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Illustrator error "An unknown error has occurred"

New Here ,
Nov 10, 2016 Nov 10, 2016

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I am working in an .ai file that I have saved frequently before. Suddenly when I try to save the file, I get an error that reads "an unknown error has occurred" and the file won't save at all, anywhere. I have not seen this error message before and have had no issues opening or saving the file up until this point.

I need to have the file as an .ai file (not .eps or any other format). I am working in Illustrator CC (2015.3) and using macOS Sierra.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Employee , Jun 24, 2021 Jun 24, 2021
Hi All, Sorry to hear about this experience. In addition to the suggestions given in earlier responses, we'd recommend you to update the app to the latest version. Steps are shared here. If the issue still persist, you could check a few more things: Is the file being saved on network drive/shared folder/external HDD? If yes, try saving it locally & see if it helps. Is the issue related to a specific file? If yes, please follow the steps shared in this help article (https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/kb/troubleshoot-file-issues.html...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 15, 2016 Nov 15, 2016

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caryst84992742 schrieb:

I am having this problem too, running AI CC2017 / El Capitain 10.11.6.

I was able to save the file if saved down as CS6, which seemed preferable to losing my work... but not ideal!

What about hidden/locked layers?

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 15, 2016 Nov 15, 2016

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I'm not sure to be honest. The image potentially did have some layers turned off, but I didn't test this as hadn't known it was the probable cause

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New Here ,
Dec 02, 2016 Dec 02, 2016

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The same issue happened to me when I tried to save with Illustrator CC 2017.

After testing, it seemed to be an issue with locked or hidden layers.

Just unlock and make all layers visible and then it'll save for you like normal.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 02, 2016 Dec 02, 2016

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Thanks for this, useful to know

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New Here ,
Dec 04, 2016 Dec 04, 2016

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Thanks for this– it helped. I've just gone through one of my .ai files layer by layer: I'd delete the layer, hitting cmmd+s, getting the "An unknown error has occurred" error, hitting undo, then deleting the next layer, trying cmmd+s etc etc until via a process of elimination I narrowed it down to one specific hidden sub layer. Either deleting that specific hidden sub layer  – or simply making it visible – allowed me to save the file. That layer contained a simple path. It wasn't a text layer. It didn't contain a linked file. I'm working on my local drive. Illustrator CC2017. OSX 10.11.5.

I've only just started experiencing this issue over the past couple of days, and it's happening with .ai files created over past months (or years) that I've never had issues with.

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New Here ,
Dec 13, 2016 Dec 13, 2016

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This actually just started happening to me yesterday and that was the only solution I could find that worked (turning on any hidden layers).

I run a late 2015 iMac with Sierra OS and Illustrator CC2017. I do not save to the network, I work from my computer's local Documents folder. I've been using this set up for months and this problem has only just started. Today, I've uninstalled and reinstalled Illustrator, restarting after each step. Still the same problem.

I also, notice that if I try to Save As over the file, by specifically navigating to the folder where the original is located (I was trying to see if maybe it was linking the file to a USB by mistake as I sometimes back up some files there in case I want to work a bit more at home. ) it will give me the "this file has been modified outside of Illustrator..." error and if I say "Yes" to saving anyway it follows up with the unknown error". Brilliant.

Anyway, unhiding all layers does the trick for now, it's just a time waster as I'm trying to organize layers for animation in After Effects and having to reveal all my layers every time I want to save and then hide them again to work is pretty frustrating.

Just wanted to add my story here in case it's helpful to anyone and to drawing attention to this bug.

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New Here ,
Dec 27, 2016 Dec 27, 2016

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Which is great except that I am working on a project that has gone through many iterations, and the customer wants to explore variations on a theme. Hiding objects makes keeping things aligned SO much simpler, and NOT being able to use a CORE FUNCTION of the program is truly stupid. It is a bug that needs to be fixed, and should have been fixed a while ago, from the looks of things. What the heck, Adobe? More and more like Microsoft in all the BAD ways every day...

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New Here ,
Jan 09, 2017 Jan 09, 2017

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Figured out a more solid work around. It appears to be an issue with hiding (and possibly with locking) main layers. If I hide an asset or group on a layer, saves just fine and preserves the integrity of the projects I'm working on (which, after 30+ iterations, has FINALLY been approved ).

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New Here ,
Dec 06, 2016 Dec 06, 2016

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I'm having the same exact issue, only with CC2017 on Windows 7. In my case, when a certain layer is locked, it throws the unknown error when saving. Once that layer is unlocked, save works ok. Also, I've found the behavior is consistent no matter where that layer is in the stack. In my sample file, the suspect layer only has 2 polygons. I hope Adobe can fix this quickly.

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New Here ,
Dec 15, 2016 Dec 15, 2016

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Same issue was happening to me. I just coped all of the work in my file (command A) and then pasted it in a new document and then it would save. Works well only if you didnt have your own guides.

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New Here ,
Dec 22, 2016 Dec 22, 2016

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I have only one layer. I created a new document and moved all the elements and that didn't save either. HELP

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 07, 2017 Jan 07, 2017

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I'm having the same problem and it is soo frustrating..

running illustrator cc 2017 on a 2015 macbook pro, Sierra 10.12.2

Everytime i go to save it come up with 'an unknown error has occured' and there seems to be no particular cause-effect correlation..

I've only recently gotten back into working with illustrator and the first time it didn't work i managed to fix it by making everything 100% opacity (which sucks because thats a whole heap of work i now have to redo), which worked even while some layers were locked or hidden.. The second time it only worked after i deleted a jpg that was in there for reference and the third time neither fix would work and it only saved after i unlocked and unhid everything.

It seems like a completely random problem but possibly the most annoying and frustrating one...

C'mon adobe - how haven't you fixed this yet?

