User Guide Cancel

Set up documents for printing

  1. Illustrator User Guide
  2. Get to know Illustrator
    1. Introduction to Illustrator
      1. What's new in Illustrator
      2. Common questions
      3. Illustrator system requirements
      4. Illustrator for Apple silicon
    2. Workspace
      1. Workspace basics
      2. Learn faster with the Illustrator Discover panel
      3. Create documents
      4. Toolbar
      5. Default keyboard shortcuts
      6. Customize keyboard shortcuts
      7. Introduction to artboards
      8. Manage artboards
      9. Customize the workspace
      10. Properties panel
      11. Set preferences
      12. Touch Workspace
      13. Microsoft Surface Dial support in Illustrator
      14. Undo edits and manage design history
      15. Rotate view
      16. Rulers, grids, and guides
      17. Accessibility in Illustrator
      18. Safe Mode
      19. View artwork
      20. Use the Touch Bar with Illustrator
      21. Files and templates
    3. Tools in Illustrator
      1. Tools at a glance
      2. Select tools
        1. Selection
        2. Direct Selection
        3. Group Selection
        4. Magic Wand
        5. Lasso
        6. Artboard
      3. Navigate tools
        1. Hand
        2. Rotate View
        3. Zoom
      4. Paint tools
        1. Gradient
        2. Mesh
        3. Shape Builder
      5. Text tools
        1. Type
        2. Type on a Path
        3. Vertical Type
      6. Draw tools
        1. Pen
        2. Add Anchor Point
        3. Delete Anchor Point
        4. Anchor Point
        5. Curvature
        6. Line Segment
        7. Rectangle
        8. Rounded Rectangle
        9. Ellipse
        10. Polygon
        11. Star
        12. Paintbrush
        13. Blob Brush
        14. Pencil
        15. Shaper
        16. Slice
      7. Modify tools
        1. Rotate
        2. Reflect
        3. Scale
        4. Shear
        5. Width
        6. Free Transform
        7. Eyedropper
        8. Blend
        9. Eraser
        10. Scissors
        11. Dimension
    4. Generative AI (not available in mainland China)
      1. Generate a vector graphic using a text prompt
      2. Recolor your artwork using a text prompt
    5. Quick actions
      1. Retro text
      2. Neon glow text
      3. Old school text
      4. Recolor
      5. Convert sketch to vector
  3. Illustrator on the web (beta)
    1. Illustrator on the web (beta) overview
    2. Illustrator on the web (beta) FAQ
    3. Troubleshooting issues FAQ
    4. Keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator on the web (beta)
    5. Create and combine shapes on the web
    6. Add and edit text on the web
    7. Apply colors and gradients on the web
    8. Draw and edit paths on the web
    9. Work with cloud documents on the web
    10. Invite collaborators to edit on the web
  4. Illustrator on the iPad
    1. Introduction to Illustrator on the iPad
      1. Illustrator on the iPad overview
      2. Illustrator on the iPad FAQs
      3. System requirements | Illustrator on the iPad
      4. What you can or cannot do on Illustrator on the iPad
    2. Workspace
      1. Illustrator on the iPad workspace
      2. Touch shortcuts and gestures
      3. Keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator on the iPad
      4. Manage your app settings
    3. Documents
      1. Work with documents in Illustrator on the iPad
      2. Import Photoshop and Fresco documents
    4. Select and arrange objects
      1. Create repeat objects
      2. Blend objects
    5. Drawing
      1. Draw and edit paths
      2. Draw and edit shapes
    6. Type
      1. Work with type and fonts
      2. Create text designs along a path
      3. Add your own fonts
    7. Work with images
      1. Vectorize raster images
    8. Color
      1. Apply colors and gradients
  5. Cloud documents
    1. Basics
      1. Work with Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Share and collaborate on Illustrator cloud documents
      3. Share documents for review
      4. Upgrade cloud storage for Adobe Illustrator
      5. Illustrator cloud documents | Common questions
    2. Troubleshooting
      1. Troubleshoot create or save issues for Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Troubleshoot Illustrator cloud documents issues
  6. Add and edit content
    1. Drawing and dimensioning
      1. Drawing basics
      2. Edit paths
      3. Draw pixel-perfect art
      4. Draw with the Pen, Curvature, or Pencil tool
      5. Draw simple lines and shapes
      6. Draw rectangular and polar grids
      7. Draw and edit flares
      8. Image Trace
      9. Simplify a path
      10. Symbolism tools and symbol sets
      11. Adjust path segments
      12. Design a flower in 5 easy steps
      13. Create and edit a perspective grid
      14. Draw and modify objects on a perspective grid
      15. Use objects as symbols for repeat use
