Embedding and Linking in Illustrator

Embedding and Linking in Illustrator

When working with Adobe Illustrator, we counter several challenges. Along with the other issues, we also stumble across image related hurdles. In this article we will try to spot and solve such issues.
There are two technical aspects of image related challenges. Linking and Embedding.
Linking and Embedding
After an image is added to an artwork from an outside folder by using the Place (Ctrl + d) command, it can be then linked or embedded. When an image is embedded, a copy of the artwork is incorporated in the Illustrator document. The positive part is that the placed image becomes part of your illustration, and it doesn’t have a link that can be accidentally broken. The Illustrator document’s size increases by the size of the placed artwork. On the other hand, linking the new-placed image only provides enough information to allow Illustrator find the original artwork for display within the image. Linking placed images rather than embedding them keeps the Illustrator document’s file size down and allows the placed artwork to be updated or changed as necessary in its own program.
Embedding places a copy of the artwork within the Illustrator file.
Therefore, a linked image remains separate. It may seem similar to hyperlink option in the Web, where only a pointer is placed in the artwork, and the external image is loaded when the file is opened. Illustrator notifies if any changes is made to the original. The illustration must always be able to find the external image, else it will display an empty shape. The Save As command allows the option include linked files.


Illustrator has the power to place files of various formats. Few formats are suggested to be embedded rather than linked:

The Links palette is used for linked and embedded images. Using the palette is an excellent way to maintain control of and to track images from other documents. Link palette can be brought in from the Windows menu.


Embedding Fonts
Illustrator also allows to include the fonts used when saving files. Embedding fonts ensures that the Fonts are available when the image is opened in different computers. If a font is not embedded and it is not installed in the computer opening the file, a substitute font is displayed by the software. However, that font may not have the same attributes as the other font originally used. Hence, the feel of the artwork may change, sometimes resulting in unwanted appearance!

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