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"Placing" linked PDF File in Illustrator for Markup Edits?

Aug 5, 2012 10:16 PM

When I highlight text in a PDF file that is linked to an Illustrator file (PDF is "Placed" in the Illustrator file as a linked object), text highlights in the PDF file do not show up in Illustrator when I update the link.  Does anybody know why, or is there some setting or workaround to force the PDF markups to show up in Illustrator?


Reason for Question


I often use Illustrator as a PDF editor because it is much more flexible than Acrobat's clunky editing tools.  There are some significant problems however.  If you open a PDF page in Illustrator, you lose some stuff like paragraph formatting, which Illustrator wants to left justify (same problem when opening an AutoCAD file in Illustrator).  You can also have trouble with missing fonts like Helvetica, which isn't a default system font because it is licensed and expensive.  Illustrator will swap the missing font out with a substitute so it can edit the text.  (Acrobat will do the same thing if you try to edit a font that isn't loaded in your system).


A workaround to maintain exact registration if I just want to mark up a PDF file (rather than changing the text) is to "Place" the PDF file in Illustrator.  When Placed, the file behaves like an object the isn't editable in Illustrator (you can edit a Placed object from Illustrator, but Illustrator will use the authoring application to do the edits, in this case, Acrobat).  I you are interested doing the same thing,... when I use Illustrator to mark up another file like PSD, JPG or PDF, I initially open the file in Illustrator to capture the dimensions, and then delete everything, and then "Place" the file back into Illustrator.  You can optionally link or embed the Placed object.  After Placing, I use the transform tool to move the Placed Object's upper left corner to 0,0 (XY Coordinates) to acquire registration, lock the layer, and do my markups on separate layers.


This procedure is a bit clunky and requires multiple construction files but Illustrator's vector tools are much better than the most of the markup tools (but not all) in Photoshop or Acrobat.  A Photoshop file will link to Illustrator, and you can export it back to Photoshop, but the Illustrator construction file will not be "linked" into Photoshop, so if you need to make changes with Illustrator you have a couple of options.  You can open the Illustrator smart object from Photoshop (Photoshop will launch Illustrator to do the edits), or you can delete the smart object and work on the Illustrator construction file directly and re-import.


Since you can't select the text of a Placed PDF file object in Illustrator to highlight text, I'd like to do some of the text highlighting in the linked Acrobat file upstream of Illustrator.  I should be able to bounce back and forth with both files open, the Illustrator construction file and the linked PDF file.  Problem is that when I add a highlight to the PDF file, it does not show up in the Illustrator placed object that is linked to the PDF file.


So back to my original question.  Does anybody know why PDF text highlights do not show up in Illustrator when the PDF file is placed as an object in Illustrator?  Is there a workaround to force the PDF text highlights to display in Illustrator?


FYI, I working on a business presentation and need to mark up a few pages of IRS publication 463, which is a 58 page PDF document with a bunch of "destination" links (10 to 20 links per page).  I can extract a page, do my markup edits, and then "replace" the page back into the original Acrobat file and all the links and bookmarks will still work, but registration is critical.


I'm using CS6

Thanks in advance for your insight.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 6, 2012 1:04 AM   in reply to taskerus

    PDF markup/ comments is metadata and rendered live inside Reader/ Acrobat. That's why e.g. callouts will even look differently between different versions. Or IOW: There's no graphical objects at all that AI could render and I'm not aware of any way to enforce them to render to graphics data other than exporting the whole page as a graphic from Acrobat.



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