How to Recover Illustrator File in 4 Methods

4 Methods to Recover Illustrator File

If the Adobe Illustrator program crashes or you accidentally delete your work in Illustrator, read this post to know how to recover Illustrator files.

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Oct 13, 2020 • Filed to: Photo/Video/Audio Solutions • Proven solutions


Did the Adobe Illustrator program crash while you were working on an important file? And are you wondering how to recover unsaved illustrator files? In this post, you will learn everything about how to recover Illustrator files with ease.

Overview of Illustrator File Recovery

More often, when you are working on Adobe Illustrator, you will observe that it tends to crash. Now, if you have been using Illustrator for quite a few years, you will be used to the crashing. But if you are a novice user and have just started uncovering the hidden gems of Adobe Illustrator, you might panic. To be honest, it may have crashed for the first time, but surely it is not the last.

Adobe Illustrator can crash due to several reasons: maybe you are running too many background apps, or your hardware cannot bear the burden of Illustrator, or simply, your PC is not in a mood to work today. Whatever the reason is, you may end up losing your precious file in a matter of seconds. Fortunately, today, you can recover lost or deleted Illustrator files with the help of different Illustrator recovery techniques.

1. What is Adobe Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator, also known as Illustrator, is a well-known vector graphics editing program, marketed and published by Adobe Inc. This program is mostly used by beginner or professional designers for designing logos, graphics, illustrations, clip art, drawings, and blueprints. Illustrator runs on both Mac as well as Windows computer, and it exports and saves artwork in Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) file format.

2. How Are Illustrator Files Stored?

At the time when you export or save artwork, Adobe Illustrator writes your work data to a file. The data structure is entirely determined by the file format you choose. There are five essential file formats that are also called native formats — AI, EPS, PDF, SVG, and FXG. These formats are used to preserve all Illustrator data.

Additionally, you can also export or save your artwork in several other file formats that can be used outside of Illustrator. Such formats are known as non-native formats. When you are working on artwork, it's always recommended to save it in AI format, and once you have completed it, you can save it to the format of your choice.

3. Why Are Illustrator Files Lost?

There are various reasons why you may lose your Illustrator files. Some of them are listed below:

4 Methods to Recover Illustrator Files

Adobe Illustrator is a popular program that is used for almost all types of work in the design world. However, sometimes users face some core issues with the program and have trouble dealing with it, especially when a situation arises during their work.

Fortunately, there are several methods available out there to fix and recover Adobe Illustrator files. Let us have a look at them.

Method 1. Recover Deleted or Lost Illustrator Files

Losing or unknowing deleting Illustrator files is a situation that can happen to anyone. But with the help of a recovery toolbox for Illustrator, you can recover any lost or deleted files instantly.

Recoverit data recovery tool can help you locate and restore different formats and types of files in different storage devices, which includes Mac, Windows computer, external devices, and more. Follow the steps below to find out how to recover Illustrator files through Recoverit:

Step 1: Select a Location

Launch Recoverit and then select a data retrieval location on your computer where you lost your Illustrator files.

select location

Step 2: Scanning Deleted Files

After you have selected the location, the recovery will start an all-around scan to locate lost or deleted Illustrator files. It will just take a few minutes to complete the scanning process.

scanning lost files

Step 3: Preview and Recover Files

Once the scanning process is finished, you are ready to preview and recover the Illustrator file you want back. All you need to do is click on the "Recover" button after you have previewed the video.

preview and recover lost files

Now, you can save the recovered Illustrator file to a location of your choice. It is recommended you choose a secured location and not the one where you previously lost the file.

Method 2. Recover Unsaved Illustrator Files

Have you ever come across a situation when the Adobe Illustrator suddenly crashes or stops responding, and you forgot to save files? If you are troubled by this situation and are looking for practical solutions to recover unsaved Illustrator files, follow the solutions mentioned below and restore lost AI files without any difficulty.

