How to Link and Embed Images in Adobe Illustrator: Design Tips Post #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.
- If 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!
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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.
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.
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