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Adobe InDesign: Why Can’t I Select Anything?

by Barb Binder, Adobe Certified Instructor on InDesign

From a recent Rocky Mountain Training Introduction to Adobe InDesign CS6 student:

I am experiencing issues with the Selection tool. The tool is not selecting any text or graphic box. Is there a setting that I might have changed? Any advice would be great!

Looking at your file, so I can see that you built your left body page on the left master page. (Note: master pages were renamed parent pages with the 2022 update.)

It feels like the Selection tool isn’t working because you have to be on the master page to reselect those objects. Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens all the time. We think we are on one page, and find that we on another.

Adobe InDesign CS6: The Pages panel

Fortunately, there is a very quick fix:

  1. Window > Pages panel
  2. Double click the left master page icon to display the left master page.
  3. Select the Selection tool (the black arrow)
  4. Edit > Select All
  5. Edit > Cut
  6. Double click a Body page icon to display the appropriate body page.
  7. Edit > Paste in Place

Remember: only repeating elements (headers footers page numbers) go on master pages.

It worked!  Thank you for your help and the reminder!

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7 thoughts on “Adobe InDesign: Why Can’t I Select Anything?

  1. Thank you so much. I found your answer today, six years after you originally wrote it! I’m so grateful it is still posted.

  2. Thank you! This saved my butt at 3 a.m. finishing up a project! I wish you were in Virginia. I’d hire you every day!! Do you have online learning? I’m going to go looking NOW!

    1. Hi Linda:

      Chances are the content is on the master pages and you are on a body page. Open Window > Pages and navigate to the master pages to change the template content. Return to the body pages when finished.