How to Recover Illustrator File (7 Ways)

How to recover Illustrator file after crash, deletion or corruption? Worry not, this article introduce you to 7 useful ways to get your Illustrator files back quickly and how to repair the damaged files.


By Zoey / Updated on August 18, 2023

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About Adobe Illustrator and File Loss

As a highly popular vector graphics editing and design program, Illustrator is developed and marketed by Adobe. It helps users to turn simple shapes and colors into complex logos, icons and graphics. Users often use it to create freehand drawings or to trace and recolor graphics, turning them into works of art. ​

Illustrator Logo

One of the most painful things that can happen when you use editing software like Illustrator is encountering a system or software crash that results in file loss. If you are experiencing this problem, don’t panic, and I’ll show you how to recover Illustrator file after crash. This article also includes several methods to recover deleted Illustrator files.


How do I recover Illustrator data after crash?

Illustrator crashes when I open an important file, same with another computer. Is it possible to recover an unsaved Illustrator file after Windows crash? Is there any solution to that?

Why Are You Losing Illustrator Files?

Many Adobe Illustrator users always complain about they lose files after crash. Before you start to recover Illustrator files, you can check the following reasons.

  • system crash
  • sudden app crash while backing up large or complex files. It can cause your unsaved work to be lost or damaged.
  • accidentally save over Illustrator files. It can overwrite the original file and cause it to be lost.
  • outdated software
  • incompatible version
  • software bugs
  • virus attack

How to Recover Illustrator File after Crash 

How to recover an Illustrator file after a crash? Just like recover Excel file after crash, or recover Word files after crash, Illustrator also has an Autosave feature and it’s enabled by default. Besides, it also has a temporary folder that may contain your unsaved work.

📄 Recover files with AutoSave AutoSave will initiate the auto-recovery process.
📁 Recover from the temporary folder Check the temporary folder to find your lost files.

Solution 1. Restore Unsaved Illustrator Files after It Crashes via AutoSave

After Illustrator crashes, you can choose to restart this app. If it does not respond, force quit and then restart it. It will initiate the auto-recovery process process and open all the saved files with the Recovered suffix. Try it first and then check the autosave file location.

1. Restart the Illustrator program on your PC. When you see a dialogue box, saying Adobe Illustrator quit unexpectedly and the unsaved documents are recovered with [Recovered], click OK.

Unexpectedly Quit

2. The files you were working on while the app crashed or shut down will show up with Recovered suffix in Adobe Illustrator. Click File > Save as to recover unsaved Illustrator files after crash. Please save it with a different name.

Autosaved File

3. If it does not show you the unsaved file, you can also go to the Adobe Illustrator AutoSave location. Find the unsaved Illustrator files, open and save it in Adobe Illustrator.

For Windows: C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator [version] Settings\en_US\x64\DataRecovery

For macOS: < your username>/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator [version] Settings/en_US/Adobe Illustrator Prefs

Note: Every time Illustrator crashes, the data recovery feature turns off automatically. If you don’t want to lose your files in this app, turn it on manually.

Solution 2. Recover Illustrator Files after Crash from Temporary Folder

You can also check the temporary folder. It’s generated when you are creating or editing a file and goes after you close the file. So the recovery rate is quite low.

For Windows:

1. Go to C:\Users\*Your User Name*\AppData\Local\Temp.

Temp Folder for Windows

2. Find the unsaved AI file. Then, open it with Adobe Illustrator, click File>Save or Save as to recover unsaved Illustrator Files.

For Mac:

1. Go to Finder>Application>Terminal, and run this command line tool.

2. Type open $TMPDIR and press Enter to access the temporary folder in Mac.

Open Temp

3. Then, find and open the unsaved AI file with Adobe Illustrator. Save it with a new file name.

How to Recover Deleted or Corrupted Illustrator File

If you accidentally deleted the Illustrator file or lost due to other reasons, you can try to restore from backup image or data recovery software. If you just overwrite the original files, try to revert the file version.

