I have a list of about 1,000 names I need to move from Excel to a text block in Illustrator. In between each name I need a space "95" and another space. The names need to remain in alphabetical order.

The additional hiccup is that the 95 need to be a different color than the names. Is this possible through a script of some sort?

I may be over thinking this.

  • Save as csv and run find and replace
    – joojaa
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 4:53

2 Answers 2


I usually use a plain-text editor with vertical selections and regex for preparing texts like yours, but any editor with search/replace should work, too.

  1. Prepare a basic html version of the list, like:
Name 1 <span style="color:#f00">95</span> 
Name 2 <span style="color:#f00">95</span> 

Note: I use no br (linebreaks), so the result will be continuous text. Add spaces where needed. You could also add the <span>...</span> part in Excel as an extra column. Then remove tabs with a text editor.

  1. Save as .html file and open in Word, and save as RTF.

  2. Open the RTF in Illustrator


For a 1000 names my advice would be to move the list into InDesign, it's better suited for this level of text formatting. Illustrator is OK for text but I tend to leave it for short text, short paragraphs or more visually creative typography. Normally I would create the artwork in Illustrator and place into InDesign to handle large quantities of text.

If using Illustrator is the only option, you could look at using variable data, using character styles to provide easier control over the text. If you are presenting the names and number as just a list then I would just copy and paste any columns for names and the number into illustrator as separate text boxes. Alignment would be easy and flowing across text box is easy. Find and replace would easily add the space before and after the 95.

I am unsure of any particular scripts that may help but I will talk to people in my studio to see if they know anything. My initial thought is, even with some scripts, you may end up having to do some manual work and at a 1000 names that would tedious.

As I said before, I would suggest moving this into InDesign. This is because it offers a greater range of methods to achieve your goals. You could place the info into tables, using cell and table styles to control the text, or use data merge. Add character and paragraph styles with some GREP and you can make a 1000 names easy to tackle and easy to update on mass.

  • Thank you, I did not think to use Indesign as this design will ultimately be printed on fabric and believe vector images are needed for that. Would that be a concern or is there a way for me to convert the final layout from InDesign to vector once formatted? Also I suppose if I design to scale it should not make a difference anyway?
    – Josh Hues
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 13:27
  • How large will the fabric print be and have you spoken to fabric printer for a print spec? InDesign will export content as vector, unless it is a raster image imported into the doc. If the artwork is not massive size then you should be ok to process to still process the data this way. I used to Design and PresPress artwork for site hoarding at 8ft x 4ft sheets and InDesign handled them fine. Obviously this may differ for a fabric print. Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 18:17
  • Even if you have to use illustrator to scale up for providing artwork, you could still benefit from processing through InDesign. You will probably need to outline any text for the printer, so you could do that in InDesign copy paste or import to Illustrator and work on from there Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 18:26

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