In Illustrator, I have a file that I have placed however I've modified the dimensions of the file and using the 'links' panel I've set the size to the file dimensions.

However the bounding box of the object, is still the old outdated dimensions. How can I reset the bounding box to the actual size of the object?

  • "I've modified the dimensions of the file and using the 'links' panel" --- Okay... how? I'm unaware of any ability to alter file dimensions via the lins panel.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 20, 2013 at 0:49
  • I'm assuming he/she means 'reduced the dimensions of the image file outside Illustrator', then relinked the image to update the placed image – which changes the dimensions, but leaves the bounding box in the same size as before.
    – TehMacDawg
    Commented Jan 20, 2013 at 2:20

3 Answers 3


If I understand your question you have placed a linked image, resized the image in Illustrator by scaling/dragging the bounding box, and changed the Placement Options to File Dimensions. Here's how you can get back to where you started:

  1. In the Links pane, change Placement Options back to Transforms.
  2. In the Links pane double-click the linked image, notice the values next to Transform. For example "Scale (H,V): (22%, 22%)" indicates I've uniformly shrunk the image to 22% of it's original size both horizontally and vertically.
  3. Calculate the reverse scaling with the following formula:
    where Pct is the percentage found in the link info, 22% in this example. The resulting calculation is
    100/22*100 = 454.54
    The value is multiplied by 100 to convert the result from the scale of 0-1 to 0-100, suitable for the Scale Tool dialog. This also works if the percentages are larger than 100%
  4. Select your placed image.
  5. Double-click on the Scale Tool in the toolbar, type 454.54 in the "Uniform" box, click Ok.

If you have scaled the image by different amounts horizontally and vertically you'll have to calculate two values, one for each, and use the Scale Tool's Non-Uniform box.

I'm using Illustrator CS5 for Windows.


Looks like Illustrator (CS 5.1) has no auto-adjust for the bounding box after changing the size of an external file. You'll have to do it manually (or simply embed the image). It helps if you set the Alignment point of the bounding box to the upper left corner: in the Links window's menu, choose 'Placement Options…', then click on the upper right point of the 'Alignment' diagram. To resize the bounding box, press the Shift key and drag the bottom-right handle. The box will snap to the image's border.

Screenshot: Placement Options in the Links menu


When I need to reset a placed image's outdated transformations like this, I keep it simple and reliable:

  • Delete it.
  • File > Place the image again.
  • Done. There it is, at exactly the right dimensions.

Takes literally seconds, the File > Place browser is probably still pointing at the same directory.

You know for certain it's reset to precisely the default dimensions. It can't be anything else.

Obvious? Sure.

But on a serious note, it's really easy to overlook obvious, robust, simple methods when you've started hunting for a special feature to do something.

Especially here - at first it seems counter-intuitive to delete something and start again to save time and make something exact. But, a placed file is nothing but a blank frame that points at a file.

You want your old, distorted blank frame to be like a fresh, new blank frame again. So don't spend time trying to reset all the changes you made, adding more data to it trying to mould an old used frame into the shape of a fresh new one. Just get a new frame.

The only valuable data the old frame could have is its exact position - if that's important, create the new frame first, use the super-useful align window to line it up 100% perfectly with the old frame in two clicks, then delete the old frame.

I find this to be the best way to reset placed files in InDesign as well as Illustrator.

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