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This should perhaps be obvious, but I can't find a way to do it in Illustrator. I want Illustrator to paste an object to the location of the selected object (and to replace it in one go, if it can). For example, in an ID card design, I want to replace one photo with another from the clipboard. The choices are Paste (Ctrl-V), Paste in place (Ctrl-Shift-V), Paste in front (Ctrl-F), Paste in back (Ctrl-B), Paste in all artboards (Ctrl-Shift-Alt-V), none of which does the desired action.

The program that seems to be able to do this, of all software, is the buggy LibreOffice Writer. That's my one favorite feature.

2 Answers 2

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If it's a raster image, use the Links Panel to relink (i.e. change) to a different image.

Paste does not mean "replace". Paste means paste -- place the clipboard contents in the document.

By sheer definition, paste should never alter anything already present in a document. The paste command should always be additive, and never subtract. It makes little sense for Illustrator to assume one would want to replace anything merely by pasting.

I suppose, Adobe could implement a "replace" command. But right now, such a command does not exist. And getting Adobe to do anything means it'll take a decade most likely. And one would have to clearly explain to Adobe why such a command was necessary and why all current features are insufficient.

(I'm not a LibreOffice user - are you telling me that one could Command/Ctrl+P 50 times and only end up with 1 copy of the pasted art, not 50 copies?? That seems illogical.)

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  • Yes, when an image is selected in LibreOffice Writer, and I press Ctrl-V to "paste" a new image, the selected image is replaced by the image from the clipboard; meanwhile the position and the size of the selected image remains. Aug 29, 2022 at 11:41
  • I wonder if they would care that you can do this natively in Figma? I suppose now that Adobe owns both (what was up with that anyway) they won't care. Do you remember when Adobe acquired Flash and we all said "finally, they'll bring its UI and features into alignment with the rest of their suite"? Nah, they didn't do that. They went on to try to turn Photoshop into 3D rendering software (which, they've just pivoted on with their new 3D suite thank goodness). So yeah, a decade seems like a reasonable time frame... if at all. Such a handy feature in Figma. Such a time saver in the right use case
    – Tom Auger
    Nov 30, 2023 at 13:49
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I appreciate this question is quite old already - I recently stumbled upon a plugin for Illustrator in Adobe Exchange that does exactly that. It's literally called Paste to Replace so that might be something to look at if you really want this functionality.

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