Copy Vectors from Illustrator to InDesign (or vice versa)
Everybody knows that you can copy objects from Illustrator and paste them into InDesign — maintaining the editable vector outlines. Unfortunately, it mysteriously sometimes doesn’t work. For example, we just received an email from someone who was reading the InDesignSecrets Guide to Graphic Effects, and was having trouble with a copy/paste from Illustrator. It works for the vast majority of folks, but why not him? Here are a couple things you need to think about:
- First, in the Clipboard Handling pane of InDesign’s Preferences dialog box, make sure you have turned off Prefer PDF When Pasting.
- Next, in Illustrator, open the Preferences dialog box, switch to the File Handling & Cliboard pane, and make sure you have turned on the AICB option. You may even want to turn off Copy as PDF there, too. If you want the look-and-feel of the object you’re copying (for example, a special gradient that you’ve filled a path with), you’ll also need to ensure that Preserve Paths and Appearance is selected.
- Here’s another thing that might get in the way of copying from Illustrator: The artwork may be too complex, as Steve pointed out a while back. Copy and paste is really designed for relatively simple artwork, not hyper-complex logos or illustrations.
Here’s some other things to think about:
- Not everything in Illustrator will make its way over to InDesign when you copy and paste. There are lots of effects, text formatting, and other stuff that may get lost along the way. If you’re working on some artwork that needs to look exactly the same as it did in Illustrator, then save it as PDF or AI from Illustrator, and use File > Place in InDesign, not copy/paste!
- The only good reason to use copy/paste is when you need editable vectors in InDesign, because you’re going to edit them more in InDesign, or if you’re trying to do something like copy a fancy gradient from Illustrator to use in InDesign.
Of course, you can also copy InDesign objects and paste them into Illustrator. Once again, this is best done with simple vectors.
A few other blog posts on the subject:
- Why sometimes you may get more than one object when you paste
- Why text formatting may change when you paste
- Be careful with embedded images
Any other suggestions or thoughts on the subject?