How to Work with Image Links in Adobe Illustrator

Learn how to work with image links in Adobe Illustrator from expert Will "Focus" Dubois in this Howcast video.


This is How to Work with Image Links and Adobe Illustrator. When you have your open document in Illustrator you're going to want to port in some pictures or different items sometimes. Everything that you bring into Illustrator is linked back to your computer. So, what we first want to do to show you an example of this is we're going to bring in a file. So we're going to go to file, down to place, and once we do that our window, our Explorer window is actually going to open up or our finder window if you're on a Mac. We're going to select one of our images. So I'm going to select this first and I can place this anywhere on the canvas that I want.

So now this is here and it's linked. It's not directly embedded. It's linked. So it saves space on your computer or while the program is running you don't have to worry about it bogging it down. It only reads off the file information and does not place it in your files. So you're not going to have large file sizes or anything like that. So right now we have this weird demon head thing that I created. It's on fire. It's pencily. But this is the file that we're going to take a look at. Now right, we know that this is linked but we don't know where to or what the information is, only that we selected it. So sometimes you have to edit those links and/or change the items that we placed on the board. We're going to go to our window and links panel. Once we click this a little links panel is going to pop up. Just get this out of the way. And you'll notice there is a small thumbnail with the name of your file in there.

At the bottom, you have several options. You have re-link. Sometimes when you shift or you change your actual folder location or the file name, you'll have to re-link the artwork that was linked in and if you click that you can then go in and if it was here, wherever it was in our finder or Explorer window you double click, select that, it will re-link. The other option is go to link which will then, if we click that, if we have multiple layers on our piece and we select this specific link item, it will jump to that item in our layers panel. I'll show you that quickly. Let's create several layers and let's create using the rectangle tool a bunch of rectangles. So now we have a bunch of rectangles and what we're going to do is go to our links panel. We're going to click go to link and you notice that it skips everything that we've created and immediately jumps to our links, so that's how you can find the linked artwork in your piece. Another thing is if you did change your link, when you do that sometimes it won't register in Illustrator. Not immediately. You can hover over this button, which is update link and when you click it, it will automatically refresh your changes so that you see the new image from your link that you re-link to.

The last button, edit original. If you have a default program that opens the type of linked image you have in. Let's say you have a Photoshop file or another Illustrator file and you click this button while that image is selected in your links panel, it will open that native program so that you can edit that image and any changes you make in that program will be reflected in this one. So let's say right now let's get rid of all of these items except for the linked item and let's say we want to change this. Let's go here in our links panel. We don't have to select it and we go to the re-link option. Let's say we change it to another file we have.

This file is a ghostwriter file that I did awhile ago. Open it up and once we opened it, you notice it replaces the file in the same orientation of the one that we had and now this is our updated link. If I want to go back I can change it to the previous file and it will change accordingly in the same bound inbox that the other file was. And that's how you work with links in Adobe Illustrator.

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