Astute Manager Beta ... Easy Download - Install - Activate

How to Use

1. Download (macOS)

Download for macOS 10.10+

1. Download (Windows)

Download for Windows 7, 8 and 10 (64-bit)

2. Open download

Locate the download in the Finder and double-click on the Astute Manager.dmg file to open.

If macOS asks if you're sure you want to open an app downloaded from the internet, click Open to continue.

Astute Manager - Open DMG

2. Open download

Use the File Explorer to locate the download and double-click on the Astute Manager.msi file to open.

Astute Manager - Open ZIP

3. Install

With the DMG file opened, drag the Astute Manager icon from the left-side of the window and drop it over to the Applications folder icon on the right.

Astute Manager - Install

3. Install

Double-click on the Astute Manager installer package to start the installation process.

Astute Manager - Install on Windows

4. Start

Locate Astute Manager in your Applications folder and double-click to start it.

Astute Manager - Start

4. Authorize

When asked by Windows if you want to allow the app to make changes to your device, agree by clicking on Yes.

Astute Manager - Authorize

5. Authorize

Upon first running a new installation of the Astute Manager, macOS will ask you to authorize the installation of the software.

Enter your macOS account login username and password as prompted, then click on the Install Helper button.

Astute Manager - Authorize

5. Start

Locate Astute Manager in your Start menu and click on it to start.

Astute Manager - Start


Once installed and run, you can locate the Astute Manager on the right of the macOS top bar as highlighted below.

Astute Manager - Locate


Once installed and run, you can locate the Astute Manager in the Windows system tray.

Astute Manager - Locate

6. Login

The Astute Manager window will automatically open requesting your Astute Graphics account email and password. Enter your email and password, then click on the arrow button below.

Forgot your login details?

Astute Manager - Login


Upon successfully entering your Astute Graphics email and password, you will be presented with the End User License Agreement (EULA).

Read the terms, and if in agreement click on the I Agree button.

Astute Manager - EULA

8. Install Plugins

You are now ready to install and manage your plugins!

Before installing, updating or removing Adobe Illustrator plugins, ensure you have quit all instances of Illustrator first.

Simply click on the large Install All button at the top. If you haven't previously done so, this will start all 14 day trials for our paid-for plugins and fully install the free Autosaviour and DirectPrefs plugins, plus the Astui plugin for Illustrator.

Alternatively, if you want to trial only one or a few of our plugins at a time, you can click on the individual "Install" buttons for each plugin (as highlighted below) to begin individual 14 day trials, install, activate and more. See section below for details.

Restart Illustrator

Astute Manager - Install Plugins

How to Show, Hide and Quit (macOS)

Show and Hide

Clicking on the Astute Manager top bar icon (highlighted below) switches between showing and hiding the Astute Manager window.

Astute Manager - top bar icon macOS

At present, clicking outside the Astute Manager does not automatically close the window. This is a feature we will be working on and offer in a future update.

If the Astute Manager window is obscured by windows on top, click on the the top icon twice to bring it to the top.

Quit the Astute Manager

There are two ways to quit the Astute Manager.

The first is to use the menu. Click on the menu icon top, right in the Astute Manager window (circled green below) to reveal the menu. Then click on the Quit button (circled red).

Astute Manager - Quit via menu

The second method is to click anywhere in the Astute Manager window to ensure it has the focus. Then press CMD-Q. However, caution is needed for this method as the style of the interface doesn't necessarily ensure it's obvious that the window is in focus. Therefore it's possible that you will unexpectedly quit another application.

Plugin Management Options

The Astute Manager gives complete control over your Illustrator plugins. It allows you to start trials, install, update, remove, activate and deactivate. The following section describes the different operations on offer.

Whereas the top menu in the main Astute Manager window allows you to install, update and remove all plugins in one operation, individual plugin control is available via the button highlighted as an example here:

Astute Manager - individual plugin control button example

The following button states are possible, each explained in turn.


Start the 14 day trial for the individual plugin.

Shortly after starting, the Astute Manager will start showing how many days remain of the trial. An example of this for the SubScribe v2 plugin is shown below.

Astute Manager - trial remaining


If a trial has expired, the option to purchase the plugin is given.

Clicking on this will lead to a secure payment process hosted at


If your computer has previously been activated for the associated plugin (for example, following use of the historic Astute Graphics Unified Installer), or your Astute Graphics account is already licensed for the current major version of the plugin, you can simply install.

Remember to restart Illustrator following an installation.


If you install a plugin which is already purchased and present in your account, activation will be automatic and transparent. Therefore you may not see this option.

