Access digital assets in Creative Cloud and AEM Assets using Adobe Asset Link, use the assets, and upload them, without leaving your Creative Cloud app.

Adobe Asset Link strengthens collaboration between creatives and marketers in the content creation process. You can access content stored in Adobe Experience Manager Assets (AEM Assets), without leaving the Creative Cloud desktop apps you are most familiar with. You can seamlessly browse, search, check out, and check in assets using the in-app panel in InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.

You must have a valid Creative Cloud for enterprise subscription to use Adobe Asset Link. For more details, see Prerequisites.

Adobe Asset Link panel

Adobe Asset Link is installed as an extension in your Creative Cloud apps. Your IT admin configures and deploys the Adobe Asset Link panel. Once installed and configured, you can open it from the Extensions menu (Window Extensions Adobe Asset Link).

For easy access, you can configure your workspace to include the Adobe Asset Link panel. For more information, see Manage Windows and Panels.

Adobe Asset Link panel
Adobe Asset Link panel

A. Current location B. Sort list C. Search field D. Search location E. Panel menu F. Filter options G. List/Grid/Gallery view H. My checked-out assets I. Check-out status J. Context menu K. Refresh button 

Current location

(A) Displays the location of the file. You can click the drop-down arrow to go back to a parent folder.

Sort list

(B) Allows you to sort the assets or search results alphabetically, by size, and by last modified.

Search field

(C) Allows you to search for assets, type a keyword in the search field and press Enter.

Search location

(D) Lets you target your search on a particular location, for example, a folder, collection, or the entire AEM repository.

Panel menu

(E) Displays actions that you can perform on the panel, such as configuring the check-out location of assets and managing AEM environments.

Filter options

(F) Allows you to filter search results across AEM, Creative Cloud, and within specific folders and collections by file type and asset modification date.

List/Grid/Gallery view

(G) Allows you to switch between the list view, grid view, and gallery view.

My checked-out assets

(H) Displays all the AEM assets that you have checked out.

Check-out status

(I) Displays on an asset's thumbnail if the asset is checked out. It indicates that the asset is locked and only the person who has checked it out, can modify it.

Context menu

(J) Displays the actions you can perform on the asset. Depending on the status of the asset, the options include Check-out/Check In, Cancel Check-out, Open, Download, Place, Find Similar, and File Details. Each asset has a context menu.

Refresh button

(K) Reloads the assets or search results in the panel. It can be useful when uploading a new asset or when multiple users are working concurrently in the same folder.

You can use Adobe Asset Link to work with and modify assets stored within your organization's digital asset management system–Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Assets. With the in-app panel, you don't require a browser to download or upload assets. The Adobe Asset Link panel displays digital assets from your AEM Assets environment. You need not sign in to AEM Assets. When you sign in to your Creative Cloud app, you are automatically authenticated in AEM in the background through Adobe's identity management system (IMS).

Use the Adobe Asset Link panel to browse or search for assets. To edit an asset, check it out from within your Creative Cloud app. After editing, you can check it back in, without leaving the app. You can also use Adobe Asset Link to browse read-only assets in AEM Assets, including logos, standard designs, or templates. You can download and include such assets in your creative artifacts. However, you cannot modify the assets.

Adobe Asset Link also prevents conflicts by indicating whether assets are already checked out, which prevents other users from overwriting the assets.

Organizations can choose to store their digital assets across different AEM environments for various reasons. For example, an organization can store its assets in geographically distributed deployments owing to its heterogenous storage infrastructure. An organization that has numerous digital assets can choose to store assets of specific types and formats in dedicated environments for efficient management.

If your organization stores assets across distributed AEM environments, use the Adobe Asset Link panel to switch between these environments. Depending upon where your assets are stored, you can add more environments or modify the properties of the active environment. You can also remove AEM environments from Adobe Asset Link.

Whenever you change an AEM environment, the Adobe Asset Link panel is automatically reset to the Home view.

To let you access multiple environments, the administrator can configure them in the Adobe Asset Link settings file when installing the Adobe Asset Link panel. However, you can add an environment by yourself if the admin shares the URL or you already know it.

Display the Manage AEM Environments view

Use the Manage AEM Environments view to add, modify, and switch between environments.

To display the Manage AEM Environments view, select the Manage AEM Environments option from the Adobe Asset Link panel menu.

