Illustrator CC opens file showing missing embedded images. Illustrator 5.1 opens same file fine with no missing images.

New Here ,
Jul 29, 2014 Jul 29, 2014

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How do I get CC to open these files correctly? Is the client saving them incorrectly?

My work around has now become a pain & I need to know why Illustrator CC tells me most/all embedded images are missing in files received by clients.

Illustrator 5.1 opens the files ok & gives me no errors. It does a few funky things because ti says the file was produced with a new version. The file previews fine in the Finder window & shows all images. The issue with opening them in 5.1 is it wants to open 1 page at a time like the AI file is a PDF.

Why is CC failing to recognize the embedded images? Are the images not embedded correctly by the client? Is 5.1 pulling from some lower res version of the images? Files export from 5.1 as hires. Stumped.

Oh my gosh why arent they just using InDesign. : (

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Community Expert ,
Jul 29, 2014 Jul 29, 2014

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Please get informed about how Illustrator saves files and what exactly is in a file and how it is re-opened.

See: http://rwillustrator.blogspot.de/2006/11/whats-in-file.html

When in Illustrator CS5, Illustrator actually opens the PDF part of the file that contains all the images. Always.

When in Illustrator CC, Illustrator accesses the AI part of the file, which doesn't necessarily contain the images.

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New Here ,
Mar 24, 2015 Mar 24, 2015

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That's not a solution. How can I have Illustrator CC read .ai as a PDF? That's the question to answer. A better question is why does Photoshop/Images sees the missing images and Illustrator doesn't?  I have the same "missing file" issue and the only work around is opening the .ai file in Photoshop, select image, open, alter the file for PATH and save either .psd to drop background or tif for picture box placement. I spend too much time with this workaround and I need a software fix or a preference adjustment.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 24, 2015 Mar 24, 2015

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Create a new AI file and place the other file in it. Have you watched the movie I linked?

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 22, 2018 Jan 22, 2018

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Thank you Monika. This is a quick solution.

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Contributor ,
Feb 24, 2016 Feb 24, 2016

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Thanks for pointing it out, Monika.

This is weird. How could you manage to figure it out? Where did Adobe write about it?

Do you know any way to force AICC to open PDF-part rather then AI?

Before AICC: open and edit, resave at will.

After AICC: open, see missing files, open file in Photoshop, save image (and recode it if it was JPEG, which is very bad), relink it.

After AICC Place method: open, write down size, create new document with sizes written down, place, resize (it doesn't get placed in correct size), embed.

You know, this is ridiculous. Adobe again spoils working stuff.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 24, 2016 Feb 24, 2016

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A very good read:

http://rwillustrator.blogspot.de/2006/11/whats-in-file.html

Illustrator has always worked this way:

in case it's possible to access the AI part of the file, it will open it.

If it's not possible, it will try the PDF part.

Opening the AI part is impossible when the file is newer than your version or it's corrupt.

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Contributor ,
Feb 24, 2016 Feb 24, 2016

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Yeah, I've read it long ago, it was a nice insight and I often give a link to it, when asked about different formats. Thanks for this again.

I might have misinformed you, but I'm talking about opening PDF-files now. I'm trying to open provided PDF-file in newest AI. Acrobat shows image, Photoshop shows image, Illustrator says it's missing. It's obviously because client forgot to embed image when saving, so image now exists only in PDF part. If there is a way to avoid routines I wrote above and have images from PDF part be embedded in AI part?

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Community Expert ,
Feb 24, 2016 Feb 24, 2016

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The PDF may of course have an AI embedded and if that is the case, Illustrator will always try to open the AI first.

Of course you can embed images inside the AI part of a file. But you can do this in either of two ways:

- Embed it when working on the file in Illustrator or directly when placing it.

- Embed it when saving as AI (it's an option in the AI document options). But you can't access the AI options when saving as a PDF.

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Contributor ,
Feb 24, 2016 Feb 24, 2016

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Well, I've figured out a way.

Open PDF in Acrobat (not Reader) and resave it as optimized with no actual changes in settings at all (all checkboxes off, retain existing compatibility).

When you try to open this resaved file in Illustrator, it asks about keeping or retaining 'changes' made outside AI.

Keep it. Then it reads PDF-part rather then AI-part.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 24, 2016 Feb 24, 2016

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This will kill the AI part of the file.

Why do you save it "AI compatible" at all?

Don't save it AI compatible and you get the same.

You will lose editability of objects. Effects, multiple strokes, brushes, variable width strokes, whatever. Will be all flattened.

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Contributor ,
Feb 24, 2016 Feb 24, 2016

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Yes, it is definitely I intend to do — ignore AI-part with missing link and read PDF-part with image embedded.

I never saved these files I'm talking about, they are saved by client. They are to be flattened, because they go to printing. But I often had to check geometry and inner dimensions and other stuff before sending it further, so I have to see if with all images presented.

Thanks for the unintentional insight again!

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Community Expert ,
Feb 24, 2016 Feb 24, 2016

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Don't check a PDF in Illustrator.

Acrobat is the app for checking PDFs. That's what it's made for.

Illustrator will interpret files when opening them. It might do it wrong.

Prepression: The Ten Commandments of PDF

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Contributor ,
Feb 24, 2016 Feb 24, 2016

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I wish I just have 'checked' these, but I often have to heavily change them in a way Acrobat can't offer.

'Never try to edit rasters outside PS, never try to work with huge texts outside ID, never do vectors outside AI', yes, everybody tries to, but we all work in ways we feel comfortable with. Everything gets more cross-inherited, everything is live-linked, there are Smarts within Smarts.

Where Adobe fails, third-parties come to help. That's why there's Rasterino with live-crop tool, and live-editing embedded images in PS (long before Adobe finally understood there should be a quick way to un-embed images).

Isaacs and Rosenthol can stick to their pure claims, but they seem to live and write about people using Adobe tools in perfect detached abstract world (where nobody wants handles to snap to grid, have actions to support scripts, assign hotkeys for scripts, disable live shapes and corners and so forth).

In real world separations are often being done ignoring all profiles included because people who embed them don't even understand what they do. Hinting often doesn't matter for huge banners with crazy resolution. Text often got outlined because embedding live fonts often fails because of suspicious fonts used. 'Often' is much worth for streamline then 'never'. People choose what doesn't fail. It's almost always the easiest way — Outline+Expand+Flatten.

When Adobe learns to listen their customers, they surely can teach us.

When I see constructs fail to open, when there's a mixed color spaces, when text goes auto-outlined, I take a note — it's done NOT in AI (which is rare), take cautious. As long as AI allows me to open PDF and warns me about problems — I will do it.

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