I have been tasked with updating a poster that the client used last year. Should be fairly simple, just edit the file, change the date and shrink it from A2 to A3. But I only have the pdf that was sent to print to work with. This pdf has embedded images. They show up fine when viewed with a normal pdf viewer, but Illustrator insists on using the linked files, which I dont have access to.

How can I make illustrator use the result of the linked images from the pdf, rather than trying to use the original files and applying the transformations to them?

Illustrator from CS6 btw.

2 Answers 2


You can extract the images with Adobe Acrobat.

I don't think I've ever seen a PDF opened in Illustrator request image links. PDFs embed images by default.

  • And the images are indeed embedded. They show up in the osx pdf viewer. And the PDF had been printed, so the images must be in it for them to be on the printed poster. Will try extracting them with Acrobat now. Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 17:05
  • You might also try resetting Illustrator preferences.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 17:13
  • Got them out with Acrobat and relinked them in Illustrator relatively painless, but still confusing why it needed them at all. Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 17:23
  • @MathiasNielsen My guess is, it was an Illustrator-created PDF with 'maintain Illustrator editing capabilities' ticked - so Illustrator treated it as an .ai file, reading the file link, and Acrobat treated it as a PDF, going straight to the embedded copy. Scott actually wrote a handy explanation of how AI pdfs and ai files work as two-part containers just the other day: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/19690/3327 Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 10:09

Sorted when in Illustrator and saving a print qual pdf, in the standard drop down select pdfx1a- This will embed the images. For the original problem try placing the pdf in an indesign document of the same size and resaving a hi res pdf.

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