Opening Adobe Illustrator Files

Blog Post created by 1-4EQZK9 on Apr 3, 2012

The interoperability between Adobe PDF, Illustrator and Photoshop files is important to Engineers and designers. Fortunately, SolidWorks has strived to improve compatiblity with these important design formats.


Adobe Illustrator is a particularly often used format for the creation of artwork, logos and product identification graphics. These elements are often needed to be represented in the 3D design of the product and therefore the product designer needs away convenient way to use artwork generated by the art department in engineering.


After the introduction of import of AI files in 2007, it was known that there were still quality issues that remained. For the development of the 2010 version, SolidWorks developers, with the guidance of Product Defiinition Specialist Utpal Kumar, set out to dramatically improve the quality of AI files that are opened in SolidWorks.


After investigation into our current technology (using a 3rd party importer technology) and the demands of customer cases on-hand, it became clear that the only way that SolidWorks would be able to insure quality would be to have AI running in the background and doing the conversion from it while SolidWorks opens the AI file. So starting with the 2010 version. Adobe Illustrator version CS3 or later of Illustrator must be installed on your system.


Some of the issues that have been addressed between the old and new AI importer are the inability to Import to sketches, Imports as blank sketch, Missing entities, Distorted entities and the success rate to less than 50% of cases (as per user experience.) Below illustrates some of these improvements.




Some additonal tips for using Illustrator files with SolidWorks:


  • It is known that some fonts in Illustrator will not translate correctly from Illustrator to SolidWorks. In the case where you are using AI files with fonts, first convert them to outlines first before saving and opening in SolidWorks.
  • If you do not have AI, then have the sender save it as a SW file first if they have SW. It this type of transfer is done on a regular basis, then the $400 investment of a seat of AI would be well worth getting.
  • If the AI file is coming from MAC, especially older AI versions and it does not transfer into SW, then open up the AI file on a WIN based PC and save.