Quick Tip: Opening New Illustrator Files in an Older Version

Jan 31, 2014 by Mark Ward in Quick Tips

Today I received a logo from a client that was built using the latest version of Illustrator. I am still using CS5 and it didn’t want to open the file.


Sometimes you don’t have time to track down someone with a new version of Illustrator or to request the file to be saved in another format…especially when something has to be done yesterday. Fear not, there is an easy solution to this predicament.

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Open Adobe InDesign
  3. Place document in InDesign
  4. Export as PDF
  5. Open in Illustrator
  6. That’s it…enjoy

It would be nice if illustrator could automate this process to be more backward compatible, but then again they need your money!

Hope this helps someone.


  • Pat

    Awesome! I can’t believe I’m the first to comment on this. Worked great!

  • Debra McCormick

    Great tip!!! You just saved me a lot of time, effort and aggravation. I hate the new subscription based program that Adobe is forcing down our throats. This is invaluable as I refuse to pay the ransom for later versions of the Creative Suite.

    I can’t believe I didn’t think of this. It works perfectly. Thanks so much

  • Lou Mercurio, Graphic Designer

    Outstanding Mark! Nice tip and it saved me a lot of calling.

  • C

    Life saver!

  • Kris

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    • markwarddesign

      You’re welcome!

  • The Mighty Kevin 2

    Thank you! This is invaluable information.

  • 708UL

    THANKS!!! You save me today.

  • Patrick

    Really appreciated this; saved me from having to request the file to be re-saved in a lower version.

  • sbdeaver

    Lifesaver! Thank you so much.