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Is there a way to export objects to separate files in Illustrator?

  • The output I want is AI or vector files, not raster images.
  • The objects are not on separate artboards, and I am looking for a solution that does not require them to be. (Putting the objects into separate art boards would take as much time as copying and pasting them into separate documents, which is what I am trying to streamline.)

My use case: I am designing characters in a font, and each font contains upwards of a hundred characters. I need to get each character into a separate file in order to bulk import them into my font program.

3

Yes, there is a way to do this! It is somewhat of a workaround but this is the best option I have found and I use it regularly.

If you are using a version of Illustrator that has the "Asset Export" window feature that is the best tool for this.

  1. Open the Asset Export Window (I like to keep it on my right side panel for easy access)
  2. Select everything you would like to save out to a separate art board by itself in a new file
  3. Drag it into the panel
  4. Make the selection to export as SVG
  5. Once the SVG is saved, the default settings to open file will probably be a web browser. You will just want to change the default to Illustrator.
  6. Open the SVG with Illustrator and you will have what you need.

Pro-tip: If you have not used this before, you can actually save out multiple assets at one time. AMAZING. I recommend you do a quick video/tutorial to get familiar with the functionality of this feature or just play around. There are some cool features to know about when it comes to naming the files and sizing them properly.

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I don't believe there's any function to simply save each object in a file. It may be possible via scripting, but you would need to have either a structured layer stack or select each object individually before running a script. That may not be any faster.

Obviously, it could be done if objects have individual artboards. I'm not 100% certain why you feel placing objects on individual artboards would be that time consuming. All you'd need do is draw a rectangle around each objects, then select all the rectangles (can be done easily if you set each rectangle to have an odd colored stroke or fill) and choose Object > Artboards > Convert to Artboards. Then save artboards. This would be far faster than copy/pasting to new documents. But be aware, there's a limit to artboards. Each file can only contain 100 artboards and no more. Depending upon your layout of objects you may even be able to utilize the Object > Path > Split Into Grid feature to generate a series of rectangles in order to convert to artboards.

  • I tried and it said "To create Artboards, select non-rotated rectangles that are not clipping masks" - I had just drawn rectangles around the objects, there were 10 of them...? – MicroMachine Oct 8 '18 at 16:45
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Yes - Illustrator Scripting. If you use that often, I would suggest writing a script for Illustrator that will crawl through the layers, grab layer.name and export it as the file you require to a specified folder (folder will be created if does not exist), relative to your illustrator file location.

Font Design This would be good as you do not need to change to art boards every time and revert that change etc. whenever you make some changes to the font alignment or whatsoever.

Don't worry! You do not have to be a javascript coder... There are some ready solutions for example: Tom Byrne's - export layers to svg

If you need more, then just Google "illustrator script export layers to..."

Have fun.

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