So, I was working on Illustrator, I saved my progress and my computer went off. When I came back the AI file was blank, the file had 6 art boards and a lot of content, it was a brand guideline I was working on. I have to print and present this work in the next 3 hours and I'm about to freak out! I opened the AI file with a text editor and there were just a lot of 0's.

This dialog box appears when opening the file

enter image description here

Does anyone knows what happened? Can I get a temp file or something like that?

  • Hit ctrl-y to go to outline mode, just to make sure there's nothing there and it's not a color/rendering issue.
    – PieBie
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 12:13

1 Answer 1


If you have latest version of illustrator then you may be in luck. Check that your data recovery settings are enabled in:

  • Preferences → File Handling & Clipboard → Data Recovery area. For more info see illustrator manual.

If you did not have automatic backups revert to a older version of your file. You may luck out and find such file in the backup of your system. See if you have either of:

If you do not have backups time to start doing so now regardless of whether you succeed in recovery or not, this will happen again. Note that its important to have offline backups as well as connected backups. Unfortunately the my dog ate my homework does not do much in a professional setting.

Third but not least, start using version control of some kind, see this for more resources. Personally i use Mercurial for this. I know telling you to get this sorted at this point sounds really annoying but you really have to experience something like this to appreciate the right kinds of tools.

  • The most important words in your answer: "this will happen again"!
    – Cai
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 11:29
  • @CAI A scenario more annoying than not having backup is a component failure in your system and the secondary machine is out on the field. So no matter how good backups you have not having anything to load the backup on for a few days, really sucks.
    – joojaa
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 11:31
  • I work away from home with no internet a lot so I've started carrying at least 2 backup HDDs! Learnt the hard way you cant rely on hardware
    – Cai
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 11:34
  • At work we use a cloud service, to easily sync between people. One employee's computer started acting up and deleted the entire cloud folder (over 100GB of data) and the others just started syncing (i.e. deleting everything). It took us days to recover everything. Never trust the cloud, it gives a false sense of security!
    – PieBie
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 12:19
  • I tried everything you suggested and nothing worked. I guess I'll just have to start again and take all of the precautions. Thanks anyway.
    – Jay
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 22:05

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