I've been using Adobe Library in illustrator to store shapes I use often. but i've come across a problem.

I first make a shape I want to store:

enter image description here

I then drag it into Adobe Library:

enter image description here

But when it comes to use this asset again, i drag it out of the library and onto my artboard. However, it's a linked file and not a vector graphic. You can see the difference straight away. original shape on the left, Library shape on the right:

Here they are next to eachother

Confirmed by checking the links panel:

enter image description here

I know it's possible, technically, to add pure vectors to Adobe Library.As i've used the Adobe Capture app to grab stuff when i'm out and about. For example this shape:

enter image description here

Is totally a vector when i drag it onto my artboard:

enter image description here

Am i missing some basic function here or is this simply a case of Adobe giving a different (and more limited) functionality for the desktop application?

5 Answers 5


This is because Illustrator now creates Linked Assets.

In previous versions of Illustrator CC, every graphic asset, once dragged from the Libraries panel into an Illustrator document, was no longer linked in any way to the original asset. Consequently, modifying the original asset in a library had no effect on the copy used in the document. Illustrator assets dragged from a library were 'unlinked assets'.

However, from Illustrator CC 2015, with the Linked Assets feature, an asset dragged from a library to a document is a 'linked asset'. This is the new default behavior. Each modification made to the asset in the Library affects all its linked copies used in Illustrator document(s).

Think of it as a Smart Object in Photoshop. It is still stored exactly as exactly the same vector, the only difference is how it is brought in to your document. You can double click the asset and it will open in a new Illustrator tab and you can edit it there, and it will update everywhere that asset is used.

If you want to bring in your assets unlinked so that they are editable in your document and won't sync with your library asset hold alt while dragging it from the Libraries panel.

  • Thank you @Cai. That was excactly what i was looking for and then some. Commented May 4, 2016 at 9:47

Okay, here is how how I get Adobe library, it's a way to use elements across Adobe applications. Having said that, Adobe library saves it in a way that all Adobe applications can handle. That doesn't mean you can't work on it or edit it, in my version of Illustrator it shows where it was created, and if you double click on the Ai icon next to it, it opens a vector document you can edit. I hope this helped.


I use symbols for what you are doing: cmd + shift + f11. Select the object and in the menu in your symbols pallet click new and save. Then when you need that shape pull it out onto the screen. Make sure to unlink if you are using multiple versions because if you make a change to one object you make it to all.

  • Symbols are basically the same as library assets minus the syncing.
    – Cai
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 14:57
  • Are library assets a CC thing or has that been around for a while? Commented May 4, 2016 at 20:19
  • They are only in CC... They are actually called Creative Cloud Libraries.
    – Cai
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 20:30

So far I've found the Library assets very hard to work with.

  • There is a minimum canvas size so you can't store small assets, well, you can, but they come back into the drawing with large bounding boxes.
  • There is no preview of the Library Asset object as you move or rotate it, so it's hard to make accurate placements.
  • You can't seem to be able to Unlink the Assets once you used them in the drawing.

The above reasons are why I prefer to use Symbols as there are no such issues and from your question I think it's the same for you.


To "embed" (unlink) a vector asset saved in Illustrator "Libraries" panel:

(1) Drag the asset to the Artboard from Libraries panel, then while it is selected...

(2) Go to the "Properties" panel then select the "embed" button.

This enables you to now independently edit the object or customize it without effecting the original stored in the cloud.

In my view this is cumbersome and should be a setting based feature.

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