July 12: Illustrator Variable Data Techniques

In the March CC2018 update to Illustrator, Adobe finally brought the variable-data feature to everyday users by implementing a very basic CSV-import function. They followed the path trail-blazed by Vasily Hall’s script, the VariableImporter. Evidently, as witnessed through his various literature and research there was user demand for performing data-merge in Illustrator, but why? Let’s take a look at the features which differentiate Illustrator variable-data workflows from others such as InDesign or Photoshop.


Explore the unique benefits of Illustrator’s variety of variable-data with a demonstration of a sample workflow: the creation of alternate layout advertisement designs for a frozen yogurt chain with unique file names, all from a spreadsheet!

  • Start with a basic demo – output personalized name tags using just the new basic Illustrator csv-import feature
    • Learn how to create a spreadsheet for data ingestion
    • Create and bind text variables
  • Next, step right into the advanced demo: create an arbitrary amount of various alternate layout designs for the fictitious frozen yogurt eatery
    • Take advantage of the recordable “Edit Original” action to bring an editable asset into the master template
    • Ensure each file is named as specified on the data spreadsheet
    • Export just a specific part of the master template by using some of Illustrator-specific features such as color swatches and ability to fit artboards to artwork. See the result
  • But wait, there’s more! Learn what the most powerful export feature Illustrator has which can be combined with this technique, and see a quick recap of Vasily’s experimental workflow technology from the CreativePRO week conference, 2018. (It’s a cool-looking Chrome-to-Illustrator extension)

This presentation has demonstration files for a hands-on educational experience, anyone who has a version of Adobe Illustrator installed on a laptop is encouraged to bring your device for a rewarding session of follow-along fun! Download the demo files (100 MB).

Since this is dinnertime, we’ll have pizza available.

The meeting starts at 6:00. The doors are locked at 6:30; if you arrive and they are locked, knock – there will be someone at the New Horizons front desk and they will let you in.

About the presenter

Vasily Hall (LinkedIn profile) is a Dallas area Adobe Illustrator user and graphic arts workflow automation professional. Since picking up Adobe ExtendScript at his first production art job 4 years ago, he has been steadily learning and growing clients in North Texas, as well as nationally, with custom graphics workflow scripting services.


Date: Thurs, July 12, 2018
Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m. (the doors are locked at 6:30; the person at the reception desk will open them for latecomers)
Place: New Horizons Computer Learning Center, 300 E Highland Mall Blvd. Suite 100. Turn north onto Jonathan and park in the Visitor parking area
RSVP: To help our host New Horizons Computer Learning Center select a room that comfortably seats everyone, please RSVP to this free event