Adobe Illustrator has plenty of tools and features, but advanced users will always need more. Therefore, developers create scripts and plug-ins to help solve various problems and accelerate time-consuming processes. Today we have prepared an overview of the best free Illustrator scripts on the market. The list is systematized and is divided into several groups according to functionality. Groups include working with paths and points, different types of distribution of shapes, generating objects, working with Layers panel, text object and so on.
Scripts Installation and running
You can install scripts into Illustrator's Scriptfolder, which is in the following example location (the actual location will depend on your installation of Illustrator and language):
Windows: C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe IllustratorCC 2014Presetsen_GBScripts
Mac OS: Applications/AdobeAdobe Illustrator CC 2014Presetsen_GBScripts
In this case, to run the script go to File> Scripts> …
You can also put the script in any other convenient location on your hard drive. In this case, to run the script go to File> Scripts> Other Script … (Cmd / Ctrl + F12).
It is very convenient to start often used scripts with the help of the Script Bay plug-in. This free plug-in gives access to the list of scripts from the panel which can always be placed in a convenient spot for you.
Now look at the list of scripts which are separated by functionality:
Scripts for working with paths, anchor points and handles
This script will twist objects selected control handles by the same amounts. After running the script you have an opportunity to choose one of five options for Handle Type, then set the parameters for Handle Lengths and Angles.
For more advanced interactive multi-handle control, please refer to the PathScribe tool as part of VectorScribe.
This script will create flowery shapes from basic shapes. Great for creating interesting patterns, logos, and so on.
This is also something often demonstrated by Astute Graphics when controlling multiple handles using PathScribe. It's great fun!
The script merges nearly overlapped anchor points and reports how many anchor points had been reduced.
Also refer to the Remove Redundant Anchor Point function in PathScribe.
This script closes all open paths in the current document. It does not connect touching paths.
The script changes the direction of the selected paths in accordance with the direction of the top object. That means that after the script is applied all the selected paths will have the same direction.
This script copies the top most object to the position and size of all other selected objects.
Objects distributing scripts
The script fills outline shape with packed circles.
To take this result further, you may wish to look at ColliderScribe.
This script allocates the objects in equal distance from each other along the chosen path. You can allocate different objects which are located in one or a couple of groups.
This script duplicates the foreground object or group in the locations of the selected anchor points.
The script rotates the objects in the selection toward the center of the foreground object.
The script rotates randomly located objects at a certain angle of top most object.
This script colors objects in accordance with data that can be presented in absolute and percentage terms. It's useful for the expressing of data in graphic form.
This script was designed to perform mirror reflection of object(s) relatively to the selected object(s) and the chosen coordinates.
Scripts that generate objects based on other objects or data
This script creates Metaball-like shapes.
This script draws common tangents to the selected curved lines, if it is possible.
For interactive placement of tangent and perpendicular paths, download and install the free SubScribe plug-in.
This script draws tangent lines from a selected anchor point to selected curved segments. You can use an isolated point as the starting point. In this case, the starting isolated point is removed after drawing tangents.
Again, the free SubScribe plug-in would also be of interest with this.
The script allows generating QR code in Illustrator.
With this script you can create a calendar in just a few clicks. Select the year, name the months and days and you are done. There are some languages integrated: UK, RU, DE, UA.
Scripts with Random functions
This script demonstrates an easy way of randomizing the selection of a given number of objects. The user can specify a percentage of up to how many objects should be considered relative (percent) to the number of objects in the current selection.
The script randomly paints the objects into the colors that have been selected in the Swatches panel.
The script randomly changes the opacity of selected objects within the range 0% Ö100%.
The script randomly rotates a linear gradient angle of all selected objects.
The script places the selected objects in random stacking order in the Layers panel. I used this script for Realistic Vector Sand and Pebble Texture Tutorial.
Scripts for working in the layers panel
This script deletes all layers which do not have content in the current document.
This script automatically exports each layer in a document as separate PNG or PDF files.
Scripts for working with colors
This script allows you to change the color swatches for fill and stroke to the other color swatches.
This script will give you the closest match of a PMS color from a selected CMYK color.
Illustrator CS3 users and later should also take a good look at the Live Color (renamed Recolor Artwork in later versions of Illustrator) function found native in Illustrator. It is much more complex to operate than John's plug-in, but also offers greater functionality.
Scripts for working with text objects
This script divides multi-line text fields into separate text frame objects.
This script will join selected text frames together.
The script allows you to reset the text objects and bitmap images to horizontal position. The script removes the transformation as Scale, Rotate, and Shear for bitmap objects, and Rotate and Shear for text objects.
For the straightening of objects including images, also try the Orient tool found free in SubScribe plug-in.
The script merges text (including text on a path) into one text object, while retaining the style attributes of the individual pieces, including character styles as well as paragraph styles.
This script generates polyline text.