Learn the basics of working with artboards in Adobe Illustrator, including navigating, creating, and editing.
Explore navigating artboards using the Artboads panel and commands.
In Illustrator, when you create a document that has multiple pages like a brochure or a multi-page web design, you can create a series of artboards, so you have an artboard for each page. In this video, you'll explore what artboards are and how to navigate a document with multiple artboards. Open this file from the practice files for this tutorial if you want to follow along. And to make sure you see everything in the document, choose View, Fit All in Window. When you create a document in Illustrator by default, you start with one artboard. Like pages in Adobe InDesign or Microsoft Word, artboards define the area that can be printed. You'll notice in this document that artboards can be different sizes, and even different orientations. You can also arrange them how you want, even overlapping them. Now the large grey areas surrounding the artboards is called the Canvas area. This is useful for content that might not be printed or exported. Maybe an alternate image or artwork like icons you may need later. With multiple artboards in a document, you'll need to know how to navigate between them quickly and easily. So, let's start by talking about some View commands for artboards. Select the Selection tool in the Tools panel and click artwork in the first artboard on the left. Notice this really small black line surrounding the artboard. That indicates that this artboard is the active artboard. In other words, the artboard you're working on. To fit the active artboard into the Document window, choose View, Fit Artboard in Window. Using View commands like Fit Artboard in Window or Fit All in Window is one way to navigate between artboards. But you can also navigate artboards using the Properties panel on the right. To make sure that no artwork is selected, choose Select, Deselect. With nothing selected, you can see an artboard menu that shows a list of all of the artboards in the document. To move between artboards, you can either choose the number assigned to an artboard from the menu here or click the next or previous arrows. The artboard you select is fit into the Document window. Now a faster method for navigating our artboards. No matter what's selected in the document is the Artboard Navigation menu which you can see here below the document in the lower left corner. Click the menu to see the same listing of artboards you saw in the Properties panel along with the name assigned to each artboard. Choose Business Card Front to see that artboard and fit it in the Document window. So that you can see all of your artboards again, choose View, Fit All in Window. When you understand artboards and know how to navigate between them quickly, working with all kinds of projects in Illustrator, from catalogs and brochures to multi-page websites and more gets a whole lot easier.
What you learned: Working with artboards
- Artboards are similar to pages in Adobe InDesign or Microsoft Word and represent the printable area.
- Artboards can be different sizes and orientations, be arranged how you like, and overlap.
- The artboard you are working on is the active artboard. Commands such as View > Fit Artboard In Window apply to the active artboard.
- The Artboards panel (Window > Artboards) is another way to navigate artboards.
- The Artboard navigation menu in the lower-left corner of the Document window shows the same listing of artboards as in the Artboards panel.
Add multiple artboards to a document using the Artboards tool.
When you work on a project in Illustrator that has multiple pages, whether it's a brochure, a document that contains multiple versions of a poster, or something else, you'll need to add artboards. In this practice file which you can open if you want to follow along, you'll learn how to enter Artboard Editing mode, create a new artboard with the Artboard tool, then set a few options for artboards, like changing their names. With this practice file open, so you can see everything, choose View, Fit All in Window. Then, so you can see more of the gray area to the right of the artboards because you're going to draw an artboard out there, you'll zoom out. Choose View, Zoom Out a few times. The artwork you see on the left is in the gray canvas area. Canvas area is outside the area that's printed and exported, so it's a great place to put content you may need later. You'll create a new artboard for that content, so that it can be printed or saved as a PDF, for instance. To make sure that nothing is selected, choose Select, Deselect. Now to create artboards, first click Edit Artboards in the Properties panel to the right of the document. This initiates Artboard Editing mode and selects the Artboard tool in the Tools panel on the left. The Artboard tool is used to both create and edit artboards. Another way to enter this Artboard Editing mode is to simply select the Artboard tool. Now, to create a new artboard, click and drag to the far right of the artboards. Notice the Grey Measurement label showing the Width and Height as you draw. When it's about this size, release the mouse button. Once it's created, it's selected. You can tell because it's got this dotted line and handles surrounding it. Now, to resize the artboard, you can drag any corner or an edge of the artboard. You can also create artboards of a specific size, maybe to design a printed poster or an app for a specific device size. With this artboard still selected, make sure it's far enough away from the artboards to the left of it. If you need to drag it over, so it looks like this. In the Properties panel to the right of the document, you can enter custom Width and Height values here for the artboard. But you can also choose preset sizes. Click the Preset menu to reveal preset artboard sizes you can choose from. Choose Letter to transform the artboard you drew into a letter sized artboard. You can also change the orientation of the artboard to Portrait or Landscape. Make sure that Portrait is selected. Now to better keep track of your different artboards when you have a lot of them, you can name them something that makes sense to you. Select the Name in the Properties panel, and type, 'Flyer'. And press Return or Enter to accept the name. Now, to move the artboard next to the orange postcard, drag in the center of the artboard. You can move your artboards where they make sense to you. Now you'll move this content on the left onto the new artboard so that it can be printed. To stop editing artboards, click Exit at the top of the Properties panel. Another way to exit Artboard Editing mode is to select another tool in the Tools panel. Now by default, after exiting Artboard Editing mode, the Selection tool should be selected in the Tools panel. Drag this green rectangle into the upper left corner of the new artboard. To resize it so it stretches across the artboard, drag the lower right corner of the rectangle to make it bigger, snapping the corner into the lower right corner of the artboard. Then drag this logo content over here. roughly into the center of the artboard as well. In Illustrator, adding artboards of different sizes, orientations, and more to your documents makes it simpler and faster to create and edit all kinds of multi-page projects: from a brochure to a document with several versions of signage, an app or a poster even.
