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I am trying to create a card, and wish to duplicate it multiple times on a page, while keeping the copies in sync with the source artboard. The idea is like copy with link in Word or Excel.

Is this possible in Illustrator? Or, is there a workaround?

I looked at Symbol, but it seems to be useful only for simple objects, not the whole artboard. However, my artboard is fairly simple, just a bunch of texts.

If this can be done somehow, I will then import variables to create a total of 6000 some cards. But, this is a separate issue, just a consideration for solving the current issue.

  • Do it in two steps. First batch the data into the cards then distribute. (most likely you dont need to distribute since the printer can merge the individual cards on papers) – joojaa Apr 25 at 8:10
  • Are you saying that I only need to create the individual cards and then output the PDF files, containing one card each. Then, the printer would be able to print 10 copies each on a page? – Yuan Liu Apr 26 at 15:47
  • All our digital presses and inkjets have a control software that enable this easily. Hell even my home printer can do this ()but it does have a PS interpretter . And then the placing trick below works, you dont actually have to place the 6000 PDF files just make one template then have a JavaScript update the links for every sheet. – joojaa Apr 26 at 17:39
  • Thanks. I think I got it. I'll take some more online lessons and try it and see where it takes me – Yuan Liu Apr 27 at 12:49
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You can use File > Place to place one .ai file into another .ai file as a link.

Editing the original file would then cause all links to it to ask to be updated.

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  • Yes, it works for a single card, thank you! However, I have more than 6000 cards, which means I will have to generate 6000 cards using variable, and then create 6000 AI files and manually linking each such file to a separate card file. This is going to be tedious and error-prone. Perhaps I can write a script to do this? But I will eventually end up with over 6000 PDF files for the printer. Am I missing something here? – Yuan Liu Apr 26 at 15:38

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