Announcing Merge Text Extension for Adobe Illustrator (Ajar Productions)

[Editor’s note: Dealing with broken text (common in PDF files) can be dastardly. There are a couple existing scripts out there, but few combine and preserve the font styling information at the same time. This new script does that with options. I’m curious how this new script from Ajar Productions installs into Illustrator using the Adobe Extension Manager, usually just for the old Macromedia products but not in all CS4 apps? The Flash version is also appealing.]

Republished from Ajar Productions. First seen at Mordy’s Real World Illustrator blog.

Following the release of [Ajar’s] Combine Textfields extension for Flash, [they] put together a similar extension for Adobe Illustrator. This extension installs a script that will merge text (including text on a path) into one text object, while retaining the style attributes of the individual pieces, including character styles as well as paragraph styles (if the separator includes a return character).

Anyone who’s tried to edit text from a PDF opened in Illustrator knows how frustrating it can be to make simple text edits when the text is broken up. This extension reduces that headache.

Special thanks to David Van Brink for posting the Omino Dialog Maker. His time-saving code was used to produce the dialog box in this extension.

Download Options

Installation Instructions

JSX or JS file:

  1. Place the MergeText_AI.jsx (or MergeText_AI_CS.js) into the Scripts directory within your Illustrator application directory:

Windows > C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator {version}\Presets\en_US\Scripts
Mac OS X > Applications/Adobe Illustrator {version}/Presets/Scripts

Note: In CS4, the directory path will include a region directory (e.g. Adobe Illustrator CS4/Presets/en_US/Scripts).

MXP file (CS4 only):

  1. Double-click on the mxp file to install using Adobe Extension Manager.


In Adobe Illustrator, select the text the you want to merge together and go to File > Scripts > MergeText_AI. If you’re using Illustrator CS3 or CS4, you will be prompted with a dialog box where you can choose your sorting orientation and a custom separator. If you’re using a version earlier than CS3, you will not be prompted with a dialog; the script will run using the default settings sorting topmost, then leftmost, with a separator of “[><]“. You can then run a Find and Replace and replace the separator with the characters of your choice.

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6 Responses to “Announcing Merge Text Extension for Adobe Illustrator (Ajar Productions)”

  1. Troy says:

    Excellent! Hey, if you ever figure out how to incrementally increase/decrease stroke width using key commands, I’ll pay you 🙂

  2. Troy,
    I can write a script to do the increase/decrease, unfortunately Illustrator doesn’t currently allow you to assign keyboard shortcuts to scripts. And the Illustrator scripting API doesn’t seem to have a way to listen for key presses directly.
    I’m going to submit a feature request to Adobe. You might want to add your two cents as well.

  3. Nathaniel says:

    It seems that the Flash player inside Illustrator does listen for Keyboard Events while the panel’s window is active. So assume the user has focused the window with your SWF in it, and then listen for the up and down mouse keys or the square brackets. Adobe is aware of this issue, but it doesn’t seem to be a top priority for them at this time.

  4. That’s true, Nathaniel. The issue would be getting focus to that SWF, which would involve a click and would reduce the expediency of a keyboard shortcut.

    I’m wondering if an AIR application could receive keyboard input without focus and set off a script in AI…I’ll look into it, but I’m doubtful.

  5. dino says:

    Thank you SO much for this useful and life-saving script. It saves me hours of time of retyping broken text boxes. I feel like I can now spend time on making my work look perfect, rather than doing the grunt work of combining it.

  6. Joe says:

    ok, i’m new to all this…if i click to download either the .jsx or the .mpx file i just get a huge page full of type opened in a new window, instead of a self contained file that i can place inside the scripts folder. what am i doing wrong and how do i fix it?