One of the coolest features that the Adobe team implemented since the CS4 version of Illustrator is artboards. These elements allow you to place several elements in different regions of the document, this can be useful for printing or keeping elements outside the viewable area, so now you can create multiple page PDF’s, individual elements to export to other programs and more. You can make up to 100 artboards in a single document, this can vary depending on the size though, which you can easily change through the Artboard tool that can be find on your Illustrator toolbox..
As you can see on the previous picture, you can view the current size of the artboard after selecting the Artboard tool, you can also modify the size of the artboard an many more things. If you go to View>Show Print Tiling you will be able to see the current relation between the artboard and the printable area, which is another useful feature that you can harness while working in your designs.
Then we have the Artboard bar, from left to right you can do the following things: Change between portrait and landscape view, create and delete artboards, change the artboard’s name, the next option allows you to choose whether copy the content when duplicating an artboard or just the artboard itself, the next option let’s you choose if you want to see the center mark, cross hairs and/or video safe areas, the next button opens the Artboard Options panel, which is basically the same options but displayed in a single panel, then you have the option to change the reference point and the artboard width and height values.
Printing and exporting artboards
You can choose to print a single artboard or print them all, just open the print dialog to check the order and set up other options regarding tint and paper size, you can also adjust which artboards you’re going to print by using the range option in the print panel, if you choose ignore artboards you can combine all the art into a single page or export just the current artboard you have selected.
Artboards panel (how to rearrange artboards)
And here’s the reason why I came up with the idea of writing an article about artboards in Illustrator. I was making a new brochure for a client in Illustrator (I’m just not too much into InDesign), everything was going fine because I thought that the client was printing the brochure, but wrong answer, he asked to print the brochure!, that wouldn’t have to be a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that I made the brochure in several artboards and in no order in particular, so that’s when I wondered “how can I rearrange these artboards?”.
Until this point I thought that the only way of doing this was eliminating all the artboards and then create them again in the right order, the other method will imply to move all the artworks from one artboard to another, believe or not I did that more than once haha. Then I looked in the top menu bar and I find heaven, you can find salvation in Window>Artboards.
This panel shows you all your artboards in the current order you have them, so if you want to rearrange them you just need to drag them to the correct position or use the arrows at the bottom of the panel, I cannot believe it took me all this time to find this menu, that’s because I always tend to overlook things.
A couple more tips
Well then, now that we have reached the end of the article I would like to share a couple of tips that I have learned in time that might come in handy the next time you’re working with artboards.
- To delete an artboard, you can click on the small X icon at the upper-right corner of the artboard, you can also click on the Bin icon at the control panel.
- If artboards overlap, the one with the left edge closest to the click location will be the current active artboard.
- To switch between artboards, press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and then click an arrow key.
- If you want to see the content of an artboard as outlines, right click and select Outline, if you want to go back to normal simply right click and select Preview.