Placing Images


1. To place an image or photo on your Illustrator document, do NOT ever just COPY and PASTE on your Illustrator document. Use linking just like Indesign and Quark Xpress. First off go to WINDOW > LINKS to open up the links tab if its not open already. I usually like to have mine docked onto the interface so I can just toggle it without going through the menu.

Whats the difference? You can always copy and paste onto Illustrator through your OS clipboard. The reason why this is a bad practice is because it makes the Illustrator file to be much bigger than a simple vector file. It will take longer to print on your own (or at the printers), color profiling mismatch can happen (for instance if your image is RGB but your Illustrator document is CMYK), and again its just a bad design practice.

IMPORTANT: If you do this method, you HAVE TO supply the original image that you PLACE onto the document. If you have a Illustrator file (i.e brochure.ai) but you also use images in the project in other folders, you need to supply the images that you used when you send it off to a printer. Your project WILL NOT print the images if it’s not supplied. A good practice to do is to put all images and illustrator file into one folder and burn it on a CD/DVD and supply that to the printers.

2. To begin, go to FILE > PLACE.

3. And then a dialog box should appear. Just choose the image that you want to use from the window. And then click PLACE.

HINT: You can link not only just images but EPS, PDF, PSD, TIFF, AI, etc…

4. You get the processing window. Depending on the image size, it might take time. Now after that is complete, you should see the image in the links tab that you toggled open (if it wasn’t open).

5. Your image will appear on the Illustrator document.

6. The little buttons on the LINKS tabs do various things. The button on the far left lets you re-link the file if you want to choose another picture. The button next to that centers viewing focus onto that link. If you have a file with multiple images, you can just select your image on the LINKS tab and find where in the document it is used. The button 2nd to the right updates your image that you placed onto your Illustrator document. For example: if you place an PSD, and you go into photoshop and make changes to that PSD, you can go back to Illustrator and hit that button and it will update it to the latest version of that file automatically without doing the FILE > PLACE command. The button to the far right will open up the document in your image editing program which is most likely Photoshop.

15 Responses to “Placing Images”

  1. gaby said:
    September 27th, 2009 at 10:12 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Nice! and very effective tip..good job

  2. kknax said:
    January 20th, 2010 at 10:25 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Very helpful but I’ve got to go back because I not this far advanced in using illustrator. I know photoshop but I’m completely new to illustrator. Because the tutorial was well written and reasonably clear, I was able to follow along. I will have to come back to it when I catch up! Thanks!

  3. Chris said:
    January 22nd, 2010 at 2:14 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    No problem :)

  4. Pasang Sherpa said:
    April 7th, 2010 at 7:22 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    A nice tutriol for everyone playing vector graphics with Adobe Illustrator. Thanks and please make us up to date

  5. TINA said:
    August 8th, 2010 at 11:27 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    i am confused,,,??? so that means if i place image it wont print????

    i don’t get it??? even im new to it…

  6. Mike said:
    December 3rd, 2010 at 6:24 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    I’ve been using Photoshop for a while, but I’m very new to Illustrator, so forgive me if this is a dumb question. Would it not be easier to create your frame, artboard, etc. in Illustrator and then import that into Photoshop to place the photos?

    What’s the advantage of pulling the photos into Illustrator?

    Thanks for all the work you’ve done on these tut’s, btw.

  7. Chris said:
    December 4th, 2010 at 3:02 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    @Mike: It maybe easier to import it into Photoshop but if you want to print the project, it is better to print off of a vector program instead of a pixel based program (Photoshop). You ALWAYS want to set type in Illustrator or a vector based program because the type setting will be much crispier and won’t be pixel based. Just make sure that your photo is @ 300ppi for print projects. And it is important that your photo is set to CMYK instead of RGB.

    I know there are times you would want to print off of Photoshop due to effects used, but printing off of Photoshop should be the very last resort.

  8. Anonymous said:
    February 22nd, 2011 at 1:55 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Hey … Printing in Photoshop is just fine for any text above 8 point. Illustrator purest are correct about crispness. Yet it really only matters on small text… or in some cases if you are printing on fabric. Ask random persons if they know the difference between Serif and SanSerif and they just glaze over. Same with viewing a printed ad or package. People only care about the overall message. On the other hand, if you are an A.D. or a Lawyer… you may be way to into that 6 point type.

  9. outkast said:
    July 19th, 2011 at 10:09 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    very useful infos, great tutorial
    im new to AI and PS, but i still understanding what you wrote
    thanks SOO much

  10. Anonymous said:
    August 4th, 2012 at 7:04 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    many thanks! very useful steps!

  11. Moon said:
    March 3rd, 2013 at 12:53 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Thanks Chris for answer one of my many problems and questions concerning the use’s of Illustrator and Photoshop. I use Illustrator for the initial design set up and then go into photoshop to enhance and digital paint the image to another level but I never thought about placing the image back into illustrator for the text and print process. And yes sometimes the pixel vs vector font problem has arisen it’s ugly head for me. Hard to believe I am still learning these programs after many years of use lol.

  12. What is Adobe Illustrator? | Creative Communications said:
    June 14th, 2013 at 7:52 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    [...] Adding images. A short and simple tutorial showing you how to place actual images into [...]

  13. Chris said:
    November 15th, 2013 at 12:22 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Hi,
    I often place a png image in my artboard, then copy it several times (trees), and lower the transparency. When i save as a pdf it looks fine, but when i print that pdf the images fragment (chunks missing), so i have triangular pieces of tree. Any thoughts?

    I’ve also tried using the image without linking the file and i have the same problem.

  14. Chris Takakura said:
    November 15th, 2013 at 2:56 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    @Chris: It’s generally not a good idea to print a png file, while placing a transparent TIFF file would be best.

    There is probably some compatibility issue with your PNG file if it’s coming out distorted like that. I do not think it’s a placing issue but rather the source file itself. Try a .TIFF file instead.

  15. Anonymous said:
    November 15th, 2013 at 1:51 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    @Chris Takakura: Thanks! I’ll try that.

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