This happens occasionally and I don't know what the fix is. Illustrator cannot properly display certain SVG files that look fine in a brower and Inskscape, and validate with no errors.

For example, this file of a heraldic crown from Wikipedia Commons appears fine when I open it in Inkscape, but Illustrator goes nuts. I'm using Illustrator CC 2015 on Mac. This is how it displays in Illustrator:enter image description here

This particular file had some hidden shields outside the artboard, but I deleted them, and no change. I removed unused defs, tried saving as plain SVG, etc but still Illustrator freaks out trying to display it. I've had this happen before - sometimes the entire artboard goes gray, and while you can select elements, you can't actually see them. Copy/paste into another document brings over the same problems. Sorry if this has been I've tried searching for answers but didn't find anything. Thanks.

  • FYI the same thing happens in my AI CS6 when opening this particular file (PC/Win 7).
    – Lucian
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 5:49
  • Illustrator 2016 can successfully open the file on my mac
    – filip
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 8:27

1 Answer 1


OK this is not really an answer as to why Illustrator is doing it but a workaround - when I save the file as EPS from Inkscape, Illustrator opens it perfectly. This didn't work before on my earlier version of Inskcape I was working with last year. Hopefully I won't have any more problems bringing it back into SVG.

  • The SVG in your link opens fine in Illustrator CC 2017.1.0 Time to update?
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 9:50

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