The Artwork Tree

The content of an Illustrator document is called the artwork tree. Artwork is represented by the following objects:

  • compound path item

  • graph item

  • group item

  • legacy text item

  • mesh item

  • non native item

  • path item

  • placed item

  • plugin item

  • raster item

  • symbol item (see Dynamic Objects)

  • text frame

Your scripts can access and manipulate art objects through collections in the document and layer objects.

There are two types of art-object collections:

  • Collection objects that correspond to each individual artwork object type, such as the graph items object or the mesh items object.

  • The page items object, which includes art objects of all types.

Also, you can use the group item object to reference a grouped set of art items.

You can create new art objects using the make command (AppleScript) or add method of an artwork item collection object. For example, to create a new path item object:


set myPathItem to make new path item in current document


var myPathItem = activeDocument.pathItems.add();


Set myPathItem = appRef.ActiveDocument.PathItems.Add()

The following artwork collections do not allow the creation of new objects using the make command or add method:

  • graph items object

  • mesh items object

  • plugin items object

  • legacy text items object

For details on creating objects of these types, see the Adobe lllustrator CC Scripting Reference for your language.

Art styles

Your script can apply a graphic style to artwork using the graphic style object. To apply a graphic style, use the graphic styles property of the document object to access the apply to method of the graphic style object.

Similarly, the brush object allows you to specify the brush to apply to artwork. You access any brush through the brushes collection object, which is a property of the document object.

Color objects

Your script can apply a color, pattern or gradient to a path item object, using the fill color or stroke color properties:

  • Scripts can define new color swatches using the make command or add method of the swatches object. Your script also can create a new spot color, using the make command or add property of the spots object.

  • You can define the attributes of an ink object using the ink info object, which is an ink object property. You access ink objects through the ink list property of the document object.

The following objects allow you to create colors within defined color spaces:

  • The RGB color object, using the range 0.0 to 255.0 for the each of the three individual color values.

  • The CMYK color object, using the percentage values 0.0 through 100.0 for each of the four individual color values.

  • The grayscale color or LAB color objects, using the same range and number of values that you use in the Illustrator application.