Manage AEM Environments menu option

The Manage AEM Environments view lists AEM environments that are added to Adobe Asset Link along with indication whether you are authorized to access them. A check mark appears against the environment you are currently accessing.

Manage AEM Environments view

Add an AEM environment

To add a new AEM environment, click + on the Manage AEM Environments view.

In the Add Environment dialog, specify a name and the URL of the AEM Environment. Then, click Save.

Add AEM Environment dialog

Note:

To be able to add a particular AEM environment, you should have the required access permissions for the environment.

The new environment is listed in the Manage AEM Environments view.

Switch AEM environment

To switch to a different AEM environment, open the context menu of the target environment and select Switch Environment

Switch AEM environment

Click Switch to confirm. A check mark appears against the new environment indicating that it is now the active environment.

Note:

If you switch to a different AEM environment during a download, upload, check-in, or check-out operation an Action is in Progress message is displayed.

Modify AEM environment

You can modify the name and URL of any AEM environment that is added to Adobe Asset Link. Open the context menu of the target environment, and select Modify.

Modify AEM environment

Edit the name and URL for the environment and click Save.

Modify AEM Environment dialog

The change is reflected in the Manage AEM Environments view.

Remove AEM environment

You can remove an AEM environment that you no longer require. Open the context menu of the environment you want to remove, and select Remove.

Remove AEM Environment

In the dialog, click Remove to confirm. The environment is removed from the Manage AEM Environments view.

Remove AEM Environment dialog

Note:

Adobe Asset Link does not let you remove the AEM environment that you are currently accessing. The Remove option does not appear in the context menu of a currently active environment. 

Once you open the Asset Link panel, it displays all files and folders that you have permission to read. You can search and browse digital assets stored in AEM Assets. Also, you can search for assets stored in your Creative Cloud account.

  • To search for assets, folders, or collections, type a keyword in the search field and press Enter. By default, the scope of search is set to All, which means it is a global search. All relevant assets, folders, and collections within AEM Assets are displayed, not just the entities in your current location. Assets in your Creative Cloud Assets account are returned in a separate section below.
  • For faster and more targeted results, you can search directly within a folder or collection. First, navigate to the lowest folder or collection that contains the artifact you’re looking for. Then, change the option in the drop-down list to the left of the search field to In Folder or In Collection. Depending on your location, the options in the drop-down list change dynamically.

Note:

  1. The selected option in the search drop-down list automatically resets to All after you close the search results, or navigate to a new folder or collection.
  2. When you search within a folder, all matching assets and child folders within the current folder are returned. When you search within a collection, only matching assets, folders, and other collections that are direct members of the collection are returned.
  3. If you search for collections from the top level, only individual collections are returned in search results. Assets or folders within the collections are excluded. In all other cases (for example, within an individual collection or in a folder hierarchy), all relevant assets, folders, and collections are returned.

  • To close the search results, click  in the search field, which brings you back to the location where you were before the search. You can also delete the text manually, and then press Enter.
  • To navigate back up the higher sections of the content hierarchy, use the breadcrumb next to Inside. If you are in the Asset Link panel, you can focus on the drop-down using the keyboard shortcut Shift + B, and then navigate using arrow keys. To select a location, press Enter.

Note:

If you are in the Asset Link panel, you can use the Tab key to bring focus on the context menu. To open the context menu for an asset, press Enter. Use the arrow keys to navigate through the context menu. To select an action, press Enter.

 For the keyboard shortcuts to work, you must first select the Asset Link panel. Otherwise, keyboard actions are governed by the shortcuts of the respective product, for example Illustrator.

Note:

The search functionality in AEM analyzes asset metadata, asset name, and the path of assets, folders, and collections. For optimal use of AEM's search functionality, review the following guidelines:

  • Special characters (periods, underscores, and dashes) used for an asset split the search into individual terms. Each term is part of the search index. For example, an asset named blue-running-shoe-12.jpg will contact blue, running, shoe, 12, and jpg in its search index.
  • Any phrases entered into the search field with special characters split the search into separate items. Each item is used in the search.
  • Use double quotes to convert your search into a specific phrase, rather than searching on the individual items. For example, “blue running shoe” requires that results have the full phrase. The search phrase “shoe 12” returns results that include shoe followed by 12, separated by either space, or a special character.
    • The search functionality analyzes metadata fields. Therefore, generic numeric search, such as searching for 12, can return many results. For better results, enclose the search phrase in quotes, or ensure that the number is contiguous to a word without a special character (for example shoe12).
  • To broaden the search, use an asterisk before or after the search word. Exact matches are returned for single words. For example, searching for run without an asterisk does not return any other variation of the word (unless run is specifically used in the metadata of the asset). Review the following examples:
    • Run* will return running.
    • *run will return outrun.
    • *run* will return all possible combinations.
  • To exclude a word from search, specify a dash before it. For example, running -shoe returns results that contain running, but not shoe.
  • Use the plus sign to remove asset tags from the search parameters and limit matches to asset file names/titles and metadata. For example, +shoe only returns assets that include the word shoe in their metadata. Assets that are tagged with shoe are excluded.