      16. Draw pixel-aligned paths for web workflows
      17. Measure and plot dimensions
    2. 3D objects and materials
      1. About 3D effects in Illustrator
      2. Create 3D graphics
      3. Map artwork over 3D objects
      4. Create 3D Text
      5. Create 3D objects
    3. Color
      1. About color
      2. Select colors
      3. Use and create swatches
      4. Adjust colors
      5. Use the Adobe Color Themes panel
      6. Color groups (harmonies)
      7. Color Themes panel
      8. Recolor your artwork
    4. Painting
      1. About painting
      2. Paint with fills and strokes
      3. Live Paint groups
      4. Gradients
      5. Brushes
      6. Transparency and blending modes
      7. Apply stroke on an object
      8. Create and edit patterns
      9. Meshes
      10. Patterns
    5. Select and arrange objects
      1. Select objects
      2. Layers
      3. Group and expand objects
      4. Move, align, and distribute objects
      5. Stack objects    
      6. Lock, hide, and delete objects
      7. Copy and duplicate objects
      8. Rotate and reflect objects
      9. Intertwine objects
      10. Create realistic art mockups
    6. Reshape objects
      1. Crop images
      2. Transform objects
      3. Combine objects
      4. Cut, divide, and trim objects
      5. Puppet Warp
      6. Scale, shear, and distort objects
      7. Blend objects
      8. Reshape using envelopes
      9. Reshape objects with effects
      10. Build new shapes with Shaper and Shape Builder tools
      11. Work with Live Corners
      12. Enhanced reshape workflows with touch support
      13. Edit clipping masks
      14. Live shapes
      15. Create shapes using the Shape Builder tool
      16. Global editing
    7. Type
      1. Add text and work with type objects
      2. Create bulleted and numbered lists
      3. Manage text area
      4. Fonts and typography
      5. Convert text within images into editable text
      6. Add basic formatting to text
      7. Add advanced formatting to text
      8. Import and export text
      9. Format paragraphs
      10. Special characters
      11. Create type on a path
      12. Character and paragraph styles
      13. Tabs
      14. Find missing fonts (Typekit workflow)
      15. Arabic and Hebrew type
      16. Fonts | FAQ and troubleshooting tips
      17. Create 3D text effect
      18. Creative typography designs
      19. Scale and rotate type
      20. Line and character spacing
      21. Hyphenation and line breaks
      22. Spelling and language dictionaries
      23. Format Asian characters
      24. Composers for Asian scripts
      25. Create text designs with blend objects
      26. Create a text poster using Image Trace
    8. Create special effects
      1. Work with effects
      2. Graphic styles
      3. Appearance attributes
      4. Create sketches and mosaics
      5. Drop shadows, glows, and feathering
      6. Summary of effects
    9. Web graphics
      1. Best practices for creating web graphics
      2. Graphs
      3. SVG
      4. Slices and image maps
  7. Import, export, and save
    1. Import
      1. Place multiple files
      2. Manage linked and embedded files
      3. Links information
      4. Unembed images
      5. Import artwork from Photoshop
      6. Import bitmap images
      7. Import Adobe PDF files
      8. Import EPS, DCS, and AutoCAD files
    2. Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator 
      1. Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator
    3. Save
      1. Save artwork
    4. Export
      1. Use Illustrator artwork in Photoshop
      2. Export artwork
      3. Collect assets and export in batches
      4. Package files
      5. Create Adobe PDF files
      6. Extract CSS | Illustrator CC
      7. Adobe PDF options
      8. Document info panel
  8. Printing
    1. Prepare for printing
      1. Set up documents for printing
      2. Change the page size and orientation
      3. Specify crop marks for trimming or aligning
      4. Get started with large canvas
    2. Printing
      1. Overprint
      2. Print with color management
      3. PostScript printing
      4. Print presets
      5. Printer's marks and bleeds
      6. Print and save transparent artwork
      7. Trapping
      8. Print color separations
      9. Print gradients, meshes, and color blends
      10. White Overprint
  9. Automate tasks
    1. Data merge using the Variables panel
    2. Automation with scripts
    3. Automation with actions
  10. Troubleshooting 
    1. Known issues
    2. Crash issues
    3. Recover files after crash
    4. File issues
    5. Supported file formats
    6. GPU device driver issues
    7. Wacom device issues
    8. DLL file issues
    9. Memory issues
    10. Preferences file issues
    11. Font issues
    12. Printer issues
    13. Share crash report with Adobe
    14. Improve Illustrator performance

