Launching and quitting Illustrator from a script

Your scripts can control the activation and termination of Illustrator.

Launching and activating Illustrator


In AppleScript, you use a tell statement to target Illustrator.

The activate command activates Illustrator if it is not already active

tell application "Adobe Illustrator"
end tell


Typically, you run JavaScript scripts from the application’s Scripts menu (File > Scripts) or start-up folder, so there is no need to launch Illustrator from your script.

Information on launching Illustrator in JavaScript is beyond the scope of this guide.

For details, search for Interapplication Communication or Javascript Messaging Framework in JavaScript Tools Guide.


In VBScript, there are several ways to create an instance of Illustrator:

  • CreateObject launches Illustrator as an invisible application if it is not already running. If Illustrator is launched as an invisible application you must manually activate the application to make it visible:
Set appRef = CreateObject("Illustrator.Application")

If you have multiple versions of Illustrator installed on the same machine and use the CreateObject method to obtain an application reference, using “Illustrator.Application” creates a reference to the latest Illustrator version. To specifically target an earlier version, use a version identifier at the end of the string:

Illustrator 10 “Illustrator.Application.1”
Illustrator CS “Illustrator.Application.2”
Illustrator CS2 “Illustrator.Application.3”
Illustrator CS3 “Illustrator.Application.4”
Illustrator CS4 “Illustrator.Application.CS4”
Illustrator CS5 “Illustrator.Application.CS5”
Illustrator CS6 “Illustrator.Application.CS6”
Illustrator CC “Illustrator.Application.CC”
Illustrator CC 2014 “Illustrator.Application.CC2014”
Illustrator CC 2015 “Illustrator.Application.CC2015”
Illustrator CC 2017 “Illustrator.Application.CC2017”
  • Use the New operator if you added a reference to the Illustrator type library to the project. For example, the following line creates a new reference to the Application object:
Set appRef = New Illustrator.Application

Quitting Illustrator


Use the quit command:

tell application "Adobe Illustrator"
end tell


Use the app.quit() method:



Use the Application object’s Quit method:

Set appRef = CreateObject("Illustrator.Application")