I have a long list of organizations in one column in my csv. I would like to populate separate text boxes within one Illustrator file with this data. These text boxes are not in a table, but in a radial shape.

Variables only seem to pluck one entry per iteration of the file.

Is there a way to write a script that iterates through one column, pulling in one entry per text box, in the same document?

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I just want to start at the top of the circle, working my way around, each box gets the next name in the column.

  • Could you give us an image to see what the document looks like.
    – Joonas
    Dec 17, 2014 at 6:35
  • Are your text boxes threaded??
    – Scott
    Dec 17, 2014 at 8:48
  • Im not sure what you mean by threaded, but I can connect them if that would be helpful
    – kat
    Dec 17, 2014 at 14:40
  • Threaded means connected. There's a menu item - select the boxes and choose Type > Threaded Text > Create You may need to adjust the stacking order of the boxes first. This makes all the boxes a "thread". My guess is that the variables are only filling the box. Since you have one small box, of course it only fits one record from the csv.
    – Scott
    Dec 17, 2014 at 20:07
  • Gotcha....I never know the proper terms. I could make that approach work if I knew how to get the csv to populate the text boxes. All the Variable/Data Merge demonstrations online talk about how to pull from a csv row by row. Not from one column only. I could do data merge, but as I understand it now, I would have to create 100+ different variables: one for each row in the column. I could also just load the entire column into one small text box and use the threading and size of box to control where each data point lands. Maybe thats the only option....
    – kat
    Dec 18, 2014 at 15:18

3 Answers 3


Possibly doable using Adobe's ExtendScript Toolkit to create a JS-powered automation script to pull the data from the CSV and apply it as needed inside Illustrator. But this is beyond my Illustrator-fu. Check out http://www.adobe.com/devnet/scripting.html to see how you might be able to accomplish this.

  • scripting does have access to CSV files, it is possible to script a solution. Dec 18, 2014 at 6:57

since you mentioned Variables, one possible solution would be to turn your placeholder text in illustrator into variables with the help of this script, then create a valid xml variable library and load it to populate your text placeholders.


Indeed, CSV and tab-delimited .txt import is possible with this script! https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Silly-V/Adobe-Illustrator/master/Variable%20Importer/VariableImporter.jsx

This script can bind variables by name or note, and there's another script in the repo called "Rename Art from Text" which can help auto-name your text frames.

The VariableImporter.jsx script auto-creates the variables and can also auto-bind them to the art based on the art name or note!

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