Is it possible to fill text values in Illustrator from an Excel sheet or another external file format? I have a large number of images and some texts to be added onto them.

Is it possible to automate this task in Adobe Illustrator?


Yes, naturally. Nearly all (serious) applications have a programming interface. Illustrator does, as does excel. Not only can you reasonably easily make illustrator read external files. You can make illustrator react to changes in excel itself as they are being made, with not much more effort.

Now your intention is a bit abstract so it is hard to give a concrete example. The thing that your question is quiet about how this is to be done. I mean is this some sort of batching action. In other words do you have a number of vector files on disk and you want to add a text in the document and save. Or is this some sort of card generation where you add a image to a new file with text. While admittedly the later would be adding images to text (but people who do not know how to do X often describe their intention wrong).

SO two basic approaches:

  • Use variables (Window → Variables)! Then read a variable library in using something like VariableImporter. And export.
  • Write a script. Its not hard as it basically amounts to one loop.
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  • How would you make it react to changes in Excel? – Silly-V Sep 18 '17 at 14:01

You can limitedly automate some actions in Illustrator (just like in Photoshop). It won’t work, for instance if you are custom typing different text each image. But let’s say you have to do some things the same.

Example: Let’s say you had a job where all files need to be converted to CMYK from RBG:

  1. Set up a folder on the desk top where you will temporarily save your files.
  2. Open up Illustrator.
  3. Open up first file.
  4. Now, go to Window (Top Bar Menu) and slide down to Actions
  5. The actions panel pops up.
  6. Now, click on the tiny top three parallel lines on the right hand corner of the Actions panel. Select New Action.
  7. Name it something (and it will automatically be saved in your “default actions” unless you want to create a unique set—It’s pretty intuitive.)
  8. Assign it a Function Key (if you want). Example: F15 (if you have it) plus the shift. I always use quick keys so I always do this but some ppl don’t bother. Shift + F15 will now run the action for you.
  9. Assign it a color if you want. This highlights the action in your default set.
  10. Hit Record (or click on the little black circle at the bottom of the Actions Palette.)
  11. Change the Document color mode from RGB to CMYK.
  12. Click on the little black square to stop recording the actions. Then save with unique name or whatever you have to do.

The point here is, think through what the repetitive tasks are that you can batch. What amazes me is that if done right, it will go from say, 10 minutes per item to literally seconds. If you had something that was so automated that you could create an action from open to close, you would save tons and tons of time.

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    THis is simply not right, you can make illustrator react to custom typing of things. Further it does not answer the question. – joojaa Aug 19 '17 at 13:11

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