Skip navigation
Currently Being Moderated

Embedded images result in enormous filesize

Mar 31, 2013 1:52 PM

Tags: #file #illustrator #image #size #cs6 #embed #filesize

I'm using Illustrator to crop and arrange a number of raster images. However, I'm starting to have file management problems, because the Illustrator files quickly balloon in size.


Example: I got public domain jpg image of a deer off the Wikimedia Commons. This jpg image is 0.35MB. I opened up a new Illustrator document, placed and embedded the image, and saved the document (with the 'pdf compatible box' unchecked). The resulting Illustrator file is 7.7MB in size, over 20 times the size of the embedded jpg image.


I've looked around these fora, but other than the 'pdf compatible box', I couldn't find any good solutions. Could anyone suggest a workaround? Or is there some other option or preference that I could tweak? I need to use embedded images rather than links, but the files are getting out of control (>100MB).


The screen capture at the end of this post shows the situation. In the top folder in the screencapture, the image file is highlighted, so you can see the filesize. In the lower folder in the screencapture, the Illustrator file is highlighted, so you can see it's filesize. Then you can see the open Illustrator document on the right.

(edit: the forum software is no longer allowing me to add images, so I've put the screencapture on Google Drive here: haring)


The .ai file with the embedded image is here: haring


I'm using Illustrator CS6 64-bit, v16.0.3 on Windows 8-64.


Any advice would be greatly appreciated,



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 31, 2013 2:23 PM   in reply to asee23455



    When you File>Place the image, you may tick Link.


    With this, Illy uses the image as an external file that only appears in the document, and the AI filesize remains low.

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 31, 2013 3:47 PM   in reply to asee23455



    One reason for bloating filesize is that when you start messing with JPEGs you lose the compression, so it is a bit like trying to fly with liquid helium still in the tank without letting it inflate the balloon.

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 31, 2013 5:00 PM   in reply to asee23455

    This behaviour is entirely normal. The pixel information becomes part of the Illustrator file and is therefore in Illustrator format.

    To see the real uncompressed size of your JPEG files, try saving them in other formats, for example uncompressed tiff.

    You will see that the Illie files are not really bloated, it’s just that the JPEG compression has been removed from the images, which is why you should keep your images linked for as long as possible.


    Why do you think you need to embed the images?

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 1, 2013 2:13 AM   in reply to asee23455

    As long as the pixel image is in the same folder as the Illie file, Illie will have no trouble finding the image.

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 1, 2013 5:34 PM   in reply to asee23455

    If you are going to work in a silly way then Illie isn’t going to help you.

    Simply put your pixel image into the same folder as the one that your Illie file is in and she will be most obliging :-)

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 1, 2013 6:19 PM   in reply to asee23455

    I offer some insight here, hopefully.


    When you embed the image and also create a pdf compatible ai file it embeds the file twice one for the ai file and the other for the pdf version of the file. The file size includes twice the image data so it will be considerable.


    If you turn off this option it will reduce the file size but you will not be able to place the file in another program with a preview as the preview is a part of the pdf data.


    Not only that but you will not be able to print the file to a non-postscript printer that is it must be outputted through the postscript process or if you wish a postscript driver.


    In the past the generally accepted and recommended method was to link the image as a way of working and maintaining a smaller size file and then use the Include Linked Images option in the Illustrator Save Options dialog so only the file you sent the printer would be large. Of course if you are like me and make back ups of everything then you would now have a copy of what you sent the printer as well and the original file which would take more space than a single file with the embedded image.


    The more modern way of doing this is to work with the link file and then save it as a pdf as well the pdf will be considerably smaller in size and the linked ai file will be as well together they will be about the same as an ai file with the pdf compatibility turn off which is another way of doing this which is fine if you are not placing or opening the file in another application or sending it to a non postscript driver for output.


    I recommend for your purposes to work linked, the traditional way, and output to pdf and send the pdf to the printer or if you are a member of the Cloud link the image and use the new collect for output mechanism which will collect you file images and fonts for out put in a neat folder for you, or at least that is what I understand.


    This is only a suggestion not a directive, it is meant to be helpful. Please feel free to ignore it entirely if it does not suit your needs.

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 7, 2013 11:16 PM   in reply to asee23455


    reading all these was really informative for me, i was on the go to learn more about document management softwares and this gave me something to manage images too, thanks.

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 19, 2013 8:35 AM   in reply to asee23455

    My IT guy told me a few years ago that the reason Illustrator links turn to garbage is because in Illustrator the entire filename location is used in remembering the link (not a relative link as you can use with a web site) and there is a limit of 256 characters, and it's an absolute link, meaning includes the root level server/disk name. For example if you use: MyMainServer/2013ClientProjects/PrettyLongClientName/TopofthelineProd uctline>DeliciousFlavorline/HeightWeightSizeline/ProductFancyLongName/ Labelstructure/Links, for your folder hierarchy, you have used over 150 characters already for your links, and if you think you have the modern 256 characters for your filename, think again. If you get garbage links, then you have exceeded 256 characters in your absolute filename. Keep it short!!


    Linking files is still the best, but you need short folder and file names, not too deep, and putting links in the same folder as the art are recommended.


    Sort your items in the folder by naming them, not by putting them in folders (such as, start image names with "IMG_", other categories give them their own prefix.)


    If you think you need to embed, think again. If you just need it to send a proof to the client, do one of two things: (1) take a screen shot (you have a big monitor right?) or (2) more professional, save an eps (then you will need to embed) and then process it into a pdf of the desired resolution in Distiller (then toss the eps of course). (Adjust settings of an existing setting to get the size you want and "Save As" settings if necessary in Distiller.)


    If you are sending to a commercial printer, it really shouldn't matter in most cases how big the files are, but if you're sending a proof to your own printer and don't want to hog the bandwidth, do one of two above.


    If you are worried about file size for storage, new 2T drives are about $120 and falling.


    Sorry there is no simple answer, but that's the way it goes for those of use whose first application is Illustrator, not InDesign. It would be nice if somebody at adobe took a look at harmonizing functions such as saves, links/imports, tool behavior etc., across applications.

    Mark as:

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (1)

Answers + Points = Status

  • 10 points awarded for Correct Answers
  • 5 points awarded for Helpful Answers
  • 10,000+ points
  • 1,001-10,000 points
  • 501-1,000 points
  • 5-500 points