Designer tip :: Fixing damaged/corrupted Illustrator files

Sometimes Illustrator files get damaged. You try to open them and you get the following warning:

“The file is damaged and could not be repaired.”

Damaged file

It could be that the file is just corrupted. So first try opening the file in Acrobat Pro. Acrobat will try to repair the file and if it works you can save the file. See for more details: (http://reubenmiller.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/03/designers-tip-h.html)

Adobe also gives you a list of options to fix the problem:
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/320/320318.html

But there’s one solution they don’t give you:

1. Create a new file in Illustrator with just a simple square and save this file.
2. Open the file in Text Edit.
3. Copy the last couple of lines from that file, as an example:

30 0 obj
<>
endobj
xref
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
trailer
<]>>
startxref
1014777
%%EOF

4. Open your corrupted file in TextEdit or TextWrangler.
5. Add the code to the end of your corrupted file and save it.
6. Change the extension to .ai and you should be able to open up your file in Adobe Illustrator.

P.S. If my memory serves me right PostScript as a stacking protocol needs an EOF (EndOfFile) to be able to start opening the file.
P.P.S. Also guessing the reason Adobe doesn’t want you to use this tip is that they don’t want you to mess around in the file, cause results can be unpredictable.
P.P.P.S. And if it doesn’t work maybe try:
http://www.recoverytoolbox.com/illustrator.htm
but then you have to be prepared to spend some money.

Update Dec 1, 2016: Apparently this tip still works for Adobe CC 2014…