I have designed a product label in Photoshop CS6 that I will be outputting as a PDF. The label only includes text and shapes so nothing is rasterized when viewing the PDF, and you can enlarge to any size without a loss in quality (as the print house would want).

I need to add a barcode to the label which I have in PDF and vector formats. The issue I have is once placed into photoshop and saved as a PDF, the barcode becomes rasterized with a large loss in quality.

Hopefully you can advise me on how to ensure the barcode stays as a vector like the rest of the PDF label!

  • 1
    If you open the barcode in Illustrator, copy, then paste into Photoshop as a smart Object, It will be vector. Whether or not placing a vector file remains vector is dependent upon the version of Photoshop you are using (which you failed to mention)
    – Scott
    Sep 4, 2013 at 16:06
  • I'm using CS6. I have tried that already, and it DOES remain a vector whilst a PSD format, but as soon as I export to PDF, it rasterizes the barcode... :( Sep 4, 2013 at 16:10
  • Well, I don't know whether it's vector in photoshop, but it certainly is in AI, and I copy it from AI and paste it as a smart object into my PSD file... Really nagging me, as when I save it as a PDF from AI, it saves in vector, it's just not doing it from photoshop! Sep 8, 2013 at 22:25
  • If you don't know its a vector in Photoshop how can you be certain the issue is in the .pdf file?
    – user9447
    Dec 4, 2013 at 14:53

2 Answers 2


If everything you are doing is vector and scalable as you say, why are you insisting on designing this in Photoshop to begin with? Why not do the layout completely in Illustrator/InDesign?

As for the barcode, it may be raster. PDF's don't "have" to be vector, they are just capable. If you would like an eps of your barcode, there are several barcode generators out there. My favorite is: Barcodewriter - Terry Burton

Simply select the type of upc and type in the number, and it will export an .eps version for you. Completely vector.


My first guess is that the barcode is actually a raster graphic embedded in a PDF file rather than actual vector artwork. If that's the case and you are subsampling images to a low resolution in the PDF export that would explain the loss of detail.

  • No, the barcode isn't a raster graphic. In its original form I can zoom into it an unlimited amount without a loss of quality. 100% vector Sep 4, 2013 at 22:56

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