Photoshop: PDF smartobjects not opening in Illustrator (file associations)

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  • Updated 3 months ago
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Hey guys,

previous versions, before Adobe anounced the cloud, opend PDF files placed as smartobjects always in Illustrator. Since we jumped to CC our workflow was broken, because now PDF files are opened in Acrobat. I thougt maybe this will be fixed with CC2014, but no luck. This is really anoying! I found a workarround, because Photoshop now uses the file assosiation from the system and I changed PDF files to be openend with Illustrator. But if I would like to view the PDF file in Acrobat it is really annoying to always rightclick and choose open with ...

I have tried to assign Illustrator to open PDF files only in Bridge, so I thought Photoshop will notice that, but this does not work.

Is there a solution for this, or maybe is it possible to give the user an option in the preferences --> file handling?
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Adrian Hilmmer

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Posted 4 years ago

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Chris Cox

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Photoshop asks the OS to launch the application associated with .ai files.
Your OS has .ai files assigned to open in Acrobat for some reason.
Change the OS association so that .ai files will open in Illustrator.
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Adrian Hilmmer

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Hi Chris,

.ai files placed as smartobjects correctly launch in Illustrator if they ́re double clicked, but ".pdf does not"! PDF files placed as smartobjects always open in Acrobat, if the file assosiation in Windows is set to open .pdf in Acrobat as usual. But if I change the file assosiation to open .pdf with Illustrator, .pdf smartobjects open correctly in Illustrator. This is definitively something that have changed in Photoshop an not depending on my Windows installation.

I have had this problem on Win7 X64 and still have it on Win8.1 X64. This behavior persists since Photoshop CC.
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Chris Cox

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No, none of that changed in Photoshop. And Photoshop doesn't change the OS association for .ai or .pdf.
Photoshop just asks the OS to open the program associated with editing that file type.
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Adrian Hilmmer

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Thats correct, Photoshop does not change the file association in windows, I never wrote something like that. Maybe you do not really unterstand my problem, or didnt read attentive:

I would like to open .pdf files placed as smart objects in Photoshop with Illustrator, when I double click on them. In the past Photoshop opened the .pdf smartobjects in Illustrator, so I can edit the content an save them back to the smartobject in PS.

Since Photoshop CC the behavior has changed. Smartobjects with the fileformat .pdf now open up in Acrobat! But I would like to edit .pdf files in Illustrator.

Hopefully my problem will be much more clear, now :)
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Chris Cox

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No, the behavior in Photoshop has not changed - it still calls the OS to open the file with the application the OS has associated with that file type/extension.
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Adrian Hilmmer

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The problem is not solved!
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Adrian Hilmmer

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Our agency is still lost with this problem! We are really disappointed the topic is marked as solved, but the proplem is still persistent.
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Adrian Hilmmer

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So in your system Photoshop opens .pdf-smartobjects in Illustrator or Acrobat?
Are you on pc or mac?

Most of us is running CC, but our trainee is running Photoshop CS6 on win 7. Her system opens up .pdf-files with Acrobat. But Photoshop opens .pdf-smartobjects in Illustrator. This is the behavior we are used to :)

Here is a quote from an other source:"If the source content is a vector-based PDF, AI, or EPS file and was prepared in Illustrator, it opens in that program." (http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content...)

On all our machines, with the filetype association for .pdf-files to open with Acrobat, Photoshop CC2014 opens .pdf-smartobjects in Acrobat. This is not what we are expecting for vector based smartobjects!
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Chris Cox

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On all of my systems (Macintosh and Windows), AI smart objects open in Illustrator.
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Adrian Hilmmer

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Chris, I am not speaking about Ai smart objects! We have trouble with PDF smart objects, this is what I am trying to tell you all the time.

Ai smart objects open in Illustrator, but vector based PDF smart objects open in Acrobat. This makes no sense if you would like to edit the content of a vector based PDF smart object.

In Photoshop CS6 this was possible, Photoshop always opend ai, eps and important for our agency PDF smart objects with Illustrator. Since Photoshop CC something is different, so Photoshop CC uses Acrobat for vector based PDF smart objects :(

Behavior of Photoshop CS6:
- EPS smart objects --> Illustrator
- Ai smart objects --> Illustrator
- PDF smart objects --> Illustrator !!!!!

Behavior since CC:
- EPS smart objects --> Illustrator
- Ai smart objects --> Illustrator
- PDF smart objects --> Acrobat !!!! <-- This is what is making trouble and absolutely has changed since CC.
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Chris Cox

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AI and PDF smart objects don't get treated differently -- they ask the OS to open the application associated with that type/extension.
Again, that code has not changed since I added Smart Objects to Photoshop.
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Adrian Hilmmer

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Chris, on all our systems years back with Photoshop CS6 and the filetype association(Win7) for PDF-files to open with Acrobat Pro, .PDF smart objects opend up in Illustrator. Because of this, we developed our workflow for .PDF smart objects from our client.

I will try to make a video for you, because you will not believe me they behave different, while the filetype assosiation in the OS does not change.

From your writing Photoshop CS6 should open .PDF smart objects in Acrobat, if the file assosication in the OS is set this way, but it doesen ́t, it calls Illustrator to open the File. Photoshop CC calls Acrobat!
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Hi Adrian, have you adjusted your file associations at the OS level? http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/li...
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Jakob Guldbrandt

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Changing the file association at OS level does solve the problem, but then creates another one: You have to open PDF files manually via "open with" if you want it opened in acrobat...
Two possible solutions:
1) An "open with" option in the smart object prompt
2) An option in photoshop pref. panel like the one in Acrobat – where you can specify which program to use with the different file-types
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Adrian Hilmmer

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Yepp, this would be awesome! :)
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KL Tan

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I am experiencing this 'issue' between CS5 and CC too. Are there any solutions or workarounds to invoke illustrator instead of acrobat when you double click the smart object layer??
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Roland Szántó

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Same here. I can't believe they still haven't solved this problem.
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KL Tan

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Hi Adrian has you found a solution?
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Mark Burban

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I have the same problem (it started today).. normally i can double click a vector smart object & have it launch into illustrator; but this no longer works while illustrator is open.

If i close illustrator & double click my ''vector smart object'' layer, it will launch illustrator & open the vector layer object in illustrator .. But if i try to open another one, it won't work; (unless i quit illustrator; which is usless because I need to open multiple 'vector smart objects'')  

It's driving me nuts & i have a stack of work I have to get out ASAP.. Adobe please investigate & fix, because something is broken.. 
(Edited)
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James B. Dorey

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I had this same problem but with my mac and preview. 
I just managed to solve it for myself by changing what finder opens pdfs as to illustrator CC:
Get info on PDF in finder > open with "Adobe illustrator..." > change all..
As well as opening Adobe bridge:
preferences > File type associations > Changing PDFs to open with illustrator instead of preview
Neither of these things seemed to work alone, only together - I hope this might help someone!
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Marcello Roma

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This is a persistent recurring problem since CC release.  I usually fix it by closing both Photoshop and AI and restarting.