Solution 1. Recover Deleted Illustrator File from Recycle Bin

Like other types of files, the deleted Illustrator file will be moved to Recycle Bin. If you are sure your files is deleted instead of permanently deleted, check the Recycle Bin folder.

1. Just go to the Recycle Bin on your Desktop.

2. Locate the deleted Illustrator file, right-click it and choose Restore.


Solution 2. Restore Illustrator File with Data Recovery Software 

MyRecover is a simple and easy-to-use data recovery software for Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, etc and Windows Server. It helps to find and recover deleted or corrupted Illustrator file quickly and successfully.

  • Has a clear graphical user interface, even novices can use it smoothly.
  • Provide advanced scanning methods: Quick Scan and Deep Scan.
  • Filter specific files accurately and quickly. You can specify file type & extension, date modified, and size.
  • Recover data from SSD, HDD, USB and SD card, up to 200+ file types. Except for Illustrator file, you can also recover word files, Excel files, PPT, PDF, emails, photos, videos, audios, etc.
  • Recover deleted or corrupted data due to software or system crash, accidental deletion, virus attack, and so on.

Download this simple data recovery software - MyRecover and install it on your computer. You can free recover files up to 30MB each time. To recover unlimited files, upgrade MyRecover.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

1. Open this Windows data recovery software - MyRecover. Select the disk or partition where your Illustrator file was lost and click Start Scan.


2. It will automatically run both scanning methods - Quick Scan and Deep Scan. Once it find any deleted or corrupted Illustrator files, it will list them in the following. You can choose to recover it directly or wait for the scanning result.


You can also search for Illustrator files with Filter and it’s faster. Here are 3 options in the following:

  • Type: It will contain all the file types in the local drive, such as, images, videos, documents, mails, webpage, compressed files, etc.
  • Data Modified: It supports today, yesterday, last 7 days, last 30 days, and custom.
  • Size: It allows you to filter file size from less than 128KB to 128KB ~1MB to 1MB ~ 512MB and above, or custom.

To retrieve deleted Illustrator files, here take Illustrator PDF as an example, click Filter > Type and select Documents. Then, input PDF in the Search for files or folders box.

Filter PDF Files

You can search AI Illustrator (.ai), Illustrator EPS (.eps), or Illustrator SVG (.svg) based on the type of your Illustrator files.

3. Choose the lost Illustrator files to recover and click Recover X files.

Recover PDF Files


  • MyRecover will display the number of files to be recovered and their entire size.
  • Select a new location to store the deleted files. Retrieving files to original location may overwrite the space of deleted Illustrator files, resulting in data recovery failure.
  • It is also able to recover files from formatted hard drive, external hard drive, USB drive, SD card etc.
  • Except for Windows 10, it still can recover deleted files from Windows Server 2016, 2019, 2022, etc.

Solution 3. Recover Adobe Illustrator File from File History

If you are in the habit of backing up important files regularly, such as, using File History, you can choose to restore Illustrator file from backup. It saves different file versions and you can select a specific version you want.

1. Go to Control Panel System and Security and select File History.

2. Select Restore personal files. It will open file history recovery window. 


3. Click the left arrow to locate the deleted Illustrator files, and click the Restore to original location icon to restore deleted files.


Solution 4. Recover Adobe Illustrator File to Previous Version

You can also try to restore Adobe Illustrator file to its previous version if you enable File History and save over a Illustrator file.

1. Press Win + E to open This PC. Locate the folder which is used to save the deleted Illustrator file.

2. Right-click it and then select Properties > Previous Version.

3. Select the previous folder version and click Restore to restore Illustrator files to previous version.


Solution 5. Recover Illustrator File with Revert & Recent Files

If you accidentally save your Illustrator file but don’t want to keep the change, you can try to revert it to the last saved version.

Revert Illustrator file:

Open Adobe Illustrator and click File > Revert. Then, it will automatically revert your Illustrator file to the last saved version.


Check the Recent file:

In Adobe Illustrator, go to File > Open Recent Files. You will see the files you recently working on. Open it in Adobe Illustrator and save it with a new file name.

