I have an Illustrator document, which has a text field with a number.

How do I print X copies of it, so each copy has a different sequential number on it, say from 0000 to X ?

4 Answers 4


Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Illustrator is meant for that sort of thing. But, as someone who likes to use Illustrator all the time, it's good to see if we can find a solution in it!

You can probably make a script. Illustrator's Document object has a print() method that lets you set print options. If you're not familiar with scripting Illustrator, check out the ExtendScript Toolkit's Object Model Viewer to explore, or check out their PDF guides.

So, you'd have a text frame that you could start with 0 (not sure if it'd be hard to do 0000) and loop up to whatever you need, printing each time. I don't know if you can avoid a print dialog, but if you can that should make this pretty seamless.


Of course, it's possible, and not very hard. All you have to do is to learn how to use variables. It sounds a bit tricky at the start, but it's dead easy. At work I use it to print 100-2000 labels at a time with different names for trophies/medallions etc. You only need to know what XML files are and how to create one.

it's tricky to say it in words so it's best to see it in a video. It briefly talks about XML files too: >>Link<<


For sequential numbering I use InDesign. I used this link to create a master template and setup. Afther that I duplicated the pages Until I reach the quantity needed.Following these steps will save you a lot of time. InDesign will automatically populate the numbers for you if done correctly. In instances where you need to populate two identical numbers side by side, I just created a separate paragraph style with the same function as the one indicated in the link.


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I had the same issue on how to use a sequence of numbers for any kind of usage and ginally today I found the solution. I will demonstrate my steps because it was more complicated (you can see the attachement). So, I had to create a solo page for printing in a plotter that should contain 4000 different QRcodes (1000X4) with their number underneath. In my project I use 20 qrcodes in one line to fit about 1m of plotter sticker paper vinyl.

  • STEP 1. I have created the frames that the qrcodes have to be centered to each one.
  • STEP 2. I have inserted the 4000 qrcodes (it is easy but it takes time).
  • STEP 3. Now, the tricky part. How the hell should I import 1000 different numbers and each number must have 3 more clones to
    reach the total of 4000? Well, pay attention.
  • STEP 3.1. Create a text box that can fit only the number so you can see it e.g. C001 in my project.
  • STEP 3.2. Press ENTER inside the text box so you are able to see the red cross indicating that you have overset text.
  • STEP 3.3. duplicate that text box as many times to fit the width of the paper (in my project I need 20 in a line)
  • STEP 3.4. Link first text box to second, second to third etc.
  • STEP 3.5. After finishing that line duplicate all text boxes underneath so now I have 40 text boxes
  • STEP 3.6. Since copying a text box preserves the links between text boxes you only have to link the last text box from the above line to the first one of the botoom line.
  • STEP 3.7 Select all boxes and duplicate beneath so you have 80.
  • STEP 3.8 Repeat STEP 3.6
  • STEP 3.9 Repeat STEP 3.6 so now you have 160 boxes
  • STEP 3.10 Repeat the procceedure until you reach the number of boxes you need.
  • STEP 4. Open EXCEL or familiar and write on first cell C001.
  • STEP 5. Copy that properties until number 1000 or whatever is your needs so in cell 1000 I have C1000
  • STEP 6. To create 3 more clones of that sequence copy all cells from 1 to 1000 and paste them 3 times after cell number 1001
  • STEP 7. To have them in order select sort from A to Z and now you have C001 4times, after that C002 4times etc.
  • STEP 8. Copy all cells from 1 to 4000 and paste them in the first text box in illustrator (preferable use the command key "select all" in case you have text inside text boxes to replace it)

FINAL STEP. Go out and drink some beers.

Hope this was helpfull

  • Hello Nikoforos, welcome to GS.DE and thanks for your answer. Although your answer is very creative, and a good workaround for people who need sequential numbers inside an AI file, it doesn't really answer the question. The OP is asking for a technique to add a number to a static document at the time of printing.
    – PieBie
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 8:42

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