Similar to proprietary assets, Adobe Stock images that reside in AEM Assets, whether licensed or not, are displayed while searching and browsing. Adobe Stock images appear in the same folder location that they reside in within AEM assets along with any relevant proprietary assets.

Unlicensed Adobe Stock images that are displayed in the panel retain an official Adobe Stock watermark, licensed Adobe Stock images do not. All Adobe Stock images include a reference to Adobe Stock in the file's name, and an Adobe Stock icon indicated with "St."

Note:

To work with Adobe Stock assets in AEM Assets, you require an enterprise Adobe Stock plan and AEM 6.5 or AEM 6.4 with at least Service Pack 2 deployed. For more information, see Use Adobe Stock assets in AEM Assets.

Find Similar

Adobe Asset Link also allows you to use an asset to search visually similar results within AEM Assets. Powered by machine-learning with Adobe Sensei, the visual search displays results with aesthetic characteristics related to your target image.

To find images that are similar to an asset, open the context menu of the asset and choose Find Similar. The Search field then evolves into a Similar field with the asset’s thumbnail and its title/name. And, similar assets appear in the panel results.

Note:

To use the Find Similar feature, ensure that you have the Smart Content Service enabled for your organization and AEM 6.5. For more information, see Enhanced Smart Tags.

Find similar assets
Find Similar

To close the results, click  in the Similar field.

Note:

When you find similar assets, the results are already sorted by relevance. Adobe Asset Link does not provide any other sorting option.

You can quickly and easily access AEM Assets Collections from within the Asset Link panel. The panel displays collections—Static Collections and Smart Collections—as per the permissions assigned to you. To access collections, do the following:

  1. In the Asset Link panel, navigate to AEM Assets Collections.

  2. To view the folders and files within a collection, select the collection.

The Asset Link panel allows you to add new assets to AEM Assets from within your creative app. You can create assets using Creative Cloud apps that you are familiar with—Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign—and upload them to AEM Assets.

To upload an asset to AEM Assets, open the asset in your creative app and do the following:

  1. In the Asset Link panel, navigate to AEM Assets > Files, and select a folder to upload the asset.

    Note:

    In the current version of Adobe Asset Link, you can only upload to a specified folder, not into Collections or an individual collection.

  2. The Upload Asset button is present if you have the permissions to add an asset to the folder you have selected.

    Click Upload Asset.

    Upload Asset
    Upload Asset
  3. Click Upload.

  4. If an asset with the same name exists in the selected folder, the Name Conflict dialog box displays.

  5. To save the asset as a new version of the existing asset, click Create Version.

    Clicking Keep Both, the existing asset stays as is, and the new asset is uploaded appending 1 to the name. For example, if the name of the existing asset is summer_brochure.jpeg, the name of the new asset is summer_brochure1.jpeg.

To see the new asset in the folder, click the Refresh, or navigate away from that folder location and return.

You can sort assets in the Asset Link panel by relevance, alphabetically, by size, and by last modified. To sort assets, click the Sort drop-down list, and select an option. By default, Adobe Asset Link sorts assets alphabetically. However, when you search for assets, Adobe Asset Link sorts the search results by relevance.

Note:

When searching for assets in folders or collections, the option to sort assets by relevance is unavailable because it is redundant. 

Note:

When displaying the contents of a folder or collection, the sorting function only affects the order of assets. Child folders and collections are displayed before assets in alphabetical order of their names.

Sort assets
Sort assets

You can also filter assets in the Asset Link panel by file type, and by last modified. To filter assets, click the filters icon, select an option, and click Apply.

You can also run a search and filter the assets that are displayed as a result.

Filter options
Filter options

When you apply filters, a blue dot displays next to the filters icon.