Solution 1. Relaunch Adobe Illustrator application and save the recovered AI File

After you experience a crash, restarting Illustrator will immediately help you retrieve the artwork from the recovery file. The AI file with the Recovered suffix will appear on the top bar, just save it. The steps below will show you how to recover lost AI files by simply relaunching Illustrator:

Step 1: Relaunch Adobe Illustrator.

Step 2: A dialog box will show up, click on the "OK" option to close the dialog box.

dialog box

Step 3: After that, the AI file you were working on will appear with the Recovered suffix.

Step 4: The final step is to go to the "File" option, click on "Save As" to save the recovered AI file with a different name.

adobe illustrator save

Solution 2. AI File Recovery from Illustrator Autosave option

Even after relaunching Illustrator, if your AI file does not open, you can turn on the Autosave option. You can do so by following the steps below:

Step 1: Go to "Preferences."

Step 2: Now, choose the option "File Handling and Clipboard" option.

preference illustrator

Step 3: Then, select the option "Automatically Save Recovery Data Every." This will turn on data recovery.

Step 4: Set a time interval to automatically save the work.

Step 5: Click on "Choose" to set a location where AI stores backup files.

Step 6: The final step is to choose the option "Turn off Data Recovery for complex documents" to prevent the Illustrator from being crashed and your workflow from being interrupted.

Method 3. Do Illustrator Files Recover from Backup

Yes, you can recover the lost AI files from backup. It is every Illustrator user's primary option to perform the hidden or lost file recovery process. To recover AI files from backup, first, you need to check whether you have set the file recovery preference in AI or not. If yes, then the Illustrator file will be stored at a specific location in the folder. Now, you can follow the steps to get back files from the backup.

Step 1: Go to the location where you have saved the backup files, whether a manually set folder or a folder set by default.

Step 2: To search files, you can look for names that include a messy code or words like "recovery." Once you have found the Illustrator recovery file, you wish to recover, select it, and rename the file.

Step 3: The next step is to double-click the file and open it with Adobe Illustrator.

Step 4: After that, go to the "File" option and choose the "Save As" option. This will allow you to save the file with a new name to a location of your choice.

Method 4. Solve Adobe Illustrator Crash Problems

When Adobe Illustrator crashes, it not only disrupts your workflow, but it might also cost you to lose files that you are working on. Here are some ways to solve Adobe Illustrator crash problems:

Solution 1. Run diagnostics

If you do not know the reason why Adobe Illustrator keeps crashing, you can run diagnostics after the relaunch. All you need to do is click on the "Run Diagnostics" option that appears in the dialog box. This will troubleshoot all the issues.

run diagnostics illustrator

Solution 2. Open Illustrator in Safe Mode

After you run the diagnostics, the Adobe Illustrator will open in Safe Mode and lists the reasons for crashing like corrupt-font, incompatible, plug-in, or old-driver. The "Troubleshooting Tips" box will show you the solutions. Make sure to follow all the instructions carefully to solve the issues and then click the "Enable on Relaunch" option at the bottom right.

illustrator safe mode

Note: Adobe Illustrator will continue to work in safe mode until the issues are fixed.

Solution 3. Turn on Data Recovery

It is essential to turn on data recovery in Illustrator as it helps you to restore your work if you accidentally closed it without saving the files. Also, try to set the low frequency of auto-save and turn off "Data Recovery for Complex Documents." Keep in mind that AI is more likely to crash if it has to save your work frequently.

How to Prevent Unexpected Adobe Illustrator Crash

Adobe Illustrator is a handy tool when it comes to designing. However, if it keeps crashing, it might interrupt your work and you may even end up losing unsaved AI files. If you do not want to face such a situation, then consider the points listed below to prevent unexpected Adobe Illustrator crash in the future:

How to Prevent Unintentional Illustrator Files Loss

If you want to avoid unintentional Illustrator files loss in the future, then follow the steps below:

Closing Words

A software crash and other situations that may cause file or data loss are sometimes unavoidable. Under such circumstances, it is strongly recommended that you use the "Autosave" feature in Adobe Illustrator to minimize the risk of losing the files you are currently working on. You can also use the four methods mentioned above to recover the Illustrator file right away.

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Eleanor Reed

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