If you purchase an Astute Graphics plugin after starting a trial, or subsequent to installation, the Astute Manager will allow the activation to be applied.

To activate, simply click on the Activate button. You will need to restart Illustrator for the activation to take effect.

Note that the DirectPrefs and Autosaviour plugins do not offer activation as they are completely free. The Astui plugin doesn't offer activation via the Astute Manager window either as it requires a separate service offered in-plugin.


If the plugin is installed, up-to-date and activated, the Learn button is quick access to the associated plugin training material hosted on the website.

This button doesn't affect the local state of your plugin installations.


With many scenarios possible, such as mixed plugin version installations on various instances of Illustrator (CS6 through to the latest CreativeCloud version), the Detail button allows you to gain detailed control of each plugin's state.

Please refer to the separate major section below on what the Detail view can offer.


If a plugin has been updated by Astute Graphics, the Astute Manager will automatically offer you the chance to install the latest version.

An update is typically free. For example, v1.2.0 to v1.2.1 and may represent minor functionality additions or bug fixes.

Following the installation of an update, remember to restart Illustrator.


If a plugin has been upgraded by Astute Graphics, the Astute Manager will automatically offer you the chance to install the major new release.

An upgrade typically requires payment. For example, v1 to v2, and is likely to contain major new features and cater for the latest Illustrator + Operating System platforms.

Following the installation of an upgrade, remember to restart Illustrator.

Deactivate and Uninstall

These two options are available per plugin via the associated drop-down menu circled below.

Astute Manager - Deactivate + Uninstall

Deactivating is ideal for transferring your license to another machine.

Uninstalling allows you to clean your instances of Illustrator of associated plugins, for example if you have expired the trial period and chosen not to purchase.

Remember to restart Illustrator following either change.

Detail control

Astute Manager - detail view

The Astute Manager allows for granular control of each plugin, including each instance of Illustrator you may have installed on your computer (CS6 to the latest CC). For example, you can choose to have a particular plugin not installed in a particular installed instance of Illustrator.

The detail view also allows you to check on undesired differences in installations between versions of Illustrator. For example, historic installations of Astute Graphics plugins may have left some versions of Illustrator without updates.

To enter the detail view of each plugin, click on the dropdown button highlighted (top) in the screenshot, left. Then select Detail from the menu.

Note that the Deactivate option currently applies to all instances of the plugin, not for individual instances of Illustrator.

To return to the main Astute Manager page, click on the Home link, highlighted.


The Astute Manager can be customised to how you want to use it. Additional settings are planned, so ensure you stay updated to take advantage of what's on offer!

To access the settings, click on the menu icon on the main page (top right in the window) and then click on the Settings link.

At present, the settings allow you to:

  • Check current application version number
  • If required, send a bug report, automatically including the log report (details on this available on request).
  • Opt to Launch at login.
  • Control which instances of Illustrator are handled by default.

It is the last point that we'll be concentrating on next.

Which versions of Illustrator Astute Manager supports

When first installed, the Astute Manager will detect all available instances of Adobe Illustrator present on your machine. Typically, this is what most users will require.

However, it's possible to add or remove instances of Illustrator that are supported. At present, these can be any or all of:

  • Illustrator CS6 (v16)
  • Illustrator CC (v17.1)
  • Illustrator CC2014 (v18)
  • Illustrator CC2015 (v19)
  • Illustrator CC2015.3 (v20)
  • Illustrator CC2017 (v21)
  • Illustrator CC2018 (v22)
  • Illustrator CC2019 (v23)

Each of these versions and instances of Illustrator requires a different version of plugin due to internal changes. Astute Manager takes care of this headache for you!

What to do if you install or remove an instance of Illustrator

Upon changing which versions of Illustrator are installed on your machine, you'll need to let the Astute Manager know. Simply click on the DETECT NEW Ai button, followed by SAVE.

For advanced users:
Setting the plugin folder locations manually

By default, the Astute Manager will hide the plugin folder location for the instances of Illustrator not detected. But due to the possibility of instances being present on removeable drives (not advised!), you can manually tell Astute Manager where you want a certain version of the plugins to be installed.

To do so, untick the Hide blank option so that all supported versions of Illustrator are listed. Next, click on the appropriate down arrow (highlighted below) to expose the folder path which can be manually edited or deleted.

Astute Manager - settings extra

Once changed, scroll down and click on the SAVE button.

After these changes, all future plugin management in the Astute Manager will follow these settings. Note that changing these settings will not automatically remove existing plugin installations – this has to be performed manually.

Astute Manager - settings

Got questions?

Astute Manager - Overview
Astute Manager - FAQs button
Astute Manager - Roadmap button

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