Welcome Dialog

Welcome to the Community!

We have a brand new look! Take a tour with us and explore the latest updates on Adobe Support Community.


the file is an unknown format and cannot be opened (.ai file)

Engaged ,
May 31, 2011 May 31, 2011

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi. I am on XP and working with AI CS4.

I cannot open an Illustrator file that I created last year. I did NOT have this file emailed to me. I just need to make a couple edits and reprint it.

This is what I have tried to do:

I tried zipping the file and opening it.

I tried Ctrl + Shift + Alt clicking on Open when trying to open the file fro the Open dialog box.

I tried copying & pasting the file to another directory to open it.

I tried using another version of Illustrator, 10.

I tried right clicking and selecting Open With Illustrator.

I found another post on this topic that mentions to enable content recovery mode:

http://forums.adobe.com/message/2560449#2560449

It is just here, http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/500/cpsid_50031.html it says it can be risky and I am afraid to damage other Illustrator files. There are a lot on the system.

I was just wondering if there was another way. I do not have a backup of this file (didn't think it was important). I may have a jpg, but I'd like the actual Illustrator file to work with if possible.

Thank you.

TOPICS
Performance

Views

94.3K

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines

correct answers 1 Correct answer

Engaged , May 31, 2011 May 31, 2011
Here is what I did...I found this link: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Adobe-Illustrator-1027/open-ai-file.htmI placed the .ai file into InDesign then exported it as an .eps file. It now opens in Illustrator. There are no text boxes, just those blue lines (I don't remember what that is called), but I can edit text.I saved as a .ai file and it opens.

Likes

Translate

Translate
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 31, 2011 May 31, 2011

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Stella,

Did you try to create a new document and File>Place the damamged file in it, to see what may be recovered that way?

Any risk only applies to the file you are changing; you may work on a copy.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Engaged ,
May 31, 2011 May 31, 2011

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi Jacob - actually yes I did try that one too. I knew I was missing one! It said it is in a format in which the file cannot be placed.

And thanks I will try to work on a copy from my C drive. I normally work on another drive for artwork like this. I'll see what happens.....ahh

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Engaged ,
May 31, 2011 May 31, 2011

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Thank you for your reply too, Jacob. I changed the AI Prefs file and enabled content recovery. I then tried to open the file by starting up Illustrator, going to File>Open>path to file> Select file> Ctrl + Shift + Alt click Open. It still would not open the file, it said the same thing about being an unknown format.

In the Prefs file I have this now:

}
/aiFileFormat {
/enableATEReadRecovery 0
/enableContentRecovery 1
/clipboardPSLevel 3
/enableATEWriteRecovery 0
/PDFCompatibility 1
/cmykPostScript 1
}

I saved the file, but took the extension out.

I was not able to do Step 2 from this link: http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/500/cpsid_50032.html

I do not see a recovered file.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 31, 2011 May 31, 2011

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Stella,

I saved the file, but took the extension out.

I am uncertain about this statement.

Another thought: have you tried opening the file in Acrobat (relevant if saved with PDF compatibility, which may rescue a possibly simplified version of the artwork)?

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Engaged ,
May 31, 2011 May 31, 2011

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi Jacob.

I opened the AI Prefs file in NotePad then I saved it at the Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator [version] Settings\en_US\AIPrefs path as a txt file. I then went to this path in Windows Explorer &  deleted the .txt extension. The file looks like this "AIPrefs"

without an extension.

I just tried opening the file into Acrobat, but it said Acrobat could not open because it is either not a supported file type or the file has been damaged.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Engaged ,
May 31, 2011 May 31, 2011

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Here is what I did...

I found this link: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Adobe-Illustrator-1027/open-ai-file.htm

I placed the .ai file into InDesign then exported it as an .eps file. It now opens in Illustrator. There are no text boxes, just those blue lines (I don't remember what that is called), but I can edit text.

I saved as a .ai file and it opens.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 31, 2011 May 31, 2011

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Congratulations, Stella.

File recovery is very difficult, and often fails whichever the effort.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Engaged ,
May 31, 2011 May 31, 2011

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Thank you very much!

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
New Here ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Your brilliant! Worked like a charm.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

If that rather complicated workaround works, you should be able to just create a new Illustrator file and place the corrupt one it it. That way you don't have to use the outdated EPS format, which can further ruin what's still left of your file.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
New Here ,
Nov 16, 2016 Nov 16, 2016

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hello Everyone+Stella,

I faced the same problem.  At first I saved in AI format and when I was trying to open it that was showing the problem.

The solution is: Just save the file in EPS format and it is done !  Now it is opening smoothly. Thanks everyone.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
New Here ,
May 31, 2017 May 31, 2017

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

The file "Back school.zip" is in an unknown format and cant be opened

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 31, 2017 May 31, 2017

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Try unzipping it first.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Advocate ,
Jul 19, 2017 Jul 19, 2017

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I had a similar problem today, it was on an older file which had come off of an archive, The solution I found was to open the Illustrator file in a text editing program, I checked the header info which indicated that it was originally saved as a CS3 file. I created a new Illustrator document, and saved it as a CS3 file, and compared the header info for both files in a text editor. The corrupted file looked like this:

___i_*UDF Mac ResourceFork____∂___//:+_Äó_13!Saved As v.13 Created by v.13.0.0__//:îÚ3_$__2vers

__Version%PDF-1.5

The newly created file looked like this:

%PDF-1.5

So, I replaced the first 2 likes in the corrupt file with the first line in the other file, and I was able to open the corrupted file.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
LEGEND ,
Jul 19, 2017 Jul 19, 2017

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Mark, if you look closer you can see the correct PDF signature in the third line. This file was probably copied (mailed, zipped) between a Mac and a Windows machine, and the governing software thought it was a good idea to just stick Mac OS X's internal metadata to the start of the file.

