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How to Link and Embed Images in Adobe Illustrator: Design Tips Post #3

Design Tips Mini-Series

Tutorial #3:

How to Link and Embed Images In Adobe Illustrator

Welcome to part 3 of the LabelValue Design Tips Mini-Series. A weekly series of articles by our graphic designers featuring helpful hints and tricks about designing great labels.

  • linking and embedding images illustrationIf you missed last week’s post on, “How to Equally Distribute an Object Around a Circle,” you can view it here
  • You can view our first post on, “Tracing Objects With The Pen Tool in Illustrator,” here.

 

What are we learning this week?

In Part 3 of our  Design Tips Series we will be going over how to link and embed images in Illustrator, and the differences between the two options.

If you place an image in Illustrator and save the file as an .ai or .pdf and email it to someone, you may hear back from them saying that they can’t see the images that you placed in the file. This commonly happens when the file is opened to be edited or prepared for print. This is because Illustrator’s default setting for placing images involves having the image linked, not embedded. We will go over both options in this tutorial and give you best use cases for each!

Don’t be shy – reach out to us!

As always, if you have questions feel free to reach out to us via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or e-mail. We’d love to hear from you!

Great Files Go a Long Way!

From dealing with a lot of customer files, we’ve seen that the jobs that go smoothest from start to finish are the ones with well-prepared files. Whether you design your labels in-house or hire a designer to create them for you, we always suggest going over our artwork requirements. This drastically reduces the lead time from placing an order to actually receiving it!

How To Link Images In Adobe Illustrator:

 

What is a Linked Image?

When an image is linked, it means that Illustrator is referring to an image file somewhere on your computer. Once the Illustrator file is separated from the image it will no longer be visible or linked within that working file. Linked images are very useful if you are working on a file that has several images or design elements in it as it keeps file size much lower.

The Pros of Linking Images:

  • It keeps the file size of .ai documents smaller than when elements are embedded.
  • If you edit an image in another program such as Adobe Photoshop, and save that image, it will automatically update your linked image in Illustrator without having to reimport your new changes.
  • One image copied and pasted multiple times will not increase the overall file size of the Illustrator document.

The Cons of Linking Images:

  • Moving or deleting files or folders that contain linked images can create instances where your file is missing linked content.
  • When you send an Illustrator document containing linked content, it must be packaged. If these linked files are not included when the file is sent, the document will not be editable. This can cause immediate issues if the document is going through a prepress process preparing for print.
  • Linked images that are not correctly linked will cause a drastic decrease in image quality, or may not show up at all in the final print.
Linking Images in Illustrator Step 1

You can link an image in Adobe Illustrator by following these easy to follow steps:
Begin by opening your Adobe Illustrator file that you need to link an image to. You can link a number of different file types, such as .jpeg, .png, Adobe Photoshop (.psd), Adobe Illustrator (.ai), and many more!
1. Once your working file is opened, click on >File in the top left corner of Adobe Illustrator.

Linking Images in Illustrator Step 2

2. Once the file menu appears, Select Place….

Linking Images in Illustrator Step 3

3.  A dialog box will appear prompting you to navigate to the file you need to link.
For our example, we made a specific folder within our working file folder called “Linked Images,” that way all of our content can be easily found if an image needs to be relinked.
(Note: It is important to have an organized file structure when linking files. Keep your linked files within a folder with your working Adobe Illustrator file. This will make it much easier to package, zip, and send a linked working document when ready to print!)

Linking Images in Illustrator Step 4

4. Once you find your image to be linked:
a. Select it from the dialog box.
b. It will automatically default to importing as a linked file, as shown.
c. Click place.

Linking Images in Illustrator Step 5

5. Illustrator will import the selected image into your working file as a placed image. With the image selected, Illustrator will display the image as a “Linked File.”

Linking Images in Illustrator Step 6

6. If you click on the words “Linked File” in Adobe Illustrator it will bring up a Links panel with a variety of options. Here you can relink your file if needed or update a link if it has been edited. Explore the options panel to see all the available options.

Linking Images in Illustrator Step 7

7. Lastly, if you need to convert the linked image to an embedded file, Adobe Illustrator makes it easy to do so. Simply click the embed button and Illustrator will make this an embedded image.

 

How To Embed Images In Adobe Illustrator:

 

What is an Embedded Image?

Embedded images are contained within the file itself and do not refer to another file or folder on your local computer.

The Pros of Embedded Images:

  • An Illustrator document with embedded imagery is a self-supporting document. You can send the document as is, and not worry about image links breaking if the file/folder is moved or deleted from its original location.
  • Great for local use if document is being shared on a network drive.
  • Excellent option for smaller file sized documents.

The Cons of Embedded Images:

  • File sizes may become large due to multiple images embedded in a single file.
  • Images will not automatically update when edited outside of Adobe Illustrator.
How to Embed an Image in Adobe Illustrator Step 1

Much like linking a file, Adobe Illustrator makes it very easy to embed images into a working file as well.
1. Once your working file is opened, click on >File in the top left corner of Adobe Illustrator.

How to Embed an Image in Adobe Illustrator Step 2

2. Once the file menu appears, Select Place….

How to Embed an Image in Adobe Illustrator Step 3

3. A dialog box will appear prompting you to navigate to the file you need to embed.

How to Embed an Image in Adobe Illustrator Step 4

4. Once you find your image to be linked:
a. Select it from the dialog box.
b. In the options it will default to automatically linking the file, deselect this option as show in the guide above.
c. Click place.

How to Embed an Image in Adobe Illustrator Step 5

5. Illustrator will import the selected image into your working file as a placed image. With the image selected, Illustrator will display the embedded file as an “image.”

How to Embed an Image in Adobe Illustrator Step 6

6. Clicking on the word image will bring up a panel of additional options for your embedded image. Explore the Embed panel to see a variety of options available for your embedded image.

How to Embed an Image in Adobe Illustrator Step 7

7. Adobe Illustrator also gives you the option to “Unembed” an image if linking becomes a better option. To do this, simply select the image you want to unembed, and navigate to the top menu in Illustrator. Here you will see a button that reads, “Unembed.” Click this and a dialog box will appear.

How to Embed an Image in Adobe Illustrator Step 8

8. Illustrator gives you the option to save a linked file of embedded image as either a Photoshop file (.psd) or a TIFF (.tif). Select a file type and click save. Your embedded image will now be a linked file.

Have any feedback, or need an answer to a design question you have? Give us a call or e-mail us at service@labelvalue.com, address the e-mail to “Graphics Team,” and we will get back to you with an answer shortly.
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