Modern artists and graphic designers can no longer imagine how to work without a miracle tool produced by Adobe Systems.

The Illustrator graphic editor turned out to be so convenient, functional, and fast that its popularity is beyond doubt. Just the ultimate dream! Is this so, is there any catch? Unfortunately, there is.

Causes of Failures and Solutions

This designer’s best friend may one day fail a lot. The cause of the failure, no matter how trite it may sound, may be a random error in Windows.

You will understand that this happened to you by the blue screen that suddenly appears in front of your stunned face. Or, pah-pah, the power off button was pressed gently by the knee. If this happened, then everything that was created is gone.

When you reboot or restart the system, an almost finished file will become an inaccessible fortress. Now the question is how to restore it?

With trembling fingers, type in the search engine, “how to recover a damaged .ai file?” However, the problem is not so easily solved. I tried dozens of solutions and tried a simple online service: But more about that at the end of this article.

The fact is that during the development of this software product, no tools were provided to “repair” damaged files. Besides, it is striking that the cause of a hardware system failure may simply be a “crooked” Adobe Illustrator autosave system.

Yes, this seems like a bad joke, but with the Data Recovery for complex documents function activated with minimal backup intervals, another attempt to save a backup copy of a large file at the most inopportune moment will fail.

A smart system, of course, will impartially report the damage to the recovery file, but this will only make it more painful to realize that it will no longer be possible to see the project. That is why before starting work, you need to go to Preferences, then File Handling & Clipboard, find Turn off data recovery for complex documents, put a tick in the box opposite it.

Such a measure will protect against possible emergencies during backup, save you from the dubious pleasure of using Illustrator when adding autosave to large files.

These tips are useful before the problem. However, what if everything has already happened? There is Recovery Toolbox for Illustrator ( for this. How to use the saving link, you will learn a little later.

Mega-Helpful Tips from Adobe Systems

If you open the official editor support page, its first item will cause vague doubts from the user.  The service convincingly advises those in need of assistance to make sure that the file is not opened through the network, but from the hard drive. And how, could it be somehow different?

The next paragraph says that you need to install the latest version of Adobe Illustrator. Here is a list of links to resellers and an online store—so-so advice. Software is updated to the newest release by units. Plus, pleasure is not cheap, and no one will guarantee that file recovery will be successful.

There is more or less useful advice here: you can try to open a damaged project using the new Adobe Illustrator file. What is written in the instructions? Go to File – New, select the required size, color, after going to File – Place.

Then choose All Formats from the Files of Type from the menu, click on Place, and see the result. Oh, a miracle happened? Unfortunately, it happens very rarely, as a miracle should. In most cases, these manipulations do not affect the state of the file, but you can try.

Other recommendations are only suitable if the problematic file is opened, but there are non-critical errors. The best way is to manually copy what is available after opening, and save the development in a new project.

Focus failed, and errors again? So, you have to “calculate” the infected object, gradually removing the elements. This process is troublesome, so you have to be patient. As soon as the same Trojan Horse is detected that interferes with the regular operation of the file, it must be deleted and then redrawn. In general, it will take a long time to work.

If all of the above does not help, you can use another “shamanistic” method. Do you want to learn how it works? Open Illustrator (File – New), draw a square or some other simple geometric figure, save the result of your creativity. After that, you need to open the file using the good old Notepad. A lot of different strange characters will appear in the document. For example:

30 0 obj
0 31
0000000000 65535 f
0000000016 00000 n
0000000144 00000 n
0000060545 00000 n
0000000000 00000 f
0000061918 00000 n
0001014586 00000 n
0000060596 00000 n
0000060956 00000 n
0000452085 00000 n
0000062217 00000 n
0000062104 00000 n
0000061124 00000 n
0000061357 00000 n
0000061405 00000 n
0000061988 00000 n
0000062019 00000 n
0000062252 00000 n
0000452158 00000 n
0000452510 00000 n
0000453481 00000 n
0000456985 00000 n
0000489882 00000 n
0000555470 00000 n
0000621058 00000 n
0000686646 00000 n
0000752234 00000 n
0000817822 00000 n
0000883410 00000 n
0000948998 00000 n
0001014609 00000 n

Copy some of them—the last lines.

Then, using the same Notepad, open the problematic project. Add the copied characters to the bottom of the file. Choose File – Save, change the extension to .ai, open the result in Adobe Illustrator. Did it fail again? Then only one method remains.

Effective Third-Party Help

Tired of conjuring a problematic project? You can use third-party services. The modern market is awash with competing resources that promise to restore everything in full in case of problems with Illustrator. You can’t trust too much such brash statements. Fun is not cheap. Besides, no one can guarantee a 100 percent result.

The most reliable in this area is Recovery Toolbox online The resource offers its services at very reasonable prices ($10 per project). Also, the customer does not pay for the work, but the result. If the specialists can restore the file—they let you see the contents, and only then—payment.

The customer receives two files on hand: *.ai and *.pdf. If *.ai had severe errors, then you will find almost nothing in the project. If a “smart” utility works on it, it will find and compile a quite good *.pdf. Thanks to PostScript, you can quickly transfer the file to Illustrator.

Desktop Solution

Do you need to recover several damaged files, do not want to upload private information to the resource, or is it just that the project weighs too much? It’s best to use a full application Recovery Toolbox for Illustrator for Windows. How does the program work? With the same speed and the same algorithm as in the web version. Best of all, the program is omnivorous: it applies to all versions of Illustrator. How much does a license cost? Only $27.

How do you protect yourself from possible problems with Adobe Illustrator? You should not be too careless: miracle technologies do not always help in an emergency. That is why every time after the end of the next stage of work, you need to click on the magic File – Save a Copy.

Also, so that the project does not have any chance of an error, develop a good habit of sending a working copy daily to the cloud. Bring the action to automatism, and voila! At the most exciting moment, when, suddenly, the project decides not to open, you can easily use a full copy. What is most pleasant, you have to spend neither money nor time.

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