Abstract The electronic absorption spectra of In atoms isolated in neon, argon, krypton and xenon matrices have been measured in the energy range between 2.5 and 9.0 eV. This region includes the 5s 25p → 5s 26s and 5s 25p → 5s 25d resonance transitions, higher members of the corresponding s- and d-Rydberg series and the inner shell 5s 25p → 5s5p 2 transitions. A correlation of the absorption spectra with results obtained from magnetic circular dichroism and fluorescence measurements has made it possible to provide a detailed assignment of most of the features in the spectra in spite of the complexities associated with their behavior. For example, the transition to 5s 26s could not be detected in any of the matrices and the 5s 25d configuration was found to be strongly quenched in intensity as compared to the other transitions. In contrast, several Rydberg transitions could be observed for In in Ne. These were satisfactorily interpreted within the Frenkel formalism. Some of these observations have been rationalized by assuming that the average radius of the wavefunction for the excited state is the dominant parameter for the matrix interaction.