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Adobe Illustrator Graphic Design Variable Data

How to Use Variable Data in Adobe Illustrator

How to Use Variable Data in Adobe Illustrator, you can create design pieces looks the same but the text is different like names or addresses. #variabledata #adobeillustrator

How to Use Variable Data in Adobe Illustrator

Often printers use variable data in Adobe InDesign to print such as guest list. But did you know it is possible in Adobe Illustrator too?

How to Use Variable Data in Adobe Illustrator, you can create design pieces looks the same but the text is different like names or addresses. #variabledata #adobeillustrator

You need a CSV file. Comma Separated File. NOTE: The headers cannot contain spaces, single word, unlike in Adobe InDesign. (Or you can use xml file.

Unlike Adobe InDesign you can auto apply the header, in Adobe Illustrator you have to tell it what’s what.

1. Open the Variables Data pallet. (Under Window Menu)

2. Click Import (Select the CSV or XML file)

Note: Headers need single word no spaces!

Variable Data Adobe Illustrator

3. Highlight the first data point text.

4. Click on the variable section it applies to.

5. Click on Make Text Dynamic.

Adobe Illustrator Variable Data

6. Repeat for any other data points.

Note: Each data point needs it’s own text box

7. To see the list, click on the dropdown menu, now you can arrow over for each entry.

Note: It works like Microsoft Access Database as It doesn’t created pages like Adobe InDesign.

Variable Data Adobe Illustrator

7. Create New Action.

8. Label it CreatePDF.

9. Record a save as PDF.

10. Stop Recording.

11. Apply Action.

Adobe Illustrator Variable Data

Note: You have to create the action to make the multiple page PDF files, this will create them as indivdual pdf files.


In Adobe Illustrator, it doesn’t create pages, like Adobe InDesign, it almost works like a database program similar to Microsoft Access, where you tab to the next entry using buttons.

With that said, you have to create an action to save all the data points into individual pdf files and use imposing plugins or software to combine them into one pdf, if needed.

In Adobe Illustrator if you adjust the text on one data point, it changes then for all data points. However, if you used Adobe InDesign, it just changes it on that one.

Here is a helpful video I found …

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Steve is graphic designer who works at a print shop. He has been in graphic design since high school and continued on to get an Associates of Applied Science degree in graphic design too. He has since worked mostly in advertising design for various newspapers and shoppers. He has also worked for a couple sign companies. He currently works at a print shop. Steve has over 30 lifetime years of graphic design.
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