How Do I Embed Linked Images in Illustrator?

By Laurel Storm

Illustrator displays a list of all images that are linked or embedded in your file in the Links pane; from that pane, you can embed a linked image. Before embedding, remove all images that aren't an integral part of the finished artwork, such as those you used just for reference, to avoid bloating the file size unnecessarily. The process works identically in Illustrator CS6 and Illustrator CC.

Step 1

Click "Window" and select "Links" to display the Links pane, if it's not already visible.

Step 2

Select the images you want to embed in the Links pane. To select all of them, click the first one in the list, hold "Shift" and click the last one; to select only some of them, hold "Ctrl" and click each one.

Step 3

Click the "Menu" button on the Links pane and select "Embed Image(s)."

Tips & Warnings

  • To quickly embed an image, select it using the Selection tool and then click the "Embed" button on the Control bar. This also works when embedding multiple images, but in that case, using the Links pane is usually faster.
  • To unembed embedded images, select them and then click "Unembed," either using the Links pane and menu or using the Selection tool and Control bar. Illustrator then prompts you for a location to save the image. When unembedding images, you can save them only as PSD or TIFF files, regardless of the original format.
  • Embedded images are identified in the Links pane by a square icon that contains an overlapped rectangle and triangle; the entry for linked images displays no icon.