In the first of a series of articles, the design team are taking a closer look at aspects of Adobe Creative Cloud. First up, I’ve taken a look at Linked Assets, how they work and how they can improve your workflow…
In Creative Cloud 2014, the new Libraries panel meant that frequently used assets, such as vector graphics and photos, could be stored and organised in Creative Cloud, and then accessed easily for use in another document – even in a different application. When the element was brought into a new document from the Libraries panel, it was just a copy of the original, so any subsequent editing only affected that particular instance of it, and if the original was updated, it would have to be reimported.
What are Linked Assets?
Now in CC 2015, there’s the option to bring an asset into a new document as a ‘linked asset’. To do this, just right click on the asset in the Libraries panel and select ‘Place Linked’ instead of ‘Place Copy’. Now if the original is edited, any instances imported in this way will also update (they actually show a little cloud alert in the top left of their frame first and update when this is clicked).
What are the benefits?
As well as saving time reimporting assets if changes are made, this is really beneficial for teams working on a project simultaneously – for example, if one designer needs to make changes to an illustration that another has used in a brochure, placing it as a linked asset in InDesign will mean that they see the changes as soon as the first designer resaves it.
This is all pretty similar to stuff you could already do through File > Place, or dragging and dropping in many applications, but having the assets you know you’ll use most accessible in the in-app Libraries makes them much more efficient than having to navigate through your whole filing system in Finder or suchlike. If you’re using Adobe Stock, the whole process of sourcing, editing and using photos across multiple documents is now especially streamlined.
Another big benefit of using Libraries to store and place linked assets is that if a designer is working remotely from their shared server, they’ll still be dynamically linked to the rest of the team, instead of getting broken links to anything stored on the server (or having to duplicate all of the assets and saving on their own machine). A big win for our team.