How Do Artboards Work In Illustrator?

In this article, you’ll learn all about how artboards work in Adobe Illustrator.

how do artboards work in illustrator

How Do Artboards Work In Illustrator?

What Are Artboards in Illustrator? Artboards are essentially your workspace in Adobe Illustrator, serving as your digital canvas. If you’re transitioning from Adobe Photoshop or Affinity Designer, think of artboards as similar to different layers but for your entire canvas.

You can also consider them a stage where all your design elements like vector graphics and objects come together.

The default artboard color is white but you can change the color of an artboard if you like.

Understanding how to use artboards proficiently allows you to handle complex graphic design projects that require multiple artboards or different artboard sizes.

You could be designing a full branding package, which may include business cards, letterheads, and banners—all in one Illustrator file.

Note that the Illustrator canvas is not the same as the Illustrator artboard. They are two different parts of the document file.

Related: Change Canvas Size In Illustrator For Large-Scale Designs

1. How to Create a New Artboard

Launch Adobe Illustrator CC and open a new document.

Click on the Artboard Tool (or press Shift + O).

select artboard tool from toolbar in Adobe Illustrator

Click and drag to create your new artboard.

You’ve just created your first artboard within the new document.

2. How To Add Multiple Artboards In Illustrator?

To add a new artboard, select the Artboard Tool and click anywhere outside the existing artboard.

To duplicate an artboard, use the keyboard shortcut Option on Mac.

Or Alt and click and drag your cursor.

use artboard tool to move artboard

You will see an additional artboard appearing. Repeat to add another artboard and so on.

3. Modifying Artboards

To change artboard size in Illustrator, select the Artboard Tool and adjust the artboard dimensions using the handles.

use artboard tool to drag artboard corner to change canvas size

You can rename the artboards by navigating to the Layers Panel and double-clicking on the selected artboard name to change it.

You can also go to the Artboards panel, and click on the plus sign button on the bottom right of the panel. You will see an additional artboard appear on your document.

click add artboard button at the bottom of the artboard panel in illustrator

4. How to Organize Artboards

The Artboard Panel lets you manage your empire of artboards like a pro. Here you can delete artboards, duplicate artboards, and rearrange them.

Related: 3 Easy Ways To Hide Artboards In Illustrator

You can reorder artboards in the Artboards panel. Simply drag and drop to reorder artboards.

click and drag artboard layer to reorder artboards in artboard panel in illustrator

To organize artboards on the Illustrator canvas, first, click on the Artboard Tool. Then move the artboards on the Illustrator canvas with the Artboard Tool.

Related: How To Move Artboards In Illustrator: 3 Easy Ways

5. Artboard Options Dialog Box

The Artboard Options Dialog Box appears when you click on the top right-hand corner of the Artboards Panel.

select artboard panel menu and click on artboard options

This is your go-to for advanced options, such as to change artboard size, orientation, position of artboard on the canvas and more.

6. Challenges with Artboards and Their Solutions

Can’t see the artboard? Use the Zoom tool from the Tools panel to zoom out or press Command + 0 on Mac.

keyboard shortcut command 0 to reset zoom and open files in Adobe Illustrator on mac

Or Ctrl + 0 on Windows.

keyboard shortcut ctrl 0 to reset zoom and to open file in Adobe Illustrator on windows

Need to export specific artboards? Navigate to File > Export As and pick the artboards you need.

select file from top menu bar and export as in drop-down menu

Artboards In Illustrator: FAQs

What Does An Artboard Look Like?

Here’s how an artboard in Illustrator look like:

An artboard is essentially a white rectangle that sits on a larger gray canvas in Adobe Illustrator. This white area is where you’ll place all of your design elements.

canvas artboard in adobe illustrator

Artboards have a thin border around them, delineating where the design area starts and ends. Anything placed within this border will be part of the final export.

In the Artboards Panel, each artboard you create becomes its own layer group, making it easier to organize your objects. You can even name your artboards here to keep your work even more organized.

When you select an artboard, the coordinates (X, Y) appear, showing you its position relative to the overall canvas. You’ll also see markers for the artboard’s dimensions.

Can You Have Multiple Pages In Illustrator?

Yes — Adobe Illustrator provides an incredibly useful feature that allows you to have multiple artboards (think of them as “pages”) in a single document. This is especially handy for multi-page documents like brochures, portfolios, or complete branding packages.

