How to export symbols from Illustrator tutorial

How to export / save Illustrator symbols CC 2018 2017 2015 2014 CS6 CS5 etc to PNG and SVG and PDF formats etc

Export symbols from Illustrator

How to export symbols from Illustrator tutorial
  1. Drag symbol to the Illustrator artboard from the symbols panel

  2. Object menu

  3. Expand command (unless you want them as instances)

  4. File menu

  5. Save as / Export (PNG etc) to output the symbols from Illustrator

PNG format for the symbols : The instances can be saved to PNG format via the export command as well as via the save for the web and select the PNG option. You can also use the selection command (file menu) and just generate the currently selected instances


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Save for web : presetsWith the save for web command, you can clip to the current artboard (though in many cases I always add a background to define the size of the rectangle which matches the artboard anyway as I do not like white backgrounds with the my paths on web pages which is a personal preference, of course).


You can set to interlaced (I generally do) as well as set the number of colors and in most cases I use about 16 or 32 as often 8 always looks a little coarse on web pages unless there really are only 8 or less colors. There are many other settings available.


PDF files save : You can save to PDF via the file save as command and set the compatibility such as PDF one point five as well as preserve the editing, embed page thumbnails, compression etc. Generally with the presets, there are no images involved so many of the settings can be ignored and also no fonts. If you create a number of artboards for the presets and have a preset on each of the artboards then you can save a multi-page PDF which may or may not prove very useful in any other application.


Generally, I save each artboard to a multiple PDFs as that means the PDFs can be easily read in many more apps.


SVG format : save SVGThis is perhaps a more useful format especially as the format is useful for web pages and also support / import support has been increasing.


You can save them as SVG via the save command but personally, I prefer to expand them and then clean up the shape / paths / points (my favourite tool for this is the powerful Astute Graphics plugin called Smart Erase Brush and you can find a trial version of the plugin set on their site) and then save them.


Cleanup SVG files such as groups : When you use the instances, you will see the SVG code generates a lot of symbol id entries and that will contain all the gradients and other resources that make up the design. If you have multiple instances on the artboard then you will also see

use xlink:href="" entries for each of those instances throughout the SVG file. You will also see the transform matrix information for those instances


Also, I have found that I have had more problems with the SVGZ format than the SVG so I stick with the uncompressed even if it can save a few additional K.


Export SVG instead of save : save for With the latest release of CC, you can export them in the SVG format. Everything is generated via that file menu command.


It produces a far cleaner and perhaps less editable SVG file but if you really want to cut down the file size then the export command is very good. It does have a tendency to produce too many tspans if you have text though as well as add an unnecessary comment as well as a title tag and some additional info but that can also be quickly cleaned in Brackets or another text editor.


Selection - output only a few of the artworks not all : There is also an selection command in the file menu which will just generate the selected instances.


Use libraries : You can also use the libraries to output the instances from the application - simply drag an instance into the CC library panel and save it to a library. It can only be used with the tools in the creative cloud though


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