To make optimum decisions about printing, you should understand basic printing principles, including how the resolution of your printer or the calibration and resolution of you monitor can affect the way your artwork appears when printed. Illustrator’s Print dialog box is designed to help you through the printing workflow. Each set of options in the dialog box is organized to guide you through the printing process.

A composite is a single-page version of artwork that corresponds to what you see in the illustration window—in other words, a straightforward print job. Composites are also useful for proofing the overall page design, verifying image resolution, and identifying problems that may occur on an imagesetter (such as PostScript errors).

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. Select a printer from the Printer menu. To print to a file instead of a printer, select Adobe PostScript® File or Adobe PDF.
  3. Choose one of the following artboard options:
    • To print everything on one page, select Ignore Artboards.

    • To print each artboard separately, deselect Ignore Artboards and specify if you want to print all artboards (All), or a specific range, such as 1-3.

  4. Select Output on the left side of the Print dialog box, and make sure that Mode is set to Composite.
  5. Set additional printing options.
  6. Click Print.

    If your document uses layers, you can specify which ones to print. Choose File > Print, and select an option from the Print Layers menu: Visible And Printable Layers, Visible Layers, or All Layers. For a video on creating crop areas for print, see

Make artwork nonprintable

The Layers panel makes it easy to print different versions of your artwork. For example, you can choose to print only the type objects in a document in order to proof your text. You can also add nonprinting elements to artwork to record important information.

  • To prevent artwork from displaying in the document window, printing, and exporting, hide the corresponding items in the Layers panel.
  • To prevent artwork from printing, but not from showing on the artboard or exporting, double-click a layer name in the Layers panel. In the Layer Options dialog box, deselect the Print option, and click OK. The layer name changes to italics in the Layers panel.
  • To create artwork that does not print or export, even when visible on the artboard, select Template in the Layer Options dialog box.

You can also specify multiple artboards in your document and then choose one artboard at a time for printing in the Print dialog box. Only artwork within the artboard prints. For a video on defining crop artboards, see

Each category of options in the Print dialog box—from General options to Summary options—is organized to guide you through the process of printing your document. To display a set of options, select the set name on the left side of the dialog box. Many of these options are preset by the startup profile you chose when you started your document.


Set the page size and orientation, specify how many pages to print, scale the artwork, specify tiling options and choose which layers to print.

Marks & Bleed

Select printer’s marks and create a bleed.


Create color separations.


Set printing options for paths, fonts, PostScript files, gradients, meshes, and blends.

Color Management

Select a color profile and rendering intent for printing.


Control the flattening (or possible rasterization) of vector artwork during printing.


View and save a summary of print settings.

Reposition artwork on the page

The preview image in the Print dialog box shows you where artwork will be printed on the page.

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Drag the artwork in the preview image at the lower left corner of the dialog box.

    • Click a square or arrow on the Placement icon to specify the origin point for aligning the artwork in relation to the page. Enter values for Origin X and Origin Y to fine-tune the position of the artwork.

      Tip: To move the printable area directly on the artboard, drag in the illustration window with the Print Tiling tool. As you drag, the Print Tiling tool responds as if you were moving the printable area from its lower left corner. You can move the printable area anywhere on the artboard; however, any part of a page that extends past the printable area boundary is not printed.

When you create a document with multiple artboards, you can print the document in a variety of ways. You can ignore the artboards and print everything on one page (tiling may be required if your artboards expand the page boundaries). Or you can print each artboard as an individual page. When you print artboards as individual pages, you can choose to print all artboards, or a range of artboards.

  1. Choose File > Print.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To print all artboards as separate pages, select All. You can see all the pages listed in the preview area in the lower left corner of the Print dialog box.

    • To print a subset of artboards as separate pages, select Range, and specify the artboards to print.

    • To print the artwork on all the artboards together on a single page, select Ignore Artboards. If the artwork extends past the boundaries of the page, you can scale or tile it.

