Announcing Merge Text Extension for Adobe Illustrator

Justin | design,ExtendScript,extensions,Illustrator | Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Following the release of my Combine Textfields extension for Flash, I’ve put together a similar extension for Adobe Illustrator. This extension installs a script that will merge 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 (if the separator includes a return character).

Anyone who’s tried to edit text from a PDF opened in Illustrator knows how frustrating it can be to make simple text edits when the text is broken up. This extension reduces that headache.

Special thanks to David Van Brink for posting the Omino Dialog Maker. His time-saving code was used to produce the dialog box in this extension.

Download Options

Installation Instructions

JSX or JS file:

  1. Place the MergeText_AI.jsx (or MergeText_AI_CS.js) into the Scripts directory within your Illustrator application directory:

Windows > C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator {version}\Presets\en_US\Scripts
Mac OS X > Applications/Adobe Illustrator {version}/Presets/Scripts

Note: In CS4, the directory path will include a region directory (e.g. Adobe Illustrator CS4/Presets/en_US/Scripts).

MXP file or ZXP file (CS4 or newer):

  1. Double-click on the mxp file to install using Adobe Extension Manager.

Note: Adobe has abandoned Adobe Extension Manager as of CC 2015, even though it’s still installed. You can use the JSX file in that case (installation instructions above).


In Adobe Illustrator, select the text the you want to merge together and go to File > Scripts > MergeText_AI. If you’re using Illustrator CS3 or CS4, you will be prompted with a dialog box where you can choose your sorting orientation and a custom separator. If you’re using a version earlier than CS3, you will not be prompted with a dialog; the script will run using the default settings sorting topmost, then leftmost, with a separator of “[><]”. You can then run a Find and Replace and replace the separator with the characters of your choice.

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125 thoughts on “Announcing Merge Text Extension for Adobe Illustrator”

  1. Ellie says:

    Great script but running into an issue where it won’t keep the different font types and sizes. Am I doing something wrong? Each “set” has about 3 different fonts and when merged, they all become the first font selected.

    1. Justin says:

      Hi Ellie,
      If your items have paragraph styling, then the separate needs to include a hard return for the paragraph styling to be maintained.

  2. Penio Dachev says:

    For PC no x64 support?

    1. Justin says:

      Hi Penio,
      Use the install instructions for the JSX file. It should work fine.

  3. Patrick Havens says:

    I use your script quite often, and of course when Creative Suite upgraded to 2015 its “no longer compatible”. It throws up an error that “This extension can not be installed, it requires Illustrator version 14 or greater.”

    When do you think you may be able to update it?

  4. Justin says:

    Hi Patrick,
    With the CC 2015 update, Adobe broke the installation of extensions with Extension Manager.
    Try manually installing the .jsx file with the manual install process above. That should work.

    1. Patrick Havens says:

      That worked. Thanks for the info.

  5. Gordie Dunlap says:

    This plug in worked great until CC 2015. Now I am trying to use it to merge text from a pdf converted to Illustrator, and it gives me the message: “No textfields selected.” It still works fine on NEW text I created as a test, but it won’t merge pdf-originated text. Any ideas what is happening? Thanks for any help you can offer.

    1. Leigh Farrior says:

      Did you make sure the text objects were not in a group? I haven’t tested it in CC 2015, but I know I always got that error before when the text objects were grouped (which usually happens with PDFs).

      1. Gordie Dunlap says:

        Thanks Leigh. Yep, I made sure the text was ungrouped and it still didn’t work.

  6. Gordie Dunlap says:

    Solved! I had to ungroup the text multiple MORE times than I already had. Thanks for the help…. you were correct!

  7. Daymon says:

    I really appreciate this script! I’m starting to use it more and more. I was wondering if there’s a way simplify it a little without the dialog box and leave the settings always with top and \r ?
    I’m trying to run it inside an action without any interruptions to automate things a bit more.

    1. Justin says:

      Hi Daymon,
      Glad to hear that the script is helping you! Yes, you can download the .js file, which does not use a dialog and open it in a text editor to set the values that you’d like to use.

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