Script: Place Multiple Files in Illustrator (Kelso)

[Editor’s note: This new script allows multiple files to be placed into Adobe Illustrator at once. Illustrator’s native place command can only handle 1 single file at once. This script was commissioned by Eric at Nutshell Communications, Inc.]

This script will allow you to (import) place multiple files as separate named layers from a designated folder to a new Illustrator document. The files are all placed at once, you don’t get to control individual placement (but of course you can modify location after the script runs). Script should work with CS2, CS3, and CS4, both Mac and Windows.

To install new scripts you need to:

  • Download either the IMAGES version (eg, JPG, GIF, TIF, etc) or the EPS version.
  • Quit Illustrator
  • Copy the script file into the Illustrator application folder’s “Presets” » “Scripts” subfolder. If you are in CS4 this will be the application folder’s “Presets” » “en_US” » “Scripts” subfolder (transpose “en_US” with your local language string).
  • After restarting Illustrator, you can find the scripts in the menu “File” » “Scripts”;
  • TIP: You can create subfolders in the scripts folder to organize your scripts


  • The script asks for a folder to be selected by the user in a normal file open dialog.
  • All loose files are examined and if they match EPS file type then they are placed (nested folders not examined).
  • It is easy to limit this to EPS or add other file types (see below)
  • The files are placed into the middle of the document (or registered to a 9-point page location).
  • Each placed file gets its own layer, the layer name matches the placed file’s name.
  • The file is not auto-saved. You do that manually.

Placement Options

Line 7 controls the placement of the imagesinto the document. These are 9-point registration of ul, ml, ll, um, mm, lm, ur, mr, lr.
var placement9pointAlignment = “mm”;

Adding More File Types

Line 33 controls which file extensions are supported:
if( (fName.indexOf(“.eps”) == -1) ) {

You can easily expand the file types supported as shown in the commented out line in 34:
//if( (fName.indexOf(“.eps”) == -1) && (fName.indexOf(“.gif”) == -1) && (fName.indexOf(“.jpg”) == -1) && (fName.indexOf(“.png”) == -1) && (fName.indexOf(“.bmp”) == -1) && (fName.indexOf(“.tif”) == -1) && (fName.indexOf(“.psd”) == -1)) {

To allow more file types, use the formatting and grammar as in line 34.

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16 Responses to “Script: Place Multiple Files in Illustrator (Kelso)”

  1. Pariah Burke says:

    Interesting scripts, but I confess that I don’t understand the need for them. Multiple files can be placed concurrently into Illustrator via drag-n-drop from Finder/Explorer, Bridge, or another file browser or asset manager. Wouldn’t drag-n-drop be more convenient than installing, modifying, and executing one or two scripts? Or am I missing something?

  2. Nathaniel says:

    To Pariah >> I had no idea Illustrator allowed multiple files to be dragged and dropped into an open document to be placed! It boggles my mind why Adobe allows multiple place this way but not thru the file dialog (which is the official primary method)! Thanks for this tip 🙂

    There is still a limitation in that work flow if you want the multiple places to be on named layers. This script accomplishes that.

    Future versions might also auto arrange the placed images into a grid (like a lightbox), for instance. And offer the ability to name the individual placed objects with their file name, etc.

  3. Ian Giblin says:

    Cool Nathaniel. We just received a request for similar functionality from users doing lettering for comics in Illustrator. They would like to have the images aligned to individual artboards. If you did a future grid arrangement for the script some users could click once with the Artboard Tool on each image to create an artboard fit to each image in the grid. As long as your image is the same size as your required artboard that would be fine. Unfortunately, that was not the case for the comic lettering artist. His images can be wider than his artboard and he would like to control alignment.

  4. Jean-Claude Tremblay says:

    Hi Nathaniel… Even if it is true that you can place multiple images from the finder, the script place all of the link into their own layers.

    PS: Would be great if the script can also works on already open document instead of creating a new one.

  5. nathaniel says:

    @ Ian: We continued this discussion via email. I like your ideas and may implement some of them.

  6. nathaniel says:

    @ JC: For the next version I’ll support open documents and multiple artboards (option to place onto each artboard sequentially or layers or single layer on first artboard).

  7. Dave says:

    Has there been a revision to the script? Can you post it please?

  8. yaal says:

    did god himself send you?

    thanks, nathaniel

  9. Rod says:

    Won’t let me place svg files…?

  10. Serena says:

    Hi, great script!!! It saved my life 🙂

    I was wondering, though. Could you modify it so that if you select on a directory, it would add all images that are in the subdirectories? I have folders within folders, and this script only works if I go to the last folder with the images.

    For example:

    Folder1 (has a bunch of .jpg)
    Folder2 (has a bunch of .jpg)
    Folder3 (has a bunch of .jpg)
    Folder4 (has a bunch of .jpg)

    I’d like to be able to just highlight MainFolder and have it import all the images in Folder1, Folder2, etc. without having to highlight each one separately and running the script 4 different times.

    Does that description make sense?


  11. Martin says:

    This is so useful because simple dragging or cut and paste always creates mere 72dpi screen res copies of the files, whereas Placing them retains original resolution.
    I need this to create a photo roster for a large choir, to be printed on 20×30″.

  12. […] Illustrator not allowing you the option to place multiple images is the most frustrating thing ever. So I googled it, and found an easy solution: Multiple Placing Script. […]

  13. Robert says:

    The file “Basic” is in an unknown format and cannot be opened. Funny thing. I wasn’t trying to open this file. I was directing the script to a folder of 80 .eps files.

  14. Rajesh says:

    Awesome. I am used to CorelDraw and switched to AI. Surprised to see AI doesnot have a function to import multiple jpeg files. This plugin is awesome. thank you very much.

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