Open Recent Files

How to Repair Corrupted Illustrator Files

If your Illustrator Files are damaged, you can try to repair it after recovery. It may happen due to different reasons, such as interruption due to power surge or computer crash, improper editing, converting, or formatting, virus attack, etc.

Solution 1: Repair AI Illustrator File

If you create AI Illustrator File with Create PDF Compatible File option, you can convert .ai file to .pdf file and it’s recoverable.

1. Open the damaged .ai file in Adobe Illustrator.

2. Click File > Save as and select .pdf as file type. Then, click Save.

3. Open the converted .pdf file in Illustrator and save it with .ai file type this time.

Solution 2: Repair Illustrator PDF File

For PDF files, there are many PDF repair tools online. For Illustrator PDF file, you can try

1. Visit Click the SELECT FILE button to upload Illustrator PDF files.

Select File

2. It requires an email address to repair your files. Type in and click NEXT STEP to run this repair process automatically. It will ask to you pay for the repairing.

Prepare Repair

How to Prevent Illustrator Files Deleted or Damaged

If you don’t want to lose Illustrator Files or other file types, you need to protect it well in the daily life. Here are two main ways to achieve it, namely enable Autosave to keep a copy of your unsaved files and directly create a file backup with backup software like AOMEI Backupper Standard.

Solution 1: Enable Illustrator Autosave to Keep Unsaved Files

1. Click Edit > Preferences > File Handling & Clipboard.

Illustrator Preferences

2. Then, tick the Automatically Save Recovery Data Every option. The default time interval is 2 minutes. You can also change it to a different time interval.  

3. Click Choose to select a new location for unsaved Illustrator file.

Turn On Autosave

4. Check Turn off Data Recovery for complex document to avoid interruption of the workflow.

5.  Finally, click OK to confirm you want to make these changes.

Solution 2: Create a Complete Copy of Your Illustrator File

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free and easy-to-use backup software for Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, etc. With it, you can create a complete copy of your Illustrator file and keep changes automatically. And it allows you to backup files to internal/external disk, USB drive, cloud drive, network drive or NAS.

1. Download and install Windows backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. Then, click Backup and File Backup to backup your Illustrator files.

File Backup

2. Set the Task Name to distinguish this backup task from others. Click Add File or Add Folder to choose Illustrator files you want to backup.

Add Folders Files

3. Select a location to store your data. It can be internal or external disk, USB flash drive, network drive, NAS device, Cloud Drive, etc.

Select Destination

4 (Optionally). Click Schedule Backup and enable DailyWeeklyMonthlyEvent triggers or USB plug in to backup Illustrator files automatically.

Schedule Settings General

5. Confirm the operation and click Start Backup. By default, it will enable incremental backup to backup only new or changed Illustrator files.

Besides you still need to keep your drivers up to date and scan for virus and malware regularly to prevent data loss.


✍ Can I recover unsaved Illustrator files in Windows 10?

Yes, you can recover unsaved Illustrator files in Windows 10 as long as you enable the Autosave feature in Adobe Illustrator. It will save a copy of unsaved file and give you a change to recover them.

✍ Why I don’t find unsaved Illustrator files from its backup location?

There are 2 main reasons. One is the Autosave feature is not enabled while the other is you set a new location to save your Illustrator files.

✍ How do I recover Illustrator temp files?

The Illustrator temp files are usually located in C:/Users/UserName/AppData/Local/Temp. You can go to this folder and select the file you want to recover, then open it and click File > Save as to make it.

Written in the end

This article introduce you to 7 effective ways on how to recover Illustrator file after crash, deletion or corruption as well as repair damaged Illustrator files. If you have problems dealing with them, please follow the methods above. Hope it will help you.

Besides, you still need to make some precautions to protect your Illustrator file. For unsaved file, please ensure the Auto-save feature is enable. For deleted or corrupted files, the best practice is to create a complete copy of them in advanced.

Zoey · Editor
Zoey works as an English editor of AOMEI Technology. She provides tech information about backup and restore, mobile data transfer, and so on for AOMEI. She hopes that her articles will be greatly helpful for users. She is fond of music, film, and photography.