You don’t have to create artwork from scratch in Adobe Illustrator—you can import both vector drawings and bitmap images from files created in other applications. Illustrator recognizes all common graphic file formats. Tight integration between Adobe products and support for a wide variety of file formats, makes it easy to move art from one application to another by importing, exporting, or copying and pasting.
About linked and embedded artwork
When you place a graphic, you will see a screen-resolution version of the file in the layout, so that you can view and position it, but the actual graphic file may be either linked or embedded.
Linked artwork is connected to, but remains independent of, the document, resulting in a smaller document. You can modify linked artwork using transformation tools and effects; however, you cannot select and edit individual components in the artwork. You can use the linked graphic many times without significantly increasing the size of the document; you can also update all links at once. When you export or print, the original graphic is retrieved, creating the final output from the full resolution of the originals.
Embedded artwork is copied into the document at full resolution, resulting in a larger document. You can update the document whenever you like; as long as the artwork is embedded, your document is self-sufficient.
To determine if artwork is linked or embedded, or change its status from one to the other, use the Links panel.
If the embedded artwork contains multiple components, you can edit them discretely. For example, if the artwork contains vector data, Illustrator converts it to paths, which you can then modify using Illustrator tools and commands. Illustrator also preserves the object hierarchy (such as groups and layers) in artwork embedded from certain file formats.
For a video on importing and copying and pasting between web applications, see www.adobe.com/go/vid0193.
note: For information on importing Adobe® FreeHand® files into Illustrator, see the Migrating from FreeHand to Illustrator PDF at www.adobe.com/go/learn_ai_freehand_en.
Place (import) files
The Place command is the primary method of importing, because it provides the highest level of support for file formats, placement options, and color. After you place a file, use the Links panel to identify, select, monitor, and update it.
Embedded and linked artwork in the Links panel
You use the Links panel to see and manage all linked or embedded artwork. The panel displays a small thumbnail of the artwork and uses icons to indicate artwork’s status.
A. Transparency interaction B. Missing artwork C. Embedded artwork D. Modified artwork E. Linked artwork
An up-to-date file displays only the file’s name and (in Adobe® InDesign®) its page in the document.
A modified file is one for which the version of the file on disk is more recent than the version in your document. This would occur, for example, when someone modifies a Photoshop graphic that you have already placed into Illustrator.
A missing file is one for which the graphic is no longer in the location from which it was imported, although it may still exist somewhere. This can happen if someone moves the original file to a different folder or server after it’s been imported into a document. You can’t know whether a missing file is up to date until its original is located. If you print or export a document when this icon is displayed, the file may not print or export at full resolution.
To display the panel, choose Window > Links. Each linked file and embedded file is identified by name.
To select and view a linked graphic, select a link and then click the Go To Link button , or choose Go To Link in the Links panel menu. The display is centered around the selected graphic.
To change the size of the thumbnails, select panel Options from the Links panel menu, and select an option for displaying thumbnails.
To sort links in a different order, choose the desired Sort command in the panel menu.
To hide thumbnails, select panel Options from the Links panel menu, and choose None.
To view DCS Transparency information, select panel Options from the Links panel menu, and choose Show DCS Transparency Interactions.
If a linked or embedded file contains metadata, you can view the metadata using the Links panel. You cannot edit or replace metadata associated with a linked file; however, you can save a copy of the metadata in a template and apply it to other files.
Double-click the link in the Links panel. Alternatively, select the link and select Link Information from the panel menu.
note: Don’t confuse “Link information” with “Link File Info” in the Links panel menu; “File Info” refers to metadata.
Select the linked artwork in the illustration window. In the Control panel, click the file name and choose Link Information.
To locate linked or embedded artwork in the document window, select a link and click the Go To Link button. Alternatively, select Go To Link from the panel menu.
To update specific links, in the Links panel select one or more modified links , and then click the Update Link button or choose Update Link from the Links panel menu.
To update specific links, select the linked artwork in the illustration window. In the Control panel, click the filename, and then choose Update Link.
By default, Illustrator prompts you to update a link if the source file changes. To specify that you want to update links automatically or manually, choose Edit > Preferences > File Handling & Clipboard (Windows) or Illustrator > Preferences > File Handling & Clipboard (Mac OS), and set the Update Links option.
You can restore or replace a missing link—one that shows the missing-link icon in the Links panel—or any linked file with a different source file.
If all of a document’s missing links are located in the same folder, you can restore all of them at once. In the Links panel, select all of the missing links, and then restore one of them; the Place dialog box stays open for you to reselect each one.
Select an option for Preserve.
If you select an option other than Transforms or Bounds, you can select a point on the Alignment icon from which you want to align the artwork, relative to the bounding box. If you want to keep the artwork from overlapping the bounding box, select Clip To Bounding Box.
Rather than linking to a file that you’ve placed in a document, you can embed (or store) the file within the document. When you embed a file, you break the link to the original. Without the link, the Links panel doesn’t alert you when the original has changed, and you cannot update the file automatically.
Keep in mind that embedding a file, rather than linking to the original, increases the document file size.
Edit original artwork
The Edit Original command lets you open most graphics in the application in which you created them so that you can modify them as necessary. Once you save the original file, the document in which you linked it is updated with the new version.