I have images created in Photoshop that have a clipping path around the main part of the image and are saved as jpg. When I open these jpg files in InDesign, the image is clipped using the stored clipping path.

When I pull the same file into Illustrator, the background also shows, as if there was no clipping path in the file. Is there an Illustrator setting or some other way to relatively easily get the jpg's Photoshop clipping path to clip the image inside Illustrator without finagling each of these jpg images I import into Illustrator?

I know saving as eps from Photoshop will allow Illustrator to access the saved clipping path, but for several reasons I want to use jpg instead of eps if at all possible, but still have the jpg image clipped inside of Illustrator.

I'm aware of techniques to port a Photoshop path over to Illustrator and use it to mask a raster image, but the reason for me hoping there's something as simple as an option in Illustrator to access the stored path is for the sake of avoiding any workarounds and to save that time.

I'm using Mac OS X El Capitan and the very latest versions of Adobe Creative Cloud apps.


4 Answers 4


JPG images can not store any transparency or clip info at all. You need to review what are you doing.

JPG, PNG, PDF are output formats, this is, formats that other aplications will recognize, but try to stay with the native's aplication file formats as much as you can, in this case use PSD, because all Adobe aplications will, not only recognize it, but take advantages of its features.

Another format that you could use to keep transparencies is TIF, but only if you are using alpha, selection or masks; not for clip paths. The same with PNG, but TIF can store CMYK files, which I presume you need in InDesign. PNG can only store RGB color mode.

EPS is a very old file format. Try to avoid it using PDF instead, but if you need it, yes, it will store a Clip Path.

  • 1
    Thank you for the great reply. It's well thought out and most of it is correct. While the JPG format does not store transparency, depending on the software used to create the jpg, it can and does store clipping path information, and potentially other information, too. There are multiple ways one can store nearly any type of descriptive or other useful information using metadata. Photoshop's clipping path information is stored within the jpg file and is recognized and used by InDesign, and perhaps other programs, too. It may or may not be recognized at all by Illustrator.
    – nollaf126
    Jun 30, 2016 at 13:51
  • Any software can be made to store extra information within the jpg, but since that information would be proprietary, the likelihood of other vendors' programs being able to use that info is low. However, since I have lots of experience using Photoshop to create clipping paths to be used in InDesign, and little experience with Illustrator (which I understand is used far less frequently with raster images), I was just hopeful that somehow, since all these apps live under Adobe's roof, that there might be a chance they had also built the recognition of stored Photoshop jpg paths into Illustrator.
    – nollaf126
    Jun 30, 2016 at 13:51
  • If this is not the case, it may be due to the fact that InDesign was created well after both Photoshop and Illustrator were already on the scene, and maybe it was easier to build this compatibility at InDesign's design-time. Adobe may still have not had enough demand to justify giving Illustrator a retrofit with this same compatibility.
    – nollaf126
    Jun 30, 2016 at 13:51
  • Interesting. The same happened with the PNG with Fireworks, instead of using a specific extension like .fwk. But probably is better if you stick to psd files to keep things more clear.
    – Rafael
    Jun 30, 2016 at 13:56
  • @nollaf126 Adobe is not a very coherent entity. They do one thing then they do another, then they forget that they did one thing and do it again in another flavor and then they remeber how they implemented it and then they remeber why not and then they start over again. In font technology we are at start over again phase, they are re implementing features they removed a decade ago. And yes your right anything can be stored in metadata (data is data).
    – joojaa
    Jun 30, 2016 at 14:50

Simple Answer.. Export your clipping path to .eps. open siad .eps in illustrator, then unmask it, seperating your image and path.

  • Hi Kasper. Could you explain a bit more about how to unmask the clipping path? What menu option or key combination to use? Thanks!
    – Vincent
    Jul 1, 2016 at 9:04

EPS does hold the clip path data and I haven't seen any real issues in print. The preview can be twitchy tho'.

Easiest way to create the clip in Illustrator is to select the path you want to clip in Photoshop with the object selection tool, copy it, and paste the path into your Illustrator doc. Then paste the JPG you copied the path from. While they are still 100% sized, turn the path to a "color" temporarily so you can see it and align them correctly. Arrange the new Path in front of the JPG image. Select both the JPG and path and go to: Object/Clipping Path/Make.

This creates a clipped version of the image. "Group" it to ease resizing issues. The color of the path disappears when you create the clip path.


My teacher told me NO. Because illustrator is based on only for making logo designing. So, photoshop is the best for clipping path for it's some awesome tools for clipping path. Thank you.

  • Illustrator has similar tools for clipping paths, if not better. -1.
    – Vincent
    Jul 1, 2016 at 11:42

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