How to Import PSD Files into Adobe Illustrator and InDesign

Sometimes web and graphics designers need to import an image created in Adobe Photoshop into either Adobe Illustrator and/or InDesign to render and create more effects. Below is an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide on how to import or open a Photoshop file (.psd file) into Adobe Illustrator and/or InDesign:

Importing PSD files into Illustrator

  •    •   Opening PSD files into Illustrator

1.  Turn on your computer and launch the Illustrator program.
2.  Open a new document by clicking File>New in Illustrator’s menu bar.
3.  To open your Photoshop document, go to File>Open and then select the document you want to open when prompted.

  •    •   Placing PSD files into Illustrator (Editable)

This method is ideal if you wish to incorporate a Photoshop document within an existing Illustrator document which can then make the PSD file editable within Illustrator.

1. Launch the Illustrator program, select File>Place
2. Locate the PSD file you want to import and click “Place”. Make sure the “Link” option is not selected.

Placing or opening an unlinked Photoshop file will prompt a dialog box with options, choose the most appropriate option and then click “OK”.

• Convert Layers to Objects: This option will convert the Photoshop layers into Illustrator objects to be able preserve masks, transparency and blending modes.
• Flatten Layers to a Single Object: This option will flatten all the Photoshop layers into a single layer to preserve the look and appearance of the image; however individual Photoshop layers will no longer be editable.

  •    •   Placing PSD files into Illustrator (Not Editable)

This method is ideal for incorporating your Photoshop files in an existing Illustrator document. Although the PSD file will no longer be editable it will be able to maintain a link to your original Photoshop file.

1. Launch the Illustrator program, select File>Place.
2. Locate the PSD file you want to import and click Place. Make sure the Link option is selected.


  • Importing PSD files into InDesign

    1.  Launch your InDesign program
    2.  Pick “Selection” from the toolbox and then click on the graphics frame where you want to contain your PSD file.
    3.  Go to File>Place and locate your PSD file. Click “Show Import Options” so that you can set specific options/settings for your imported file.
    4.  Place your file into InDesign by double clicking its file name and then clicking the “Open” button. The “Show Import Options” dialog box will open asking you to choose your import setting options. You can check the “Show Preview” checkbox for you to see the effects of the import options you’ve selected.
    5.  Once you’re satisfied with your chosen settings and options, click the “OK” button to complete the process of importing your PSD file into Adobe InDesign. Your PSD file will then appear to the graphics frame you have selected in step 2.

Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are just three of the software components included in Adobe Creative Suite. Although each of this software is specifically geared to focus on different web, graphic and desktop publishing needs, they are still integrated with similar features thus importing a file from one software to another can be done seamlessly.

Image by Flickr

Article By: Wasim Ismail

Wasim’s a project manager at Alrayes Web Solutions along with an online SEO consultant & blogger for business at, specialising in online business.

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