Filters applied
Filters applied

The filters stay applied as you browse through the folders and collections, until you clear the filters manually. To clear the filters, click the filters icon and the click Clear All. Click Apply to confirm.

Adobe Asset link provides several ways you can use an asset in your creations.

  • To incorporate an asset on the document you are currently working on, drag the asset to the artboard. This action embeds the asset in the document.
  • Open the context menu for the asset, and choose Place.
  • Select an InDesign frame and then drag or place the asset using the context menu. It embeds the asset in the document.
  • Download a copy of the asset. Open the asset's context menu, and choose Download. The file is downloaded to your default download folder.

Note:

Both place and drag-and-drop actions are equivalent to embedding the asset. 

Note:

When you drag-and-drop, the asset is rendered on the document that you are working on. To get the full resolution asset, download the asset first. You are prompted to download the asset for full resolution each time, because the asset may have been modified while you were working.

Drag assets
Drag assets

When working with InDesign documents, you can directly link to assets within AEM Assets using the Place Linked option in the context menu. If the original asset is modified in AEM Assets, refresh the link to ensure that your InDesign document includes the latest version of the asset. To directly embed assets in your InDesign document, use the Place Copy option.

Place Linked option
Place Linked option

Embedding an asset (using the Place Copy option) places a copy of the original asset into your InDesign layout after downloading the binaries to your local system. Adobe Asset Link does not maintain any link between the embedded copy and the original asset. If the original asset is modified in AEM Assets, you must delete the embedded asset from the InDesign file, and re-embed the asset from AEM Assets. 

If you reference an asset, Adobe Asset Link maintains a link to the original asset in AEM Assets. You can ascertain whether the original asset has changed in AEM Assets by reviewing the Status column in the Links panel in InDesign (Window > Links). Here is a description of the various kinds of status pertaining to referenced assets and the action required.

Icon Status Description Action
Linked The asset matches the original asset in AEM Assets. No action is required.
Modified The original asset in AEM Assets has been modified. To link to the updated asset, double-click the icon.
Missing The link to the original asset is lost. Double-click the icon, and relink to another asset in AEM Assets.
Offline Adobe Asset Link cannot access the original asset. Check for any issues in the network that connects to the AEM server. 

Note:

InDesign Server is not yet supported within the deep linking workflow.

If the AEM server is configured to generate FPOs, low-resolution renditions are placed in your InDesign document when you use the Place Linked option to reference assets. 

FPO renditions are lightweight substitutes of the original assets. They have the same aspect ratio, but are of smaller size compared to the original images. Currently, InDesign supports importing FPO renditions for the following image types only:

  • JPEG
  • GIF
  • PNG
  • TIFF
  • PSD
  • BMP.

If an FPO rendition is not available for a specific asset in AEM Assets, the original high-resolution asset is referenced instead. For FPO images, the status FPO is displayed in the InDesign Links panel. 

FPO status
FPO image

To replace the FPO image with the original image in AEM Assets, choose Download Original from the pop-up menu. 

Download Original
Download Original

After the original image is downloaded, choose Replace FPO With Original, or simply double-click the FPO icon.

Replace FPO with Original
Replace FPO with original image

If you want to replace multiple FPO images with respective original images, choose the Download all Originals option. After the original images are downloaded, choose Replace all FPOs With Originals

Note:

If your InDesign document includes multiple FPO images for the same asset, all of them are replaced with the original asset even if you replace a single FPO image. In other words, you cannot have a combination of FPO and original images for the same asset in your InDesign file.  

Importing high-resolution images (300 dpi) (using both the Place Copy or Place Linked options) into your InDesign layout may cause the app to appear unresponsive. It is because, each file must be downloaded locally. If the AEM server is behind a slow network, you might have to wait for a substantial amount time before you can resume working on your designs.

If FPOs are available, you can reference multiple FPO images in AEM Assets simultaneously, and work more efficiently on your layout design in phases. Once the design is finalized, you can download the original high-resolution assets to replace the placeholder assets. 

You can drop the FPOs anywhere in the InDesign page from where you reference the asset.

Image placed anywhere
Randomly placed FPO

If you reference from within a frame, the FPO is placed inside the frame.

Placed in frame
FPO placed in frame

Note:

Depending on the configuration of AEM, when FPO renditions are placed without a frame, their size may differ from the original (they retain the aspect ratio). It is therefore recommended to place linked assets from AEM into a frame in the first place.

