I am trying find an easy way to switching back and forth from Illustrator to Photoshop. I have two files: one is a raster and the other is a vector. I know in Ps you can place smart objects to retain the vector information but when editing the smart object in Ai I need to also have the raster image layer from Ps to reference. Is there a way to bring in other layers while editing a smart object?

In essence I am looking for a way to link a raster file to a vector file in such a way that when either Ps or Ai is opened the respective file is editable and both files are automatically up-to-date.

So when opening Ps I can edit the raster image and see the Ai vectors then be able to switch to Ai and edit the vectors while referencing the newly edited raster image.

Any help is appreciated

  • Not sure I understand. First you want to bring an illustrator file into photoshop, save it as a psd and bring it back into the same illustrator file as before? Is that it?
    – gburning
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 12:44
  • @burnso Sort of. The problem is that the psd file saved with the raster and smart vector object all come in as rasterized once opened in Ai and the smart object loses its editability. I need to save the vector information in photoshop and be able to edit it with the other photoshop layers in illustrator.
    – NewbCake
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 16:08
  • You can't "round-trip" from .ai to .psd, then back to .ai and expect to edit the original .ai in the third instance. That's just not possible. You get a maximum of 2 steps, you're asking for 3.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 21:32

2 Answers 2


In Photoshop CC or Photoshop CC2014, when placing the Illustrator file into Photoshop, choose File > Place Linked.

This will link the Smart Object to the Illustrator file. Edits to the Illustrator file from there on will be reflected in the Photoshop Smart Object.

Note, this is new Photoshop CC behavior and not possible in previous versions of Photoshop.

In Illustrator, simply ensure you place your raster file as a linked file and not an embedded file. When the raster file changes and you switch back to Illustrator, you'll be asked if you want to update it.

Neither app will update external files from itself. So you can't update the PS file when the AI files changes until you actually open the PS file, and when the PS file changes, the AI file won't update until you open it in Illustrator.


I'm afraid that Adobe CS or CC is not conceived in such an integrated way. I have never seen myself in the position you describe but what I would try is to link the psd file you are working on in the illustrator file which at the same time is linked in the psd. I would place it in a hidden layer, so when you are in Ps you can see only the vectors an whenever you want to edit it just open illustrator and show the layer. Iguess you would also see the vector repeated since it is linked in the psd, but it is the only way I can think of to work the way you want to work.

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