I'd like to keep track of the number of revisions made to an illustrator file, is there a way to do this similar to InDesign's text variables?

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As far as I know, there is not a way to do this natively, but you can have a script or extension which could simulate this for you. A script by itself which could either write version notes to the document's metadata or an external text file would need to be activated each time such a 'special' save occurs. However, a script wrapped inside an extension which has event-sensing built-in could automatically write the version string when the native "Save" command is used.

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