We are using SVG thumbnail extension for AI and SVG files on Windows. A colleague of mine works on iPad and using iPad illustrator. He sends us the AI files, but they don't show their thumbnails. But when we open the file and edit it, then the thumbnail suddenly starts to show up.

What could be the reason for that? And how can we overcome this problem that we won't even need to edit the files?

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  • Hi. Welcome to GDSE. From what you describe, it sounds like you probably need to open the file to build the preview, depends on the software and how it works though. Unfortunately, I don't think this is a graphic design question, and tech support is generally off-topic here as many are impossible to answer without access to your system, or specific files. Sorry about that. Maybe try to reach out to the developer of the extension instead.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 16, 2022 at 13:53
  • Just a guess the files without thumbnails dont have an embedded pdf like is default for the desktop save.
    – joojaa
    Jun 16, 2022 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


Lets turn my comments to an answer. Most likely the extension your talking about is the explorer extension that is part of PowerToys. This file is not actually rendering the AI file at all. Its rendering the embedded PDF file that that AI file is wrapped into. But you can save considerable amount of work and disk if you do not do this.

On a desktop AI you get a choice of whether or not you want this PDF embedding or not. You get a significantly smaller file, but the thumbnail does not render on account that the extension is not reading the AI part of the file just the embedded PDF.

You can try to verify this by saving a file in desktop illustrator. When saving disable create PDF compatible file, this should make your desktop file behave same way if so then thats the problem

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