What you learned: Add an artboard
- Select the Artboard tool in the Tools panel. Drag to create an artboard. Choose an artboard preset from the Properties panel to the right of the document to resize the new artboard. Drag the artboard to position it.
- To rename an artboard, double-click the artboard name in the Artboards panel (Window > Artboards), change it, and then press Enter or Return. In the Artboards panel, you can see all artboards in the document.
Learn how to edit and duplicate artboards using the Artboard tool and Artboards panel.
In Illustrator, as you create all kinds of different projects for print, mobile, and web, you'll need to edit artboards. Maybe copying an artboard to make a new version of existing artwork or resizing an artboard to match print specifications. In this video, you'll learn how to edit existing artboards and then duplicate an artboard. You can open this file from the practice files for this tutorial if you'd like to follow along. To make sure that you can see everything in the document, choose View, Fit All in Window. To start, select the Artboard tool in the Tools panel on the left. You can see the different artboards in the document indicated by the name in the corner of each and the dotted box around the active or selected artboard. Suppose you need to resize an artboard, maybe to match a paper size on your desktop printer. click in the first artboard with the green background if it isn't already selected. You can tell it's selected because of the dotted box and handles surrounding it. Now, to resize it, move the pointer over the bottom edge, and drag when you see arrows. As you drag, you'll see a Width and Height in the gray label next to the pointer. This is a part of Smart Guides. When it's about the size you see here, release the mouse button. Notice that the artboard changed in size while the artwork stayed the same. You can also set an artboard to a preset size. With the artboard still selected, click the Preset option in the Properties panel to the right and in this case, choose Letter. Move the pointer into the artboard and drag it up aligning it as best you can to the artboard to the right. Notice that as you drag the artboard, the artwork moves with it. But you still need to move and resize this artwork to fit better on the artboard. To do that, you'll stop editing the artboards. So, click the Exit button at the top of the Properties panel. With the Selection tool selected, drag across the artwork on this artboard to select it. And drag it down roughly into the center of the artboard. To deselect everything, click in a blank area. You still need to resize the green rectangle to fit the artboard. So, click the green rectangle to select it. Press and hold the Option key on Mac or the Alt key on Windows and drag the middle point on the bottom of the shape down to make the shape as large as the artboard. When it's the right size, release the mouse button and then the key. Pressing the Option or Alt key resizes the artwork from the center. Click in a blank area to deselect it. You can also duplicate artboards, maybe to make a version of a design with a different colored background. Select the Artboard tool in the Tools panel on the left. Then press the Option key on Mac or Alt key on Windows. And with the pointer over the artboard, click and drag down to make a copy. When it's in place here, release the mouse button and then the key. To see all of the artboards again, choose View, Fit All in Window. With the new artboard selected, in the Properties panel to the right of the document, change the name to 'Letterhead 2'. Press Return or Enter to make the change. To stop editing artboards, click the Exit button at the top of the Properties panel. Now, you'll edit the artwork on the new artboard. So, with the Selection tool selected, click the green background shape on the new artboard. To change the color, click the Fill color in the Properties panel. Make sure the Swatches are selected and select an orange color. Being able to edit artboards whether by resizing them, duplicating them, changing artboard options, or other gives you creative flexibility to design all kinds of different projects in Illustrator.
What you learned: Edit an artboard
- With nothing selected, click the Edit Artboards button in the Properties panel on the right.
- Click to select an artboard, and choose an artboard preset from the Properties panel to resize the artboard.
- To duplicate an artboard, Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (macOS) the artboard. Release the mouse button and then the key.