I am automating a task in Illustrator by means of Actions.

In particular, I copy/paste some artwork from a drawing to another. Anyway, I don't see a way to control where the pasted artwork will land in the destination drawing, and I have seen a difference in behavior between different versions of Illustrator.

Any hint on how this can be mastered ?

  • I had a similar script built for InDesign using 'Paste in place'. Not sure how this can be adapted to AI, but have a look: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/86357/…
    – Lucian
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 8:59
  • ...are you just trying to paste it in the same place (In which case you just need paste in place/front/back), or something else?
    – Cai
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:15
  • @Cai: I can move the pasted artwork after the fact, this is not an issue. But the move is relative so I need to paste at a known position. From what I have seen, the location of the paste is arbitrary. Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:18
  • If you use paste in place it will paste in the same position it was copied from
    – Cai
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:20

2 Answers 2


Are you using paste in front, or paste in back (ctrl + f/ctrl+b)? That should work. But i do suggest you use an alternate approach. You can place things in documents so all you really need is a document with placed items as a template and then just change the link on demand.

But its a bit hard to be more constructive than this. Because you are not describing what you want to achieve, just what you think is the thing you should do. Given that you have to ask there is a good chance that there is a more conductive and/or simpler approach.

  • Actually, I didn't know about the variants of the Paste, even after months of use of Illustrator ! So far I have been using standard paste (Ctrl-V). I need a paste with guaranteed coordinates. Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:22
  • @YvesDaoust paste in form and paste in back guarantee coordinates. Ctrl+v is working as expected because even in a text editor it does not paste where you copied it from but relative to the new cursor location. LIkewise this is what illustrator does pastes in relation to your screen and nonoverlapping so you can see the new copy irrespectively of where you are. Neither of the paste in place commands do that.
    – joojaa
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:28
  • in Action play mode, one wonders where the "new cursor" is. I'll try these variants. Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:37
  • @YvesDaoust i dont think you should invest much time in making actions, its much more conductive in long run to go to the script route.
    – joojaa
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:51
  • thank you for the advice, I know how rigid the Actions are. This project is 99.3% done, just missing the correct positioning of the paste. Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:55

You can set the exact position of one of the 9 reference points of the copied artwork using the Transformation panel while recording your script.

See example below:

enter image description here

  • Thats a good alternative altough a lot more work than using pase in front. It has more flexibility though.
    – joojaa
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:32
  • I took me a while to find this Transformation Panel. Now I have it. Thanks for the tip. Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:46
  • OK^^ does the trick answer your question or did I miss something else?
    – Vinny
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:53
  • Not tried yet, and I will first investigate Paste Back / Paste in Front Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 10:03

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