Recover missing images from Illustrator
Have you ever received an Adobe Illustrator file that when opened offers the dreaded “Could not find the linked file” message seen above? The designer who provided the file to you forgot to either embed the image in the file, or send the linked image along with the Illustrator file. Worse yet, you need that image file now, and the clueless dolt who sent you the file is nowhere to be found, presumably hiding from you under a rock somewhere!

Fear not. There is a way to recover that missing image for use not only in the Illustrator file, but any other application as well. Now before I tell you how, just be warned that A) The image quality may not be quite as good as the original. And B) The method described below assumes that the image originally linked to in the Illustrator file was high-resolution enough to begin with.

Save image from AcrobatTo recover a missing image link from an Adobe Illustrator file, do the following:

  1. Open the EPS or AI file in Adobe Acrobat Pro. The image should appear in the resulting PDF file just fine.
  2. Now click the Tools tab in the top right of the Acrobat window. The sidebar will slide open.
  3. Click the Content Editing item in the list. A list of editing options will drop down.
  4. Click the Edit Text and Images item.
  5. Right-click (Option+Click) the image, and select Edit Using… from the bottom of the list, then choose Photoshop from the fly-out menu.
  6. Your image should open in Photoshop. You can adjust the size & resolution of the image to give you the best visual results.
  7. Save the image to your desktop or a folder on your storage drive.
  8. Re-open the illustrator file and re-link the image to your newly-saved file.

This by no means is a perfect solution, but it should allow you to get more than acceptable results in a pinch.