Identify and troubleshoot file issues

Are you experiencing issues with opening or placing a file in Illustrator? Learn about the possible reasons and solutions for these issues.

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 that you run a disk repair utility. 

Insufficient system memory

You cannot open a file on Illustrator if 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 solutions

  • 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.

Access denied

You cannot open a file on Illustrator and get an error message if there is an access-related issue with the file. Here are some access-related issues and their solution.



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 sign-in 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.

File already open

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

Try these solutions

  • 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 when saving a file, try changing the filename and location. For more on fixing issues with saving files, see Troubleshoot issues with saving files.

Input and output device issues

You cannot open a file on Illustrator 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, and their solution:

File location



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.

Corrupt or damaged file

You get an error message if an Illustrator file is found to be damaged or corrupt. When you restart Illustrator, you get an auto-recovered version of 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 a 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 content exists for the selected .ai file, you will receive a message stating that file was saved without the PDF content.

Unexpected issues

In addition to the above scenarios, you cannot open and recover a file on Illustrator 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 that you share your affected files with us and help us investigate the issue. 

We're here to help!

If no solution works, share the affected file with us at We'll investigate the issue and let you know if 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 you 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.

Join the conversation

If you have a question to ask or an idea to share, come and participate in Adobe Illustrator Community. We'd love to hear from you.


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