Affinity Publisher: to embed or to link files?

The main difference between linked and embedded files comes down to how they are stored and updated after being placed in Publisher. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between these two options and when it is best to choose one over the other.

Linking explained

Linked files are connected to the original source file.

Linked files are connected directly to the source file they are linked from. When a file is linked, its data is still stored within the original file, with only the location of the original file and a representation of the linked data being stored in Publisher. This is handy when file size is a consideration, allowing you to include multiple links to external files without significantly bulking up your document.

Linking files is extremely useful when you are trying to include up-to-date information from an independent source, like a piece of artwork from Affinity Designer or Photo that may be updated at a later date.

Linked files can be set to automatically update using the following method:

  1. From the Affinity Publisher menu, select Preferences.
  2. On the General tab, check Automatically update linked resources when modified externally.

While linked files can be transformed and have effects applied to them, the individual components of the piece cannot be selected or edited directly from within your Publisher document. You will have to edit the original file to make changes.

If any linked files have been moved or renamed since your Publisher file was last opened, you will be prompted to relocate your linked files.

Embedding explained

Embedded files are contained within your document.

Embedding files keeps the file within your document. As embedded files are self-contained, they will remain as they are in Publisher regardless of whether the original file is moved or renamed. You can update an embedded file directly from Publisher whenever you like.

Embedded artwork will be stored in Publisher at full resolution, which will result in a larger file size. If the amount of embedded files placed in your document exceeds a specific size threshold, you’ll be prompted to convert all placed files from embedded to linked automatically. If you agree to this, the image placement policy in Document Setup will also change from Prefer Embedded to Prefer Linked, so future imported files will be linked by default.

Choosing whether files are embedded or linked

You can check whether files are linked or embedded and change their status from one to the other using the Resource Manager:

  1. From the Document menu, select Resource Manager.
  2. The Placement column shows whether each file is embedded or linked.
  3. To change a file’s status, select the file you wish to change and click Make Linked or Embed.
  4. If you are swapping an embedded file to a linked file, use the dialog to navigate to a folder which you want the embedded file to be saved out to and click Link.

To update your image placement policy:

  1. Go to File > Document Setup.
  2. Select Prefer Linked or Prefer Embedded from the Image Placement Policy menu.