A designer before me created icons for our software in Illustrator files (i.e. icons-12x12.ai, icons-16x16.ai etc). All of them have one art board and potentially hundreds of icons in them. The process for exporting or modifying them is toggling on and off visibility of each layer. It's excruciating to work with them. I'd much rather have them in separate files or art boards but the process of doing this seems so daunting considering the amount of manual work that would have to take place.

This is an example of one of the files: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s113/sh/d27d63f7-7785-4546-9ae5-655633efd299/0929248e1446b859

Is there any tricks to automate some of the exporting or splitting them into art boards?

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I don't know about automating the process with a script or another option but here's how I would go about it.

I would first group all the elements of a single icon together for all the icons that you have. Then turn on visibility for all, select them all and align vertically and horizontally to each other so that they are all on top of each other. Then Select everything and use Distribute Spacing so that all the icons are equal distance from each other. Then with the artboard tool you can click on the grouped icons to create an artboard for only what is that group.

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