Why Use Multiple Artboards?

In the world of graphic design, projects often have several components. For example, a client might want a logo, a business card, and a brochure. Having multiple artboards lets you design all these elements in one Illustrator file, streamlining your workflow.

How It Works

To add a new artboard, you just need to select the ‘Artboard Tool’ and click on an empty space in the existing canvas. Voila! A new artboard appears, ready for you to start your next design masterpiece.

Navigating Between Artboards

Switching between different artboards is a breeze. Simply use the Artboards Panel to click on the artboard you want to work on, or use the ‘Next Artboard’ and ‘Previous Artboard’ options under the ‘View’ menu.

What Is The Use Of Artboards In Illustrator?

Here are the uses of artboards in Illustrator:

Defining the Workspace

Artboards serve as your design workspace in Adobe Illustrator, essentially acting as a canvas where you bring your creative visions to life.

Design Flexibility

Artboards provide flexibility by allowing you to design multiple variations or different parts of a project within the same Illustrator file.

Project Organization

By using multiple artboards, you can effectively organize your project. For example, an entire branding package with a logo, business card, and letterhead can all be designed and stored within one file.

Ease of Export

Artboards also make it easier to export your work. You can export each artboard as an individual file, or as a single multi-page PDF, giving you options for how you share your designs.

Project Versatility

Artboards can adapt to multiple layouts and sizes, making them ideal for projects that require varying dimensions, like responsive web designs or social media graphics.

Streamlined Workflow

Having multiple artboards in one document helps to streamline your workflow. You can copy elements from one artboard and paste them into another, maintaining consistency in design elements like color, typography, and graphics across various deliverables.

Prototyping and Preview

Artboards allow you to easily prototype and preview different versions of your design, all in one Illustrator document. This can be particularly useful for client reviews and internal assessments.

Professional Output

For graphic design professionals, artboards are essential for a smooth, efficient design process that aligns with industry standards for both digital and print output.

How Do You Work On Different Artboards In Illustrator?

Here’s how you work on different artboards in Illustrator:

Selecting an Artboard

To switch between artboards, simply click on the one you wish to work on. Your toolset will now be active on the selected artboard, making it the focus of your design efforts.

Using the Artboards Panel

For a more organized approach, use the Artboards Panel to quickly switch between different artboards. You can also rearrange artboards here by dragging and dropping.

Zooming and Navigation

To zoom into a specific artboard, double-click on its name in the Artboards Panel, or use the Zoom Tool. To move around different artboards, you can use the Hand Tool for manual navigation or use the navigator panel for quicker jumps.

Duplicating and Deleting

To duplicate an artboard, select it using the Artboard Tool, then Alt+Click (Option+Click on a Mac) and drag.

To delete an artboard, you can click on the ‘Delete Artboard’ icon in the control panel, or simply hit the ‘Delete’ key after selecting it with the Artboard Tool.

Bulk Actions

You can also perform the same action on several or multiple artboards. You can select multiple artboards in the Artboards Panel by holding down the Shift key while clicking on the artboards you want to include.

Then, make one change to apply to all selected artboards at one go.

Does Artboard Size Matter In Illustrator?

Yes — the size of your artboard matters based on what you’re designing.

For Print Projects

For print projects, you’ll want to set up your artboard to the exact dimensions of your print specs, including any bleed, trim, or safe areas. For example, you will want to set up the ideal size for logos to be printed clearly and at high resolution.

Related: What Is The Ideal Artboard Size For Logos In Illustrator

For Digital Media

For digital design, the size should match the resolution you intend for the final output. The size need not be too big, yet sharp enough for those browsing the web or viewing the design via email.

Vector Graphics

Since Illustrator is a vector graphic software, resizing usually doesn’t affect the quality of your artwork. However, it’s crucial to start with the correct size for a smoother workflow and less rework.

Final Thoughts On Illustrator Artboards

So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to artboards in Adobe Illustrator CC, including how to rearrange all artboards, delete artboards, and adjust artboard dimensions.

Now you’re equipped to tackle any existing document or new workspace in Adobe Illustrator, whether it’s in the realm of vector graphics, layer groups, or any other artwork.

Feel more confident now, don’t you? Your artboard mastery in Adobe Illustrator is just the beginning, so go ahead and start designing like a pro!

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