How to Insert an Image in Adobe Illustrator

You may need to insert an image into Illustrator when working with layouts. In Adobe Illustrator, they call it placing an image. Go to the overhead menu and choose File > Place to insert an image in Adobe Illustrator. Yes! As simple as that!

My name is April, and I’ve been working in the graphic design field for 13+ years now. While traditionally Adobe Illustrator is thought of as a vector graphics program, I find designing layouts just as easy and fun, and in most cases, layout designs involve adding images.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to place/insert an image into your Adobe Illustrator file.

Key Takeaways

  • File > Place will bring up a dialog box for you to insert an image
  • The Keyboard shortcut for placing an image in Adobe Illustrator is Shift + Ctrl/Command + P
  • If using a clipping mask, you can have it inserted and replace the image
  • You can copy an image from Photoshop and paste it into Illustrator as well
  • You can manage your linked images in the Links panel

Note: The screenshots from this tutorial are taken from Adobe Illustrator CC Windows version. 

4 Steps to Add/Insert an Image in Adobe Illustrator

Besides directly copying and pasting an image in Adobe Illustrator, the “correct way” to add an image is actually by placing an image. Here’s how! 

Step 1: Go to the overhead menu and choose File > Place or use the keyboard shortcut Shift + Ctrl/Command + P.

Step 2: This will bring up the place dialog box and you can navigate to the file you would like to place.

Step 3: Notice there are some options at the bottom of the dialog box. If you want to keep the image embedded or linked, make sure that it is checked. 

We are not making a template so we don’t need that option for now. The Replace option is only available if you selected another image within your document before you placed this one. We will look more at that later.

Step 4: Click to place the linked image and it will appear in your document.

I need to resize my image to fit on my artboard, but the image is placed and ready to be used nonetheless.

Note: If you are working with an image in a clipping mask and want to replace it, use the Direct Selection tool to select the image, File > Place, and choose your new image. This time you can choose the Replace image option and the new image will appear inside your clipping mask without any extra work.

Additional Note: Use the links panel to help manage your placed images within Adobe Illustrator.

Final Thoughts

Inserting an image in Adobe Illustrator can be very helpful for designing a graphic or layout. More design elements can add to your capabilities within software like Adobe Illustrator.

Using File > Place will insert the image into your artboard for you to design with. You can also use clipping masks to help design and manage your linked and embedded images in Adobe Illustrator.

Have you tried to place an image in Illustrator before? What did you create with it and was it for fun or work? Let me know in the comments below.

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