Is there a possibility to convert an object to be a linked file?

In my scenario I do have an object I exported earlier (so that it can later-on be placed as link). The file I exported it from of course still has the original in it which I would now like to be linked to its "exported self".

Of course I could just delete it and place it again, however this would mean that I would have to adjust position and everything again which I would like to save myself from if there happens to be a quicker way.

I was thinking of something like this: "convert to link > specify link-source > done"

I don't know if I have been dreaming, but I could've sworn I saw a similar functionality either in Illustrator itself or another Adobe program.

  • The functionality you are remembering might be related to the "Links" panel. If you have a link that was placed into an Illy file, you can update the link through this panel. However, if the object was originally created in the ai file, then it will be treated as an "embedded" link, and as far as I know there is no way that you can relink, but you will have to replace it.
    – magerber
    May 16 '17 at 23:03

Illustrator has no commands to convert native objects to linked objects. You can't just randomly change an object to a linked object.

The only way to "convert to a link" is if the object is an embedded object to begin with (most often a raster object). Then you click the Unembed button in the control bar to convert it to a linked object. But this has no baring on objects which are created within the application.

You would have to use the Place command for anything to be a link... then you can update the link as necessary.

You may be able to script a workflow.. export, place export, align with original object, delete original object. Even without scripting, you could perform these tasks to get where you want to go.

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