If you see A symbol definition cannot contain a linked image error in Adobe Illustrator, then this post will be able to help you. Illustrator is one of the top vector art apps available on the market and it is versatile and can be used for professional or personal work. Illustrator can be used for logo designing, package designing and mockups, converting hand drawings and letterings to digital vector art and so much more. Illustrator has symbols available for use in adding decorations to your artwork, Symbols are available just like color swatches.
One great feature of Illustrator is the ability to turn artwork into a symbol. This is great because you can have the artwork available to be used multiple times when you save it as a symbol. This saves valuable time and space when you save the artwork as a symbol. The symbol is then linked to as many documents as you want without you having to add it to illustrator each time.
Fix A symbol definition cannot contain a linked image error in Illustrator
Using the symbols in illustrator makes work easier. The ability to make and save custom symbols is a great feature in Illustrator. There are cases where adding a custom symbol in illustrator can give an error message A symbol definition cannot contain a linked image.
The error message can be very frustrating especially when you need to use your custom symbol for your project. You may have already cleared the design and do not want to redo the image that you want to use as a symbol. You may have paid for the image that you are using as a symbol, therefore you need it to work. There are a few ways to fix this issue and a way to minimize getting this error.
Use image trace
The first fix that you can try if you get this error in Illustrator is the Image trace. Image trace is a tool in Illustrator that can be used to convert raster images into vectors. Image trace can also be used to break up images into their color groups for easy editing of colors or removing the background. Image trace is also great when you want to add to or remove items from images. In this case, you will do nothing to the image when you use Image trace. You do the Image trace on the image then when it is complete, you move the image to the Symbols pallet.
To use image trace on the image with the link error, select the image and go to the top menu bar, and select the drop-down arrow beside Image trace. Just choose High fidelity Photo. The High fidelity photo Image trace option would be for color images, however in this case, since no editing will be done, it can be used for any image regardless of the color. When the Image trace is complete, select the image and drag it to the symbols pallet.
Some image trace options will alter the image so be careful. To be on the safe side just stick to the High fidelity Photo option.
Open Image from Illustrator
Another method to combat the error in Illustrator, is to open Illustrator and open the image from there.
Simply open Illustrator then go to File then Open or click Ctrl + O.
The Open dialogue box will appear, search for the image you want then press Open. You can then try adding the image to the Symbols pallet. This should prevent the error from occurring. Opening images that you will be using for symbols from within Illustrator is great for avoiding that error.
Don’t drag and drop images in Illustrator
The A symbol definition cannot contain a linked image error in some cases occurs when images that will be used for a symbol are dragged and dropped into Illustrator. Dragging and dropping images into illustrator for other purposes usually will not cause any errors, except in cases where the image was transferred to you through WhatsApp and Illustrator fail to recognize it. Note that not all images that are dragged and dropped will give the error when they are used as symbols, however, the error occurs mostly when the images are dragged and dropped.
There is no clear reason why Illustrator will see the image that you drag and drop there as a linked image, even though it is not. Illustrator will work with the image for other purposes but will give the error once you try to use it as a symbol. Symbols are linked when you use them, they are linked to the artworks that you use them on. That is why they can be used on multiple images, however. This does not explain why the drag-and-drop image is seen as linked.
In what cases will there be no error
When you create your custom images to be used as symbols, there are usually no errors. You cannot always create custom images to be used as symbols, so it is best to follow the above recommendations.
Read: How to create a Silhouette in Illustrator
What is a linked image in Illustrator?
When an image is linked, it means that Illustrator is referring to an image file somewhere on your computer. Once the Illustrator file is separated from the image it will no longer be visible or linked within that working file.
How do I remove a linked image in Illustrator?
When you have used an image as a symbol, it becomes linked to the image in the symbols pallet. You can right-click on the image and choose Break link to symbol. In case you are getting problems doing so, you can go through the aforementioned guide to remove a linked image in Illustrator within moments.