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Engaged ,
Jan 08, 2017 Jan 08, 2017

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I too am having this problem with Adobe Illustrator CC 2017 v21.0.0 running on El Capitan 10.11.6. For me, the problem is not locked layers, but hidden layers. The ONLY way I've been able to save my Illustrator document is by unhiding ALL the layers.

[UPDATE]

It appears that there was an issue with one of my layers. Once I deleted that layer everything saved fine. Not sure what was triggering the layer problem, unless there were linked items, which was mentioned previously, that I was unaware of.

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New Here ,
Jan 09, 2017 Jan 09, 2017

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I've got the same issue and although I can't identify why it's happening, I can say it is definitely due to a specific object. If I delete the object, the problem goes away. I've been playing with spot colors and changing other aspects to see what could be the offending attribute, but no luck yet. The object is just a simple group of vector shapes, nothing linked, no overlapping spot colors with transparency or anything. Haven't figured it out yet. Will update this if I figure it out.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 24, 2017 Jan 24, 2017

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I am wondering if the issue is being caused by objects created via shape builder... I have 100 layers with other objects and I am only having the 'Unknown Error' issue if I include this one layer... The only thing I can think is that its a shape builder shape because I believe its the only layer I used shape builder for anything... I even created a new file, redrew the whole object and pasted it to an entirely new layer in a different version of the file and somehow it still said 'Unknown Error' I was beyond POed... I redrew the whole thing lol. The only unique thing about that layer that comes to mind is that i used shape builder... I tried updating to the newest AI 2017 patch but that broke the software entirely and I had to role back. Extremely frustrating but I'm going to test the shape builder theory out tonight after work.

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Contributor ,
Jan 31, 2017 Jan 31, 2017

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I ran into this tonight at 11:06 pm it's now 1:14 am and I figured out what is causing it but not how to resolve or fix it.

I go to save and get the message 'An unknown error has occurred.'

I tried to save as. Same thing happened. Copied artwork out into new file. Same thing happened. Tried to rebuild file and same thing happened.

I selected all my paths which had a graphic style applied to them and make them no fill no stroke, than just manually colored the stroke instead of using my graphic style and the file saved and didn't give me the error.

So I tried all my other graphic styles (Which I've been using for years just fine) and even if it wasn't the new style but my old dependable ones the file would error out and not save.

So I think Graphic Styles has become corrupt? I think? I don't know, I can't get any Adobe engineer to help me. The moderators on the forum won't be able to address it, it's clearly a new bug. I'm using 21.0.0 CC 2017.

So now I can't use Graphic Styles, great. And I pay for this type of creative experience. Wonderful.

I've wasted three hours tonight, at my studio rate that is six months CC subscription I should get comped by Adobe. Hell they don't even pay their beta testers and I isolated the problem for them.

Here endeth my rant.

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Contributor ,
Jan 31, 2017 Jan 31, 2017

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Well now if I select shapes and remove stroke I can save the file. If I even manually color stroke now I get the error? I'm dead in the water.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 31, 2017 Jan 31, 2017

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Hi Von,

the unknown error may be caused by a myriad of reasons. Most of them maybe unknown to Illustrator itself.

This thread is marked solved so probably not too many people will read it anymore. Better to create a new thread.

What exactly is defined in your graphic style? Is it possible to isolate the one attribute that is causing the issue? Maybe a feature that has since been updated, such as the Gaussian blur or arrowheads.

Which version is this? Some issues have been reported with old files in some versions (don't know if the issues have been solved yet, but have you tried a different version?).

The Illustrator team has this e-mail address where you can send files that are causing trouble so they can analyze them.

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Contributor ,
Jan 31, 2017 Jan 31, 2017

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Adobe engineers confirmed it's a bug in 21.0.0 and 21.0.2 seems to fix it. Now if they can go back and fix the bug they release via CC three years ago and fix the snapping problem.

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New Here ,
Feb 01, 2017 Feb 01, 2017

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Please unsubscribe me from this thread.

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New Here ,
Jan 09, 2017 Jan 09, 2017

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I'm also having this issue, and it also seems to have something to do with hidden/locked layers for me.  Issue started happening when I upgraded to CC2017.  I'm on a Mac, running El Capitan.

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New Here ,
Jan 10, 2017 Jan 10, 2017

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I just ran the 2017.0.1 update and it appears my issue is fixed. YMMV.

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New Here ,
Jan 13, 2017 Jan 13, 2017

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Confirmed. The 2017.0.1 update fixed the issue for me too.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 24, 2017 Jan 24, 2017

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i have windows 10 surface book and there is one layer that, when I include it in the file, I can't save 'Unknown Error'. I need to check if it is only when locked, not sure if unlocking will fix it. I even redrew a whole new vector and brought it in and it had the problem again! But none of the other layers cause issue. Its super bizarre.

I tried updating to the new update that came out but that just broke AI completely. Idk what the issue is as the file opens and save fine on my mac and my windows 7 desktop thought they both have earlier cc versions.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 28, 2017 Feb 28, 2017

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Yes the Unlock fixes it! If you have many layers it is supoer annoying to figure out which one is causing the issue but unlocking does fix the save issue.

Weird thing is if I try to update to the newest version of illustrator CC 2017 (21.0.2) the entire program breaks (fails on load). Even if I completely uninstall and reinstall it still breaks. I think it might have to do with a corrupted cache going from one version to the next. Once I'm done my current project I'm going to try to figure out to upgrade it successfully... I am guessing I will need to back my settings/preferences up separately and try reinstalling with default preferences; then try importing mine and hoping that it doesn't glitch out... It could also be that the Astute graphics plugin I've been using (version 1) is no longer supported in 21.0.2... which would be weird considering it works fine in 21.0.0 and they are both Illustrator CC 2017.

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