I'm working with an Illustrator file that is very big. I've deleted all unused swatches, stray points, symbols and brushes possible but somehow the file seems to be pretty big still.

This file has been used by multiple people and I was wondering if deleting the file's metadata would help reduce its size. Can someone show me how to delete it?

Thank you!

  • Try grouping everything and moving it to 1 or 2 main layers. You'll still be able to select the sub-objects in those layers, but it should help with overall complexity and file size. A more drastic step would/could be to flatten any transparency. Nov 6, 2018 at 20:10
  • Also, spot colours on outlined type and spot colors in general lead to bigger files. Nov 6, 2018 at 20:12
  • How BIG is big (mb), how many layers/lines/points?, What sort of art work is it - flat vector, gradient mesh, effects etc, What size is your art board, are you working form a slow server/computer?, what is the output intent - details we need to know before answering. Thx
    – Mark Read
    Nov 7, 2018 at 3:11

3 Answers 3


Metadata is lightweight by nature. It's doubtful that removing it will make a substantial difference. If you want your AI file to be smaller, link your raster images instead of embedding and save without PDF compatibility.


Not sure about the meta data, but I can tell one old illustrator user's trick: Save As, over-writing the original file. This often decreases file size by substantial margins.


Metadata is typically only a few kilobytes. It's doubtful removing it would really assist in lowering a files overall data footprint if that's a problem. AI files aren't like pngs for the web where 4k makes a difference.

In addition, most ai file metadata is really only file resources, creator, low resolution thumbnails for previews, etc. And 99% of it can't really be deleted if it's to be a viable AI file.

The exception, of course, is if you've intentionally inserted more metadata than defaults.

You can check the metadata via File > File Info with the file open. I think in most instances you'll find it largely blank for straight AI files. If there are placed/embedded raster images, there may be some additional metadata due to those images.

You can walk though the File Info dialog and delete what you don't want using the little trash icon in the upper right. But you might want to merely open the File Info dialog and export the metadata. That will create a file and typically checking it's size, it's often under 1k here. Which doesn't seem worth the trouble of deleting anything. Of course, your file(s) may be vastly different than mine.

Offhand, I am not familiar with a way to merely "strip" metadata from AI files en masse. But there may be a script somewhere for it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.