The scenario is:

I´m creating a catalogue listing page for a website and i´m working with AI, is possible to replicate the single listing element in a way that allows to apply the changes i do in one, to all the listings at the same time?

  • Not only does it have smart objects, it had smart objects back when Photoshop hadn't heard of this kind of stuff.
    – joojaa
    Oct 23, 2015 at 18:27

2 Answers 2


Instead of TinMonkey's answer, I would use Symbols to do this.

Say you have an object that you've created. In this case, I made a smiley face.


With entire object selected, open your Symbols Palette and click the New Symbol button.

new symbol

Configure your symbol's options and click Ok.

symbol options

This adds your object to the palette, as a symbol. You can then drag out as many copies of your newly created symbol and transform them as you please.

symbols before

To edit your symbol, double click on its icon in the Symbols Palette and it will behave the same as doing that in PS does with smart objects; you will see that AI opens your symbol in Isolation Mode.

blue eye

You can make whatever changes you want to here. In the case above, I made one eye blue. When finished, you can simply double-click outside your object to exit Isolation Mode. You will see your changes propagated throughout your document.

blue eyes

  • This is great, unless he wants to link something other than vector artwork.. if he wants to include a photoshop file this doesn't really help since a symbol cannot contain linked images. Since he asked for an equivalent of a smart object, I tried to give him that. A link to a file that is then edited by its respective creator program and then updated throughout his document. Good tutorial though and definitely something good for him to learn about.
    – TinMonkey
    Oct 23, 2015 at 15:38

File > Place...

This will link a file rather than embed it so if you change the linked file it should update all instances of it. Sometimes you have to manually update the links in the links pallet to have the changes show if you are just switching between documents but it's simple.

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