking your design to the next level.

On InDesign, you can add both horizontal and vertical shadows to your objects to create a 3D design. But, it can be difficult to know where to start when you are doing this.

So, if you want to find out how to add drop shadow in InDesign, keep on reading.

What Is A Drop Shadow?

First things first, let’s quickly establish exactly what a drop shadow is. A drop shadow is a shadow that can be added to an object just below or to the side of it.

This shadow matches the design of the original object and acts as a shadow to it. Once added, this shadow creates a backdrop to the object, giving it a 3D appearance. 

When it comes to graphics, a 3D design is something that is often desired, and it can be easily achieved with just a few clicks of your mouse on InDesign.

This feature can be used to put emphasis on a word or object, likewise it can be used to add interest to a boring design.

There are lots of reasons why you might want to add a drop shadow to your graphics in InDesign, let’s take a deeper look at these. 

Why Would You Add A Drop Shadow?

Now, you might be wondering why you would add a drop shadow to your graphics on InDesign.

Like we said, the primary reasons why you might do this are to draw the eye to whatever you are adding the shadow to, or because you want to create a 3D finish for that graphic.

Thankfully, with InDesign, it is pretty easy to add a drop shadow to your graphic. 

You might choose to add a drop shadow to your graphic if you are using InDesign to create a poster.

This would allow you to use drop shadow to draw attention to important information that you don’t want people to miss.

You may also do this if you want to make your document more interesting to the naked eye. Whatever the reason you want to add a drop shadow, you will need to know how to do it.

So, let’s take a look at how to add drop shadow in InDesign.

How To Add Drop Shadow In InDesign

If you want to add a drop shadow to an object in InDesign but don’t know how you are in the right place. To do this, simply follow the step-by-step guide that we have laid out below. 

  1. Go to the toolbox, and select the ‘selection’ tool. 
  2. Using the ‘selection’ tool, find the object that you want to add the shadow to, and select it. 
  3. Using the ‘options’ menu, scroll through to ‘effects’ then select ‘drop shadow’(Crtl+Alt+M). This will pop up the ‘effects’ dialog box, allowing you to see all the drop shadow options that are available to you.
    Drop Shadow InDesign
  4. In the ‘blending’ section of the menu, look for the drop-down menu labeled ‘mode’. This is where you can select the blending mode that suits you, the default is ‘multiply’, but there are various options available. Select the blending mode that works for you.
  5. Next, there will be a small square in black as default. This is where you can select the color of your shadow, and you will be able to change it from black to whatever color you want. When you select the black box, the color menu box will pop up, allowing you to choose your desired color. 
  6. If you want to choose a specific color swatch, you should select ‘color’ from the drop-down and then select ‘swatches’. From this, you will then be able to the desired color. 
  7. Alternatively, to select a color using color mode, select ‘color’ instead of ‘swatches’, you can then use the slider to select your desired color. 
  8. You can then adjust the ‘opacity’ to your desired transparency by typing in your desired percentage. 
  9. Next up, you need to adjust the depth of the drop shadow. You can do this under the ‘position’ section of the menu. You can then type in the value of the drop shadow that you want in the text boxes. Likewise, you can adjust the ‘angle’ text box using the same process. 
  10. Under the ‘options’ menu, select ‘size’ and type in the desired size of your drop shadow. Next, adjust the ‘spread’ to the desired percentage of your shadow’s spread. 
  11. Press ‘ok’ and your designed drop shadow will be added to the image. 

How To Remove A Drop Shadow In InDesign

If your shadow doesn’t work out how you desired, you might want to remove it from the object. To do this, follow these simple instructions. 

  1. Click on the ‘selection’ tool in the toolbox. 
  2. Click on the object which you want to remove the drop shadow from. 
  3. In the ‘object’ menu, select ‘effects’ and then ‘drop shadow’. 
  4. Look for the ‘transparency’ menu, look for ‘drop shadow’ and deselect it. 
  5. Click ‘ok’ and the drop shadow will be removed from your image. 


In short, adding a drop shadow in InDesign isn’t as difficult as it first seems. There are lots of reasons that you might need to do this, whether it be to add emphasis or make a graphic more attractive.

Whatever the reason you find yourself needing to add a drop shadow in InDesign, follow the guide above to make this process simple.

Camden Taylor

Author Camden Taylor

Camden is ARTURTH's Chief Editor, Senior Graphic Designer, and artist from the Pacific Northwest.

More posts by Camden Taylor