I tried both options in Photoshop. Both created their own layers. When double clicked them, both opened the original PDF file in my PDF reader.

So what's the difference between them and is their any specific use of each of them?

1 Answer 1


They're a measure of how Photoshop handles the object you've placed in the Photoshop file.

Embedding takes the placed content and puts the entirety of it within your working file.

Pros: The content is a persistent part of your working file


  • It can greatly increase your filesize.

  • If the original placed file is changed later, the version you placed will not reflect those changes.

Linking the file takes the placed content and creates a dynamic link from that object to your Photoshop file.


  • Placed objects won't appreciably affect your filesize.
  • Placed objects will live-update to reflect any changes made to them

Cons: If opened from another computer or the location of the original content you placed changes, the link will break and the object will not show up in your Photoshop file until they're relinked.

Both of these options will look the same - but they function differently based on your needs. To think about it metaphorically, embedding physically pastes the content into your file and linking creates a signpost that tells your file to go look in a specified location and to display what's in that location.

  • the link will break and the object will not show up in your Photoshop file until they're relinked. I just experimented. Placed linked image. Saved and closed PSD. Deleted the original linked file and opened the PSD again. I see the warning on Layer panel, but the image visually is still there. The document is still useful if no more edits are required. No?
    – Vikas
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 2:51
  • try printing or editing, tho
    – RozzA
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 2:54
  • You obviously can't edit them, but you can print the file and rasterize the layers. Composed preview is always saved inside the psd for any smart objects. Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 9:08

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