I cannot open one of my .ai file. When I try, Adobe Illustrator throws an error:

This file cannot be opened because it has no pages.

  • I can open the file in Preview.
  • I can open the file GIMP.
  • The file is linked in an InDesign document, and all seems good there as well (no error message or warning in InDesign).

All seems to indicate that the file is fine.

Can you help?

2 Answers 2


The AI file may be corrupted by some disk error.

If it can be linked in InDesign properly, link it, create a PDF from InDesign, open the PDF in Illustrator, and re-save in AI format.

If the file has multiple pages (aka artboards), link every single one in InDesign before exporting to PDF.

  • Thank you. The fix does generate a openable .ai file, but it loses all layer structure. Not ideal, but it might be all I can hope for? Apr 16, 2020 at 9:01
  • 1
    The above might be your best shot. If Illustrator cannot open its own file, it means it is somehow broken and I don't know if or how a broken AI file could be fixed.
    – Lucian
    Apr 16, 2020 at 9:06

I found the source of the problem.

The Illustrator file had a link to a pdf. The linked pdf was corrupted, not the ai file per se. I generated again that pdf, and Illustrator could open the ai correctly again.

Surprising as in this case the expected behaviour would be to open .ai file but tell the user there is an issue with one of the links – but here it is.

Summary if it happens to anyone else: check any file the .ai file is linked to.

  • 1
    Ai files are byy default embedded in PDF, inkscape opened the PDF. you could also have just opened it in acrobat pro and done a cleanup that would have done the same thing. I fact you could have done this in imagemagic or ghostscript too, any app in fact that can open PDF except illustrator. The PDF portion of the file does not have the illustrator editing info, just what it gets turned into.
    – joojaa
    Apr 16, 2020 at 9:11

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.