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Linked styles, swatches, libraries - how?

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  • Linked styles, swatches, libraries - how?

    Hi! I design websites and interfaces in AI. The problem is that I want to manage one set of styles and colors over several AI files.

    Of course I can just draw everything inside one AI file, but I need much more room and artboards than Illustrator provides, and I don't want to hide excessive material in layers.

    So the problem is really simple but seems impossible to solve: I want character & paragraph styles, swatches, symbols and whatever to be linked to a separate AI (or other format) file. Keyword here is linked, so when I modify those linked libraries the changes of styles and colors would apply to every design that has those linked libraries.

    Of course I can just write my own script, or plugin, or application... But I'm not a programmer. Does anyone know - are the solutions of such problem out there?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    Hi Nekto and welcome to GDF.

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    • #3
      I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.


      • #4
        Hot Button

        Nope, CC libraries won't do the trick. Using an asset from the CC Library doesn't link it to the original and doesn't allow to modify it, having the changes automatically apply to all of the asset's instances in AI documents.
        I create a character style, let's say it's name is "Body-text" and it's black colored. I add it to my CC library. Then I apply it in another document, using the CC Library. During this the style automatically adds to "Character styles" panel as well. Now two of my AI files use this style.

        So I want to change "Body-text" style to RED color instead of black. I redefine it in the "Character styles" panel, but how do I update it in CC Library? It doesn't offer any redefining or editing options in the CC Library panel. Adding the edited style CC Library just creates a same named duplicate (it doesn't even warn me that the chosen CC Library already has a style with same name), and that's all. I can then apply this duplicate in my other document and Illustrator will ask me if I want to override the same named style in the "Character styles" panel, but this is not what I need.

        So I end up with two duplicates in my CC Library and one embedded style in each document. How do I modify a style in my CC Library and make the changes apply in my AI files automatically? I mean, I may have tens and hundreds of assets that need to be modified and updated, there must be an automatic way to update them, right? Or I really have to manually reapply the styles from CC Library and override the document styles? With duplicates?


        • #5
          Yeah, I apologize for the misdirect.

          CC Libraries are (were) supposed to be what you need, but are lacking in their execution. Honestly, I wouldn't have known that for sure had you not come along and exposed it, so thanks, I guess. But the reason I wouldn't have known is because I've avoided CC Libraries like the plague ever since their introduction. It took some doing, but I've got the feature set shut down in my CC apps, and I pretty much never think about it anymore.

          Back to your issues...obviously, centrally-linked assets have been a doable proposition for some time, but styles have remained on the outside of any workable schemes I know of. The primary obstacle, I would guess, is that the CC apps don't treat styles as linked, or link-able, entities. The moment a style is created or loaded, it is "discreet" from its origins and embedded in the file. And, I suspect that even if there are any 3rd-party solutions for centrally linked styles, in existence or on the horizon, it's much more likely to be an InDesign endeavor than an Illustrator one.
          Last edited by HotButton; 02-17-2017, 09:59 AM.
          I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.






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