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When you're sharing files with other people, especially other designers, and commercial printers, you may find that other people simply don't have the same version of Illustrator that you do. In this case, you're going to need to save out your artwork in something called a legacy format, so that they're able to open it, because by default, someone using Illustrator 8, or 9, or 10 probably won't be able to open your Illustrator CS6 file, so we need to find out, how do we then save in a format they can use? Let's go up to the File menu, and choose Save As, and in this case, I'll call this print_save_legacy.
I'm going to leave it on the Illustrator file type, and I'll click Save. Once I click Save, it takes me into the Illustrator Options, and at the very top of the Illustrator Options is a little hidden feature that allows me to determine the version number of this particular file that I'm saving. So you'll notice at the top is Illustrator CS6, because that's the version of illustrator we're working in. Underneath there are several legacy formats. It goes from CS5, all the way down to Illustrator 3. However, there are some gaps in between, which is okay.
You can just pick the closest one to the version they have. So for instance, if my commercial printer needed something in the Illustrator CS2 format, I can pick Illustrator CS2, it'll give me a warning sign right here, and at the bottom it'll explain that warning. It tells you that saving to a legacy format may cause some changes to your text layout, and disable some editing features when the document is read back in. It also tells you that any hidden appearance attributes will be discarded, so if you've hidden any appearance attributes -- fills, strokes, etcetera -- those will be thrown away.
It also means that if you've done anything special to this file that's only available in Illustrator CS6, like for instance, you've used image trace on something, and not expanded it out, then it will not be displayed correctly when you open it in that older version of Illustrator. And you wouldn't expect it to; after all, image trace is a part of Illustrator CS6, not Illustrator CS2. So we've got to use a little bit of common sense when we're saving the stuff, because sending a file back to someone who is using an older version of Illustrator, we shouldn't expect that they'd be able to work with all of the different toys that we have at our disposal.
Once you finish setting up the legacy format in this dialog box, simply hit OK. It's going to give you one more warning indicating that you're saving in legacy format. This is just another way of saying, are you sure you want to save back out as this old format? If you are, hit Don't Show Again, and hit OK. That's going to save it out. You're not going to see any physical change to the file while it's open in CS6, because after all, everything we've done in CS6 works, because we're in CS6. However, if you were to open this up in Illustrator CS2, you may find some differences between this and the original file, and that's okay, and to be expected.
You'll also notice up here I've got my new name; print_save_legacy.ai. The extension is still the same; it's the components of the file itself that make it different. So if you ever need to send out your files to someone using an older version of Illustrator this is how you do it; using legacy formats inside of the Save As dialog box.
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