  3. Specify other print options as desired, and click Print.

Automatically rotate artboards for printing

In Illustrator, all the artboards in a document can automatically rotate to print to the chosen media size. Select the Auto-Rotate check box in the Print dialog box to set auto rotation for Illustrator documents. For a document created in Illustrator, Auto-Rotate is enabled by default.

For example, consider a document with both landscape (width is more than height) and portrait (height is more than width) media size. If you select the media size as portrait in the Print dialog box, then the landscape artboards automatically rotate to portrait media when printing.


When Auto-Rotate is selected, you cannot change the page orientation.

Tile artwork on multiple pages

If you are printing artwork from a single artboard (or ignored artboards) that cannot fit on a single page, you can tile the artwork onto multiple pages. If your document has multiple art

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. Select Tile option:

    If your document has multiple artboards, first select Ignore Artboards, or specify 1 page in the Range option and select Fit To Page.

    Full Pages

    Divides the artboard into full media-sized pages for output.

    Imageable Areas

    Divides the artboard into pages based on what the selected device can image. This option is useful for outputting artwork that is larger than your device can handle, because it allows you to reassemble tiled pieces into the original larger artwork.

  3. (Optional) If you selected Full Pages, set the Overlap option to specify the amount of overlap between pages.

Scale a document for printing

To fit an oversized document on a piece of paper smaller than the artwork’s actual dimensions, you can use the Print dialog box to scale the document’s width and height, either symmetrically or asymmetrically. Asymmetric scaling is useful when, for example, you’re printing film for use on a flexographic press: if you know in which direction the plate will be mounted on the press drum, scaling can compensate for the 2% to 3% stretching of the plate that usually occurs. Scaling does not affect the size of the pages in the document, it just changes the scale at which the document prints.

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To prevent scaling, select Do Not Scale.

    • To scale the document automatically to fit to the page, select Fit To Page. The scaling percentage is determined by the imageable area defined by the selected PPD.

    • To activate the Width and Height text boxes, select Custom. Enter percentages from 1 to 1000 for the width or height. Deselect the Constrain Proportions button  to change the document width-to-height ratio.

Change the printer resolution and screen frequency

Adobe Illustrator prints fastest and best by using the default printer resolution and screen frequency. However, in some cases, you might want to change the printer resolution and screen frequency—for example, if you draw a very long curved path that won’t print due to a limit-check error, if printing is slow, or if gradients and meshes show banding when printed.

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. For Printer, select a PostScript printer, Adobe PostScript® File, or Adobe PDF.
  3. Select Output on the left side of the Print dialog box.
  4. For Printer Resolution, select a screen frequency (lpi) and printer resolution (dpi) combination.

Printer resolution is measured in the number of ink dots produced per inch (dpi). Most desktop laser printers have a resolution of 600 dpi, and imagesetters have a resolution of 1200 dpi or higher. Inkjet printers produce a microscopic spray of ink, not actual dots; however, most inkjet printers have an approximate resolution of 300 to 720 dpi.

When printing to a desktop laser printer, but especially to imagesetters, you must also consider screen frequency. Screen frequency is the number of halftone cells per inch used to print grayscale images or color separations. Also known as screen ruling or line screen, screen frequency is measured in lines per inch (lpi)—or lines of cells per inch in a halftone screen.

A high line-screen ruling (for example, 150 lpi) spaces the dots used to create an image close together to create a finely rendered image on the press; a low screen ruling (60 lpi to 85 lpi) spaces the dots farther apart to create a coarser image. The size of the dots is also determined by the line screen. A high line-screen ruling uses small dots; a low screen ruling uses large dots. The most important factor in choosing a line-screen ruling is the type of printing press your job uses. Ask your print shop how fine a line screen its press can hold, and make your choices accordingly.

The PPD files for high-resolution imagesetters offer a wide range of possible line-screen rulings paired with various imagesetter resolutions. The PPD files for lower-resolution printers typically have only a few choices for line screens, and they are coarser screens of between 53 lpi and 85 lpi. The coarser screens, however, give optimum results on lower-resolution printers. Using a finer screen of 100 lpi, for example, actually decreases the quality of your image when a low-resolution printer is used for final output. That’s because increasing the lpi for a given resolution decreases the number of colors that can be reproduced.


Some imagesetters and desktop laser printers use screening technologies other than halftoning. If you are printing an image on a nonhalftone printer, consult your service provider or your printer documentation for the recommended resolutions.


Get help faster and easier

New user?

Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online