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When you begin to place images inside of Adobe Illustrator, you're going to have to deal with something called the Links panel. In this movie, I am going to be exploring the Links panel, and exactly what it is, and how it helps you work with bitmapped images inside of Illustrator. I'm currently inside of Adobe Bridge, but you could simply open this file that I'm about to open directly from Illustrator if you want to. It's called missing_link.ai. I am going to find it right here, and I'm just going to open it up. When I open it up, you're going to see that I get a warning box telling me that it could not find the linked file, missing_link.jpg.
I can either choose to replace that, select another file, or I can ignore it, and leave the link unchanged. Any time you have artwork that's linked inside of an Illustrator document -- it doesn't even necessarily have to be a JPEG or a TIFF -- Illustrator is going to come up, if that object has been moved or changed since the last time you opened it, and it's going to tell you, hey, I can't find this file. So you are going to have the option to either replace it with another file, or go find the original. You can also ignore it and continue working, or you can simply hit Cancel to say, I don't want to really work with this file right now.
For now, I'm going to go ahead and hit Ignore. When I hit Ignore, you are going to notice that there's no image on my screen. However, I do have this bounding box here in the middle that indicates there's something supposed to be there. In order to get this image back into my artwork, I'm going to utilize the Links panel. To bring up the Links panel in Illustrator, you go to the Window menu, and choose Links. Once you do that, the Links panel will appear. If you have linked artwork inside of your document, it will automatically show up inside of the Links panel.
If there's a problem with any of the links, you'll see a small red X out to the right side, indicating that there's no link there. So in this case, with this link selected, I have a couple of options. I can use the Relink button to go out and find that link again; I can also Go To Link, Update Link, and Edit Original. Since this is currently missing, I cannot update it, because no changes have been made to it necessarily; Illustrator doesn't even know where it is. And I can't edit the original, because Illustrator doesn't know where it is.
So the first thing I need to do is relink the file. So let's click this little link button, and it's going to take me into a file browser. You're going to navigate to your Chapter 12 Exercise Files folder, find the images folder, and then inside of the images folder, there should be a graphic entitled missing_link. Once you find it, click Place. It will then replace that empty box with the artwork that was missing. You'll also notice that the Links panel now shows a thumbnail of the missing_link.jpg, the red X has gone away, and all of the options at the bottom are now highlighted.
I now have the ability to Relink, Go To Link, Update Link, or Edit Original. So let's start right here; Go To Link. Well, what exactly does this mean? If I don't have anything selected in my current document, I can target the link, and then hit Go To Link, and it will automatically go to the part of my document where that link is, and make it an active selection. So if you have several pieces of linked artwork in your Illustrator document, especially small pieces that are hard to define, you might want to select them in the Links panel, and then hit Go To Link, to allow Illustrator to find them for you.
It's almost like a search button. You can also choose to update the link. So if you go out, and you edit this file inside of Photoshop, or another program, you may want to come back in and hit this little update button, so that Illustrator goes out, finds the latest version of the file, and then updates it here inside of the document. This makes sure that you're seeing the exact representation of the file in its current state. I haven't modified this link outside of Illustrator yet, so really this doesn't have any point right now. Finally, there's the Edit Original button; this is going to allow you to open this file up in its original editing application.
In most cases, if you have the Creative Suite installed, it's going to open it up in Photoshop, but if you've created a ping graphic inside of Fireworks, it would automatically launch Fireworks, and allow you to edit in there. In addition to the buttons at the bottom of this panel, you also have a panel menu, and the panel menu has several options available to you as well: Relink, Go To Link, Edit Original, Update, and it also has Placement Options. If you look inside the Placement Options, you'll see that you can Preserve Transforms, you can clip it to a bounding box, and down here, it explains exactly what those mean.
If you choose to preserve the transforms, this will fit the linked file into a bounding box, and the replaced file will preserve transformation, but not the bounds. Basically what this means is, if you place a square photo into a rectangular container, it's not going to alter the photo, but it will crop it inside of that box. If you want to make a change to this, you can change stuff like File Dimensions, Proportions, Bounds, etcetera. For each different file that you place in Illustrator, these Placement Options might be different, so you might want to take a look at these.
For now, I'm just going to hit Cancel, because I am happy with the way it looks. In addition to that, inside of this Options dialog box, you can also reveal the file in Bridge, making it easier for you to find it on your hard drive, and you can also view Link Information. The Link Information screen is going to tell you the name of the file, the location of the file on your hard drive, the size of the file, what type of file it is -- in this case, it's JPEG -- what day it was created, any type of transforms that have been performed on it -- in this case, you see it's been scaled down to 73% -- and also, if it lives on a server, where that is located.
Once I'm finished looking at this information, I can hit OK. There's really no other point to that dialog box. As I said before, linking files inside of Illustrator does increase the file size, but it's a great way to get raster-based objects into your Illustrator designs without having to embed them into the file. However, if you find that you are going to be transferring files with linked information from person to person, or even sending it off to a printer, you may want to think about embedding your images directly into Illustrator, and we'll cover that in a future movie.
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