I have a single Illustrator file that's about 5GB big. It's a composite of hundreds of 2-5 megapixel camera images that we imported over time.

The file will not open on my computer anymore and I cannot perform any functions on it. Is there a way to salvage the file? I would happy to "shrink" all the raster images and the whole canvas size down, but I don't know how to do that w/out being able to open the file in Illustrator!

  • 1
    As you may have assumed after this file management disaster, you may want to reconsider your workflow and how you save your images. Maybe even consider doing things like backing up, or even start with saving your images in a safe location.
    – JLF
    Jun 8, 2015 at 15:15
  • +5 giga agree with JLF's comment. This is a disaster in planning too. Let us asume that is for a collage you need. That should have being done linking the images, not placing them inside. And doing incremental savings. project-01.ai, project-02.ai etc. Indesign would be better solution for this.
    – Rafael
    Jun 8, 2015 at 15:29
  • If the file is corrupted there is not much you can do.
    – Rafael
    Jun 8, 2015 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


Open it (as a .pdf) in Adobe Acrobat (if you left on the option to save as .pdf compatible in AI).

Advanced | Document Processing | Export all Images

(that command may be in a different location depending on version)


If you have it, open InDesign and create a blank document with page dimensions matching your Illustrator file. Change your display performance to "fast display" before placing the image into your layout. Export the result as a PDF. This should process faster than simply opening the file directly in Acrobat.

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