How to Recover Adobe Illustrator Files

You can recover Illustrator files by retrieving lost files from Autosave, Illustrator Backup, Revert option, Recent Files, Recycle Bin, and third-party data recovery tools.

Losing a file in Illustrator can be frustrating, especially when it is for a client. Making a design is a creative process that requires a great deal of attention. Losing your file or parts of the file can disrupt your creative process.

Hi, my name is Rita. I have been using Adobe Illustrator for over five years. Like you, I have experienced my Illustrator software crash right in the middle of a design – Phew! 

The good thing about the Illustrator program is that it provides the option to autosave files as you work. Activating the autosave option will help you recover lost files when you restart the program.

In this article, I will show you six quick and easy ways to recover files in Adobe Illustrator.

Key Takeaways

  • Adobe Illustrator has an auto-recovery feature that automatically saves your work. In case of a crash or accidental closure, this feature can help you recover your work. By default, Illustrator creates recovery data every 5 minutes.
  • Correctly naming and organizing your Illustrator files can make it easier to locate them in the future. 
  • Do not save new files over the location of your lost Illustrator file as it could overwrite it and make recovery more complex.

5 Ways to Recover Unsaved Illustrator Files 

Suddenly, losing an Illustrator file while working can be annoying. Don’t freak out! I will show you six easy ways to recover your Illustrator files quickly.

Method 1: Autosave

Adobe Illustrator’s autosave program helps to recover unsaved files when the program quits unexpectedly. 

A sudden crash or system shutdown may happen while working on an Illustrator file. This unexpected crash will not allow you to save your file. However, you can recover your unsaved file if you enable the autosave feature by restarting the program.

Note: When you reopen the Illustrator file after shutdown, the unsaved file will have a recovered suffix. This file will be visible on the top bar of the program. You can save the recovered file in your preferred name and location.

Let’s see how this works in practice.

Step 1: Restart the Illustrator program. You will see a window pop-up like this.

Step 2: Click OK to close the dialogue box and view the recovered file at the panel’s top.

Step 3: Save your recovered file. Go to the overhead menu and click File > Save As to save the recovered file in a new name and location.

Method 2: Recover Adobe Illustrator Lost File from Trash or Recycle Bin

This is one of the easiest methods of recovering files from Adobe Illustrator. You can recover your deleted file with this method by going to the Recycle Bin (for Windows users) and Trash (for Mac Users).

Simply find your lost file from Trash or Recycle Bin, right-click on the file, and select Restore.

Note: It won’t work if your Trash or recycle bin is empty. 

Method 3: Recover Missing Illustrator Files from Recent Files

This method is used for recovering Illustrator files that have not been deleted but still can’t be found.

If you’ve been working on a specific file recently and can’t locate it, consider checking the “Recent Files” section. Just navigate to File > Open Recent Files, and you’ll find a list of the files you’ve accessed in the near past.

You can easily select, open, and retrieve the Illustrator file you’re looking for from this list. Once you’ve found it, save it to your preferred location.

Method 4:  Recover Lost Files from Adobe Illustrator Backup

Adobe Illustrator offers a lifeline for salvaging lost data due to either data mishaps or application hiccups. However, it’s important to note that this recovery feature isn’t active immediately. You need to enable the data recovery preferences within Illustrator.

Once you’ve done this, you can choose a location for your backup or recovery files. However, if you don’t specify a location in your data recovery preferences, Illustrator will, by default, save your files in these locations:

On a Windows PC

C:>\Users<username>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator <version number> Settings\en_US*\x64\Adobe Illustrator Prefs\DataRecovery.

On a Mac

Macintosh hard disk/Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator <version number> Settings/en_US*/Adobe Illustrator Prefs/ DataRecovery.

The “DataRecovery” folder might be labeled as “CrashRecovery” in some versions of Adobe Illustrator. 

You can do the following with Adobe Illustrator Backup:

  • Bring back unsaved Illustrator files.
  • Retrieve deleted Illustrator files.
  • Restore Illustrator files after an unexpected crash.
  • Recover Illustrator files from a collision.
  • Investigate the cause behind Illustrator crashes.
  • Address any issues that crop up during the process.

Follow these easy steps to recover unsaved/deleted Illustrator files from your backup folder:

Step 1: Go to the assigned Illustrator data recovery folder or follow the default location detailed earlier on your computer.

Step 2: Look for files named “recovery” or “recovered”. Select the one you’re looking for and rename it.

Step 3: Now, open the file with Illustrator, and click File > Save to save your file.

You can recover the last saved version or previous versions of your lost Illustrator file with this method. However, you won’t be able to recoup the lost data if Illustrator crashes between your recovery intervals.

If you don’t see your unsaved Illustrator files at this location on your computer, it could be due to one of these two reasons:

  • You didn’t activate it within Illustrator Preferences.
  • Your Preferences are configured to save files in a different location. If so, head to the assigned area for Illustrator file retrieval.

Note: whenever Illustrator crashes, the data recovery feature turns off automatically. In such cases, you must reactivate it from the Preferences panel to auto-save your data. 

Follow these simple steps to enable autosave from Illustrator preferences.

Step 1: Start the Adobe Illustrator. 

Step 2: Go to Preferences > File Handling and check Automatically Save Recovery Data Every:

Step 3: Select the time interval from the dropdown menu.

Step 4: Select the folder/ choose the location where Illustrator will store the backup files. Then

Click OK.

Method 5: Use Data Recovery Tools

Here are some popular data recovery tools that you can use to recover your lost Illustrator files.

  • Disk Drill is a data recovery utility for Windows and macOS developed by Cleverfiles. It was introduced in 2010 and is primarily designed to recover deleted or lost files from hard disk drives, USB flash drives, and SSD drives with the help of Recovery Vault technology.
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a top-notch tool that has helped millions of users retrieve their precious data. Whether you have deleted files from a disk.
  • Stellar Data Recovery is a data recovery utility for Windows, macOS, and iOS. It supports all file formats and drives.
  • Wise Data Recovery allows you to recover lost files on your Windows system(64-bit and 32-bit). It has been developed to work on Windows 10 and other Windows.

How to Prevent Losing Unsaved Illustrator Files

Preventing the loss of Adobe Illustrator files is essential to protect your hard work and maintain productivity. Here are several key tips to help you avoid losing Illustrator files:

  • Regularly Save Your Work
  • Use Auto-Recovery
  • Enable Autosave
  • Back Up Your Files using Cloud services
  • Name and Organize Files
  • Keep Your Software Updated
  • Avoid Force Closes
  • Regularly Maintain Your Computer
  • Use Third-Party Backup Solutions

Final Thoughts

Losing files while working can be frustrating, but knowing you can recover them puts you at ease. You still can’t recover your lost file with any of the methods? Then, use our file loss prevention tips to prevent future occurrences.

Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comment section below.

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