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.
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.
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.
Open Image from Illustrator
Another method to combat the error in Illustrator, is to open Illustrator and open the image from there.
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.
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 unlink an image from the symbol 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.
Are the symbols I add to the symbols pallet available for all documents?
When you place symbols in the symbols pallet in Illustrator, it is only available for the document that it was added into. To make it available for other documents, it will have to be placed in the symbols library.