If you create a package for an InDesign 2020 document with broken links, the Links and Images panel displays instead of the Adobe Asset Link panel (in Relink mode). When you attempt to relink from the dialog, the local directory is opened.

When you check out an asset, files are stored in a location specified by the check-out configuration. By default, it is set to Creative Cloud Files.

To modify the check-out configuration, do the following:

  1. Choose Check Out Configuration from the panel menu.

  2. From the Check Out Location drop-down list, select Creative Cloud Files or Hard Drive.

    Creative Cloud Files

    The checked out assets are synced to the cloud using Creative Cloud. However, ensure that File Sync is enabled and not paused.

    If you're using Adobe Asset Link from another device, the assets are available there as well, and can be checked in from there.

    Hard Drive

    The assets are checked out to a local folder on your device. It is recommended that if you're checking out assets to your local folders, check in the asset from the same device.

    Checked out files are saved in the same folder structure as on AEM Assets. The parent folder, however, depends on your check-out configuration.

    AEM Assets path Creative Cloud Assets path Hard Drive path

    /content/dam/pictures/fall/blue-wall-architecture.jpg

    Creative Cloud Files\AEM Assets\pictures\fall\blue-wall-architecture.jpg

    C:\Users\<User name>\AEM Assets\pictures\fall\blue-wall-architecture.jpg

    Note:

    After the files are checked back in, they are no longer available in the location specified in the Check Out Configuration.

  3. Click Save.

To modify your assets, you can check out AEM Assets directly from the creative app you are working on, and can immediately begin making edits. To check out an asset, do the following:

  1. Click the More Options button below the asset.

  2. Click Check Out.

    The asset is checked out from AEM Assets, and opens in your Creative Cloud app. The asset thumbnail displays a checked out status icon.

    Behind the scenes, the files are stored in the folder specified by the Check Out Configuration until they are checked back in. All checked out assets are saved into a master folder named AEM Assets in Creative Cloud.

    Caution:

    Do not move, rename, or delete an asset from the check-out location. Changing the file path breaks its link with AEM Assets and you cannot check in the asset.

You can collaborate with other users and share a private folder from your Creative Cloud account with specified users. Collaboration works seamlessly, if your check-out location is set to Creative Cloud Files. You can access the file using Creative Cloud and share it.

Note:

Once you check in an asset from the Adobe Asset Link panel, the asset no longer appears in your Creative Cloud Assets.

To collaborate using Creative Cloud Assets, do the following:

  1. Modify and save the checked out asset.

  2. Navigate to your asset using the Creative Cloud Assets website. Alternatively, you can browse to the asset on your device using Finder or Explorer.

    • If you are on the website, click the folder's More Options button, and choose Share.
    • If you are on your device, from the context menu, choose an option to share.

    To know more about collaboration, see Collaborate on Creative Cloud Libraries and folders.

You can easily check in assets back to AEM Assets with proper versioning and comments after you have finished editing them in your Creative Cloud app.

To check in an asset, do the following:

  1. Click the asset's More Options button and select Check In.

    Note:

    After editing your asset, ensure that you save it (Ctrl+S) before checking in.

  2. Add your comments and click Check In.

    The comments you enter appear in AEM Assets along with the version of the asset.

    Note:

    After check-in, the assets will be automatically moved from the AEM Assets folder specified in the Check Out configuration into a deleted folder.

To discard the changes made to a checked out asset, you can cancel the check-out. Canceling the check-out releases the asset and unlocks it for other users to check out and modify it. Canceling check-out results in the changes being lost.

To cancel the check-out, do the following:

  1. Click the More Options button below the asset.

  2. Click Cancel Check Out.

  3. Click Continue.

    The Asset is released and removed from the check-out location. The asset thumbnail no longer displays a checked out status icon.

You can access file details for assets in AEM Assets, for example thumbnail, basic metadata, and versions from within the panel.

To access the file details, open the context menu, and select File Details. You can also click directly on the assets thumbnail or asset’s name directly in the panel to access the file details. To view all versions of an asset, click the Version list.

With Adobe Asset Link, brands can easily grant their agencies access to project assets by adding the agencies as a trusted domain in their environment. For step-by-step instructions, see whitelist trusted domains. If domain trusting does not comply with company policy, the company must provision a Creative Cloud for enterprise seat for the agency so its assets belong to the company.