How to Embed Images in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator has a massive toolkit for creating and editing graphics, but it also allows you to paste separate image files into a project. You can combine logos, text, cartoons, 3D graphics, and photographs together as you see fit, and it only takes a few simple steps. Below, we've shared how to embed images in Illustrator, so that they're contained in a project at full resolution.  

1. Before launching Illustrator, we recommend prepping the image that you'd like to embed. Illustrator isn't designed for photo editing, so it's easier to use Photoshop or a generic editing program to take care of any cropping, contrast, and other important settings. For best results, you should use images with 300 DPI (dots per inch) or higher. Then, create a new folder to store your photo, the Illustrator project, and any other relevant files. 

2. Now, launch Illustrator and go to "Window" > "Layers" to show the Layers panel, if it isn't already visible. Click the "Add New Layer" icon located on the bottom right side of the panel (it looks like a piece of paper with one corner folded over).    

3. With your new layer selected, choose "File" > "Place" to insert your image file. A file directory will appear, allowing you to locate the Illustrator project folder. Click on the image thumbnail, and then click "Place". The image should now appear on your artboard with a red border and an X through the middle.  

4. If necessary, you can click and drag on the image corners to adjust the dimensions, or change the image alignment with the Transform Palette. Typically found in the program's upper right corner, the Transform Palette has options for aligning, resizing, and rotating your image.   

5. Once these steps are complete, it's easy to learn how to embed images in Illustrator. Just make sure that your image is selected (there should still be a red border around it), and choose "Embed" from the top toolbar. This will ensure that the image is actually included in your Illustrator file. 

6. Finally, we recommend waiting until you've completed the project before embedding the image file. The Embed option is designed so that if you share an Illustrator project file with another user, the image will be included. While you're still working on the project, however, there's no need to embed any images. Remember to save backup files as you go, just in case you make a permanent change that you want to undo!

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