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: (

Adobe also gives you a list of options to fix the problem:

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
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

4. Open your corrupted file in TextEdit orย 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:
but then you have to be prepared to spend some money.

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

23 replies on “Designer tip :: Fixing damaged/corrupted Illustrator files”

Following item has absolutely free database, contains quite a lot of good solutions:

Also as paid solution try to use: Illustrator Repair Kit

Also next advice must be helpful:

No warranties but adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator create temporary files ending in ” .tmp ” for example photoshop files would be: ~PST#####.tmp in Windows; or Temp##### in Mac…. (### is series of numbers)

Those files are temporarily stored in the hard drive and deleted once you save the file or close the program BUT if the program or computer crashes sometime they stay (stealing space from the hard drive so eventually you need to delete them manually; I know since last year I found I had lost many Gbs of disk space and I didn’t know why).

So look for (.tmp files), if you finf the file you are supposed to be able to open it… BUT there are no warranties, if the file got deleted or corrupted then you are out of luck.

In Windows the files are usually in: C:Documents and Settings%USERNAME%Local SettingsTemp. (%USERNAME% is “YOUR” username)

Also the files could be a “hidden file” you you might need to set to folders to show all “hidden files”

This tip still works for AI CC 2014. Just saved a few of my files. I used Notepad++ to edit the corrupt .ai file as text.

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