Top-Level (containing) Objects

Use these objects to access global information about the Illustrator application or an individual document.


The properties of the application object give your script access to global values, such as:

  • User preferences, which a user sets interactively in the Illustrator application by using the Preferences dialog (Edit > Preferences).

  • System information like installed fonts (the text fonts property) and printers (the printer list property).

Also, there are properties that provide application-specific information and higher-level information about any open documents:

  • Application information like the installation path, version, and whether Illustrator is visible.

  • The current active document; that is, the art canvas that is displayed and accepting user input.

  • All open documents.

The application object’s methods or commands allow your script to perform application-wide actions; for example:

  • Open files

  • Undo and redo transactions

  • Quit Illustrator


The document object, which your scripts can create or access through the application object, represents an art canvas or loaded Illustrator file.

The document object’s properties give you access to the document’s content; for example:

  • The current selection, or art objects that the user selected in the document

  • All contained art objects, called page items, that make up the artwork tree

  • Art objects of particular types, like symbols and text frames

  • All layers and the currently active layer

Document properties also tell you about the state of the document itself; for example:

  • User settings for the document, such as ruler units

  • Whether the document was saved since the last alteration of content

  • The path of the associated file

The document object’s methods allow your scripts to act on the document; for example:

  • Save to an Illustrator file or save as the various supported file formats

  • Activate or close a document

  • Print the document. Your scripts can select a printer by referencing a print options object, or they can reference available printers through the application object’s printer list property.


The layer object provides access to the contents, or artwork tree, of a specific layer.

You access the layer object through the document object.

The layer object properties provide access to, or information about, the layer, such as:

  • Whether the layer is visible or locked.

  • The layer’s opacity (overall transparency) and z order position (position in the stacking order).

  • Art-creation preferences for the layer, like artwork knockout and blending mode.