I have a strange issue, happening for a few hours(don't know how I did that):

  • I'm in "myflie.ai" -> Save As PDF(any Preset)->File is saved -> "myfile.ai" is replaced by "myfile.pdf" in Illustrator automatically.(it's very annoying when I modify again my file and I see that I modified the .pdf not the .ai file)

Why this happens and how can I solve this? Thank you!

  • You should know there's no real difference between an .ai file and a .pdf file. So why does it matter? Mar 15, 2018 at 14:06
  • @LateralTerminal - it is for texts(it converts each word or so in objects with fixed size), also if you open pdf in AI it will make a clipping mask for all layers...anyways I want to edit my .ai file not the generated pdf
    – sTx
    Mar 15, 2018 at 14:32
  • There is a difference between .ai and .pdf. Sometimes a really important difference.
    – Scott
    Mar 15, 2018 at 15:37
  • @Scott do you have any citations? Because I've really tried to research deep into this one and haven't found anything. I've found that as long as you "maintain editing" in the settings then it's fine. Mar 15, 2018 at 16:35
  • @LateralTerminal see here: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/104536/… Same reason for PDF vs AI. File corruption can happen any time for any reason.
    – Scott
    Mar 15, 2018 at 21:25

2 Answers 2


If you have an AI file open, then click File > Save a Copy instead, then choose the PDF file type.

If you do that, Illustrator simply exports the file as a PDF, and doesn't open the PDF automatically. The AI file will still be open in Illustrator.

It's super annoying if you forget to do that, and accidentally hit Save As (which I frequently do). If you do make that mistake, just close the PDF, and open the AI - it should be listed under Open Recent Files.

As to "why?" - that's a question only Adobe can truly answer. Why make this so counter-intuitive? Why not have the functionality to export a PDF within the normal Export option?

  • + @WELZ - so this is not a new one, maybe now I've seen it - but I remember that this doesn't happened before...I'm confused - Thanks for your time guys!
    – sTx
    Mar 15, 2018 at 13:12
  • I always.. save... save as (PDF)... undo.. Now I'm back to the AI file if needed. If the undo fails for some reason, then I can open the ai file from the Recent items. The important thing is to save.. before saving as a pdf to retain all the ai editing info.
    – Scott
    Mar 15, 2018 at 15:39

As it is one of the Illustrator file types (ai, svg, eps, pdf etc.) it is just being saved and that makes it switch from the current file.

-I know it can be annoying (happens to me sometimes as well)

If you were to Export your file, that would save the file and you would continue to be able to work on it. Unfortunately, there's no option to "Export" as a pdf, maybe Illustrator will fix that one day.

A (slightly inconvenient) solution/workaround would be to just hit FileOpen Recent Files and just open the .ai file. (You can then close the pdf from your workspace)

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