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I'm using CC 2018. I created a business card template by saving the art via File --> Save as Template. Double clicking that file in the finder opens a regular Illustrator document (.ai) with the saved art as expected.

However, I need to change a color in the template. I thought opening the .ait file from within illustrator via File --> open would allow me to edit the template itself. Instead it does the same thing as double clicking it from the finder (described above).

What am I doing wrong?

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Just open the .ai file via the .ait file, make your changes, then save as template again.

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You aren't doing anything "wrong".

Illustrator's template (ait) format is design to open a new document every time the file is selected or double-clicked. That's merely how template files function. In most instances you would not want to edit the template. You want the template to be the basis of a new document.

As @AAGD points out in his/her answer...

If you do need to edit the template itself. Merely ...

  • Open the template (creating a new document based upon the template)
  • Make your changes
  • Use File > Save As and select the .ait format, then replace your existing template file

The inability to edit template files directly is there to avoid mistakes. Such as, editing the template and saving edits without being aware the template will change.

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