Are you experiencing issues while opening or placing a file in Illustrator? Learn about the probable reasons and resolutions for these issues.

Facing a different issue? Click here for more help.

Before you proceed | Check your system

System-level issues can cause errors and other unexpected behavior. Before assuming that a document is damaged, we suggest you to run a disk repair utility. 

WindowsCheck your hard disk for errors

macOS: Resolve startup issues and perform disk maintenance

Insufficient system memory

Illustrator cannot open the file when your system does not have enough memory (RAM) to read the file. One of the reasons for less memory can be too many applications open on your computer. 

Try these resolutions

  • Ensure that your computer meets the specified system requirements.
  • Perform disk clean up to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your drive and ensure that your Windows temporary folder is empty.
  • Quit some applications to free up your system's memory.
  • Expand your system's RAM, if possible.

Need more help?

If no resolution works, we're here to help!

Access denied

Illustrator cannot open a file and displays an error message if you face any of the following access-related issues with the file:

Issue Resolution
Not authorized to open this file or required access permissions are not available

Obtain access permissions from the owner of the file and try signing in again.

Tip: Before you work on a shared file, create a local copy if possible.

File is already open or locked (in use) by another user Close the file from other applications or user profiles.
File is password protected or invalid login or password for the file Ensure that correct login credentials are provided.
File is placed on a network and the network location is not reachable Check the network connectivity and try accessing the file again.

Need more help?

If no resolution works, we're here to help!

File already open

Illustrator cannot open the file if it is already open in another version of Illustrator.

Try these resolutions

  • Close the file that is open in another version of Illustrator.
  • If you are unable to close the file, force close all versions of Illustrator or restart your computer. 
  • If you're facing this issue with file save, try changing the file name and location.

Need more help?

If no resolution works, we're here to help!

Input/output device issues

Illustrator cannot open a file when the read process is interrupted or if the file cannot be accessed or found.

Following are some scenarios that can cause interruptions to the file read process:

File residing location Reason Resolution

Removable devices (USB stick, external drive, pen drive, and so on)

Device is not removed or ejected safely from the computer Ensure that you safely remove the device after a read/write operation.

Network location

Network connectivity is lost Check your network connection.

Shared location

Shared file is no longer available Ensure that the shared location is accessible.

Need more help?

If no resolution works, we're here to help!

Corrupt or damaged file

Illustrator displays an error message when the file is found to be damaged or corrupt and auto-recovers the file. 

  • The auto-recovered file may have some contents missing or changed.
  • The auto-recovery process does not change your original file because it runs on the copy of the file. 

Try these recovery steps

When the .ai file gets damaged, you can try to recover the PDF version of it and save the PDF with the .ai extension. However, recovery is possible only if the Create PDF Compatible File option was enabled at the time of saving the file and the PDF content of the .ai file exists.

Perform the following steps to recover the affected .ai file:

  1. Open the affected .ai file in Acrobat Reader. 
  2. Save the file as a PDF.
  3. Open this saved PDF in Illustrator and again save with the .ai extension.

If no PDF contents exists for the selected .ai file, you will receive a message stating that file was saved without the PDF content.

Need more help?

If no resolution works, we're here to help!

Unexpected issues

In addition to the above scenarios, Illustrator cannot open a file and recover a file in the following cases:

  • Unexpected or unknown errors
  • The file is damaged and beyond repair
  • The extension of the file you are trying to open is not supported by Illustrator

What you can do?

For all these cases, we recommend you to share your affected files with us and help us investigate into the issue. 

See: We're here to help!

We're here to help!

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If no resolution works, share the affected file with us at file@adobe.com. We'll investigate the issue and let you know if the recovery is possible. Ensure that the file you share does not include any sensitive personal information.

When you share your file(s) with us, you not only enable the Adobe team to find a solution to your problem, but also help us improve the overall user experience by identifying and resolving other similar issues.

We assure that your file will strictly remain confidential and will be used only for investigation purposes.

We'll try our best to assist you, but as recovery depends on various factors, we cannot promise a permanent solution.


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