If you used a plain text editor, you got very lucky with this one! Most "plain text editors" mess up binary files beyond salvation, and a PDF is a binary file. Worth mentioning because most people won't be that lucky (imaging letting Notepad loose on such a file). Next time, try with a good hex editor.

Also, this is by far not the only thing that can go wrong with a file, and I'd highly recommend to others with damaged files to not try this ... Nevertheless, good save!

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Advocate ,
Jul 19, 2017 Jul 19, 2017

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Thanks for the extra info, this was a straight Illustrator file, not a PDF. Unless things have changed, they are still text files, correct? Plus, this was on a mac, and I never had a problem before editing them via the standard text edit programs. I don't think I'd try using Notepad, however.

I used to edit the Postscript code for corrupt illustrator files back 20 years or so. I don't recall what was the cause of the corruption, but there used to be better information when opening them (the error dialog would show the offending code, and I could often find that line, and compare to the same line in another similar file). I believe I also used that method to merge custom colors and such before that was possible.

Once, I saw the contents of someone's Apple Menu Items folder listed in the actual postscript code of an Illustrator file. never figured out what happened to cause that to happen.

Yes, I was lucky that it was a quick and easy find, but if it hadn't worked, I would have dug further and possibly found the culprit.

I will look into using a hex editor in the future, though.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Beginner ,
May 03, 2018 May 03, 2018

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi all,

This can also happen when the original file should have been saved as a different file format than it's original intention. For example, I exported a file from Photoshop and manually typed in as .jpg when it was being exported as a .png file! So go back and export the original again, or even try to change the file extension manually, in this case, being from .jpg to .png.

Hope this helps!

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 04, 2018 May 04, 2018

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

testifystudio  schrieb

Hi all,

This can also happen when the original file should have been saved as a different file format than it's original intention. For example, I exported a file from Photoshop and manually typed in as .jpg when it was being exported as a .png file! So go back and export the original again, or even try to change the file extension manually, in this case, being from .jpg to .png.

Hope this helps!

No, this doesn't help.

First: it's wrong. Even Photoshop does not change the file type just by typing an extension.

Second: this thread is from 2011.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Beginner ,
May 04, 2018 May 04, 2018

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

With all due respect,

This was an issue that I was trying to resolve today, so found this help file, and;
I resolved the issue today by manually changing the file extension in finder.

With regards

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Beginner ,
Jul 07, 2020 Jul 07, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi all, I'm facing the same issue right now only when I try to place the corrupt file into a new Illustrator file or a new Indesign File, it still doesn't work. When I tried placing it into the new Illustrator file the prompt, "The file '____' is in a format which cannot be placed." and when placed in Indesign the prompt "Cannot place this file. No filter found for requested operation." appeared. 
I recently cleaned my Mac because I was running out of space on Photoshop and Illustrator. I backed up all my files onto my hard drive (or so I thought) and used CleanMyMac to make space. Only afterwards did I realize all my files on my hard drive were corrupted (I don't know if this had to do with CleanMyMac).


If I try double clicking the file to open, it won't register.
If I drag to the program to open the prompt "File can't be found" appears. 

If I drag to desktop then drag to program open the prompt "The file '___' is in an unknown format and cannot be opened" appears. 

 

I don't know what to do, these files are very important to my work. 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 08, 2020 Jul 08, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

And the backup doesn't work either?

Yes, third party tools such as CleanMyMac can do harm to files. And they sometimes delete stuff that should not be deleted.

 

If you are running out of space, get additional harddisks.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Beginner ,
Jul 07, 2020 Jul 07, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi all, I'm facing the same issue right now only when I try to place the corrupt file into a new Illustrator file or a new Indesign File, it still doesn't work. When I tried placing it into the new Illustrator file the prompt, "The file '____' is in a format which cannot be placed." and when placed in Indesign the prompt "Cannot place this file. No filter found for requested operation." appeared. 
I recently cleaned my Mac because I was running out of space on Photoshop and Illustrator. I backed up all my files onto my hard drive (or so I thought) and a program to make space. Only afterwards did I realize all my files on my hard drive were corrupted (I don't know if this had to do with the program I used to clean).


If I try double clicking the file to open, it won't register.
If I drag to the program to open the prompt "File can't be found" appears. 

If I drag to desktop then drag to program open the prompt "The file '___' is in an unknown format and cannot be opened" appears. 

 

I don't know what to do, these files are very important to my work. 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
New Here ,
Nov 03, 2020 Nov 03, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi themelancholy02,

 

I am facing the exact same issue minus the clean my mac. I transferred all my files to an external hardrive and the .ai files are doing the exact same in illustrator and indesign. Did you find a solution?

 

Thank You

 

Jayde

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
New Here ,
Nov 16, 2021 Nov 16, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi did you find a solution?

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
    • 1
    • 2