Help! Why is my image divided into these small squares/boxes? The file is saved as a PDF file, and when I open it in Ai, it does this when I use the Selection tool and hover over the image.enter image description here

2 Answers 2


This may just be a result of how the PDF was saved. I always find PDF files given to me have images sliced, words separated, strangely placed clipping masks etc. and generally there isn't much that can be done about it.

If it is just a bitmap image then you should just be able to open it in Photoshop and save it to another format. If it is a vector image though, you may have to manually fix it by deleting any clipping masks and using pathfinder to join all the shaped together again.

This is all based on the assumption that the image has actually been split, it may just be something overlaying the image as Kaylee said. Without seeing the actual file it's hard to tell.

  • The argument against a grid overlay is that there are some cells that are not the same size. I note that the two that are larger are all white. I suspect some optimization was done where the blank white areas were split out in order to be able to compress them more: each cell being an arbitrary compression. A one-color white square might compress better with RLE for example. This would mean your assertion about save-as settings is probably correct. Googling "PDF image split" comes up with old complaints pertaining to Acrobat V4 doing this(?)
    – Yorik
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 19:05
  • could be related to transparency or effects though
    – Yorik
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 19:08
  • Very good point. The all white merged cells do pretty much rule out an overlay, and make it being something to do with optimization during save seem a lot more likely.
    – Cai
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 19:24

It looks like the rectangular grid tool. You should be able to select and delete it.

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