Your first Illustrator script

The traditional first project in any programming language is displaying the message “Hello World!” In this example, you create a new Illustrator document, then add a text frame containing this message. Follow these steps:

For information on locating the ExtendScript Toolkit, see Viewing the JavaScript object model.

  1. Using any text editor (including Adobe^ InDesign® or the ESTK), enter the following text:

    //Hello World!
    var myDocument = app.documents.add();
    //Create a new text frame and assign it to the variable "myTextFrame"
    var myTextFrame = myDocument.textFrames.add();
    // Set the contents and position of the text frame
    myTextFrame.position = [200,200];
    myTextFrame.contents = "Hello World!"
  2. To test the script, do either of the following:

  • If you are using the ESTK, select Adobe lllustrator CC 2017 from the drop-down list in the upper-left corner, select Yes to start Illustrator, then choose Debug > Run in the ESTK to run the script.

  • If you are using a different text editor than the ESTK, save the file as text-only in a folder of your choice, using the file extension .jsx , then start Illustrator. In Illustrator, choose File > Scripts > Other Scripts, and navigate to and run your script file.


To add the script to the Illustrator Scripts menu (File > Scripts), save the script in the Scripts folder. The script will appear on the menu the next time you start Illustrator. For details, see Installing scripts in the Scripts menu.

Adding features to “Hello World”

Next, we create a new script that makes changes to the Illustrator document you created with your first script. Our second script demonstrates how to:

  • Get the active document.

  • Get the width of the active document.

  • Resize the text frame to match the document’s width.

If you already closed the Illustrator document, run your first script again to create a new document.

Follow these steps:

  1. In Script Editor, choose File > New to create a new script.

  2. Enter the following code:

    var docRef = app.activeDocument;
    var docWidth = docRef.width
    var frameRef = docRef.textFrames[0]
    frameRef.width = docWidth
  3. Run the script.