I'm working on a comp provided by a designer. It's an Illustrator file. My normal workflow is I copy (to the clipboard) a visual element from Illustrator and paste it into Photoshop. This allows me to work on and prepare the element I need to turn into a PNG for use on the web.

The first day, elements I copied to Photoshop were large and high-res. I knew the percentage to reduce them when saving for the web in Photoshop to make them right (27.33%). However, on day two, when I copied elements (some same and some others, but all in the same file) they came through into Photoshop as regular size (e.g., I did not need to scale them down).

I never saved the Illustrator file, so it's not something in the file I might have changed. I assume this is some kind of setting?

I know this must be something bone-headed I did, but I can't figure it out.

  • 1
    (1) are the elements you're copying from Illustrator raster or vector? (2) Were they natively created in Illustrator or placed from some other program? (3) did you change something in the Photoshop file, like the dpi? Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 12:15
  • 1. How do you tell? 2. Native, I think. 3. No
    – Justin
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 22:50
  • I wondered this myself and thought I had lost my mind. When copying to photoshop I hardly get the same size. Wonder if there is an explanation behind this...
    – Yisela
    Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 10:48
  • Raster or vector: either you can edit the points and lines in Illustrator, or you can't (that is, it's a solid image). Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 12:37
  • I can edit the points.
    – Justin
    Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 15:09

4 Answers 4


When you copy something from Illustrator and paste it into Photoshop, Photoshop places it with the same "physical dimensions" that the object had in Illustrator. So, if your object is 14 inches wide in Illustrator, it will place the object in Photoshop at 14 inches wide, regardless of how many pixels that is.

Take a look at this screenshot, and note the dimensions on the rulers:enter image description here

Notice how the object is ~4.5 inches in each of the images. This was the same Illustrator object placed into 2 different Photoshop images.

So if you want objects from Illustrator to copy over to Photoshop at their exact size, you need to make sure that Your Photoshop Document is using the same Pixels per Inch that your Illustrator document is using.

To change the Pixels per Inch in Photoshop, go to Image > Image Size, deselect "Resample Image," then change the Resolution. To change this in Illustrator, go to Effects > Document Raster Effects Settings and change the Resolution. Make sure you set the Resolution to 72ppi for illustrator and photoshop it wont work for anything higher.

  • Very helpful. I've been looking into this as well, and I haven't found that the Document Raster Effects resolution affects the dimensions that—say, a square is imported at. In my findings a 4x4in (illustrator) square copied and pasted into photoshop will always import at 4x4in in Photoshop independent of the Document Raster Effects setting. Am I wrong in this? Please enlighten me if I am.
    – cholson
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 5:26
  • The document raster effects ppi only effects "photoshop effects" which you use inside your Illustrator document from the Effects Menu. For example, Gaussian Blur. So yes, it would have no impact when importing that illustrator file into photoshop, aside from any raster effects possibly being pixelated if your photoshop document has a higher ppi than your raster effects ppi in the illustrator document.
    – Tim Mackey
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 16:25

I finally remembered an instance where this happened to me:

When you are copying the element out of Illustrator, pay attention to stray points. Occasionally an item has a single loose point not connected to anything which somehow gets grouped with the element you're copying, or there's something all the way out in the pasteboard of the layer which is selected if you "select all."

When you paste into Photoshop, it pastes the entire item, whatever the width. If your item is (random numbers) 250px wide, it comes in at 100%. But if the 250px item is grouped with a single no-fill no-stroke point 600px to the left, the "entire item" is 250px plus 600px, so it comes in as 850px, which then needs to be scaled down to 33%.


I know this is an old question but for those that still want an answer…

Photoshop will round up on non whole numbered assets because it is a raster based program. This means that a graphic pasted at: 1066.396 x 314.376px will render in Photoshop at: 100.06% x 100.20% or 1067.04 x 315px (proportionately)

Try to use whole numbers on imported graphics and you will avoid any lossy imports.

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    – Vicki
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 18:45

I don't have much experience with Illustrator and don't understand much of its inner magic, but I had a similar problem. Each time I copied something from Illustrator to Photoshop the layer was huge. Example copy an 800px x 200px layer from Illustrator into Photoshop, the image would stretch to the dimensions of the Photoshop document width 1680px x 1050px @ 300 ppi. I wondered if it had anything to do with the ppi and ensured that Illustrator was the same 300ppi in the Document Raster Effects Settings. Same problem. So I tried the reverse.

Success was achieved when I made sure my Photoshop document remained at 1680px x 1050px but at 72ppi while my Illustrator document was also set at 72ppi.

I don’t understand why Illustrator doesn’t seem to like exporting out at anything other than 72ppi, but that fixed it for me. Then I was able to change my photoshop settings back to 1680px x 1050px at 300ppi and everything stayed as it was meant to be and my universe was as it should be again. I hope this is useful. If someone is able to explain why this works, it would ease my inner learning OCD.

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