Is there a way to keep the jpg compression in .ai-files with embeded raster graphics?

Ok so I had an .ai-file of 2800kB.

I pasted a 2MB jpg in the document and the file is now 16MB.

So I guess the JPG is converted to some pixel graphic so transforms etc. could be done easily. And maybe also saved an extra time in the PDF-preview.

However I find this a wast of space, since I mostly use jpgs as visualisation/illustration. Is there a lighter way?

  • Try to link them externally... I'm not sure if Illustrator allows that.
    – Rafael
    Mar 21, 2017 at 5:40

1 Answer 1


Yep, you can do this. You can either keep them embedded and turn off Create PDF Compatible File, or you can link to the original files (and still turn off Create PDF Compatible File).

Linked files

If you place an image using FilePlace, it will link to the image by default. You can check this by opening WindowLinks — if the Embed Image(s) action is available, it’s linked.

Illustrator Links panel

However, you’ll notice if you now save your file, it‘s bigger. That’s probably because you have Create PDF Compatible File turned on. If you do, Save As, and turn it off.

Create PDF compatible file in Illustrator

Size comparison

I’ve saved some test files with linked and embedded versions. The image and linked file add up to roughly the same size as the embedded file.

Files in Finder

426KB + 924KB = 1,350KB (~1.4MB)

  • good to know that by disabling pdf compatibility teh AI file is nolonger possible to easily embed in indesign for example.
    – joojaa
    Mar 21, 2017 at 13:32
  • @joojaa Oh, yep, it definitely comes at a price. It’s best to leave it on, if you can! You also lose the preview in the Finder. Mar 21, 2017 at 13:44
  • Thanks for answer, but I still don't quite get my own calculation. 2800 + 2000 = 16000????
    – agiopnl
    Apr 24, 2017 at 12:06
  • 1
    @agiopnl I assume there’s multiple copies of the image and vector data inside the file. I think “PDF compatibility” means there’s a separate PDF portion that’s a duplicate of the Ai data. Apr 25, 2017 at 0:56
  • Probably something like that, still doesn't add up very well :p
    – agiopnl
    Apr 26, 2017 at 23:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.