I routinely placed and cropped PDFs within Illustrator, without any issue. From today, when I crop a placed PDF, it gets kind of pixelated after cropping (example below). This never happened before. The quality loss is also observable after exporting the project.

I already removed and re-installed Illustrator, but this didn't help.

Can you please advice how I can fix this?

*Edit: This is how I crop an image: First I select the PDF object with the selection tool. Then I click on "Crop Image" on the Properties panel under "Quick Access". Then I select the area how to crop the image. To finish the process I click "Apply" on the Properties panel under "Quick Actions".

enter image description here

  • Hi! What do you mean with point? Could you further elaborate how to solve the access issue?
    – AJZ203
    Feb 21, 2021 at 10:43
  • Ah yes crop is meant for cropping raster objects. Kts not meant for wht you are using it.
    – joojaa
    Feb 21, 2021 at 11:00
  • Maybe don't use cropping for this because it will rasterize the image. This is normal behaviour and there is nothing wrong. Instead use a clipping mask.
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 21, 2021 at 11:23
  • Thank you joojaa and Billy Kerr! As you said the solution is to use a clipping mask!
    – AJZ203
    May 2, 2021 at 0:15

1 Answer 1


Check the Links panel and make sure the linked PDF is where it is supposed to be.

If you see this icon, the PDF link must be fixed. With a broken link, AI renders a low-res, pixelated preview of previously-linked files.

enter image description here

  • Thank you for your answer. The reason was actually that I need to use a clopping mask instead of the cropping tool. The cropping tool caused rasterization of my pdf.
    – AJZ203
    May 4, 2021 at 16:30

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