Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up artboards, part of Illustrator CS4 Getting Started.
In this exercise I will show you how to change the size, quantity and position of artboards inside of an existing document. I have opened the illustration called Branded Clothing.ai found inside the Exercise Files folder. This document happens to feature one and only artboard that measures 10 inches wide by 8 inches tall. How do I know that? Well, I could go up to the View menu and I could choose Show Rulers in order to display the vertical and horizontal rulers but they are currently set to points and it's difficult to extrapolate points to inches.
If this were another Adobe program then I could view and modify the page size using the Document Setup command under the File menu. Now Illustrator does provide a Document Setup command and you can get it to as easily as clicking this button here in the control panel. And while I can change my Units from Points to Inches, I can't for the life of me find any information on the existing artboard except for this button right here that says Edit Artboards. So, I will go ahead and click on it and what it's going to do is it's going to close this dialog box and select a tool and that tool is this one right here, the Artboard tool. And the Artboard tool is how you modify artboards in Illustrator. So if you are working with some other tool like the Selection tool for example, you will be working inside the standard illustration mode. If you want to switch to editing artboards then you just click on the Artboard tool or you press the keyboard shortcut, Shift+O.
Now, I can see that this artboard measures 10 inches wide by 8 inches tall up here in the control panel. Let's say that I want to create a total of four artboards, one each for the two shirts and the two pair of shorts. So I am going to go ahead and scale this artboard. But before I do, I want to confirm under the View menu that I have Smart Guides turned on and I do because I can see a check mark in front of it. The Smart Guides will help me size and align my artboards as I create them. I am going to go ahead and drag this right handle until I see that the width of the artboard has changed to 5 inches, you can see that W value just to the right of my cursor there and I will go ahead and release. Now, I will also change the height of the artboard and I will drag it up until I see a height value of about 4.5 inches. Now I am having a hard time getting that to work out because I am snapping to various portions of the shorts right there.
If I ultimately just can't get the exact values I am looking for, I can release and then I can change the values up here in the control panel. I will change the height to 4.5 inches for example and now I have got my first artboard. I could now set about drawing other artboards with the Artboard tool like so, but why bother drawing another identically sized artboard from scratch, when I can just go ahead and duplicate the first one. So I will press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of that new artboard. Then I am going to go ahead and move this artboard over to the left a little bit and notice how the items that are attached to the artboard, even slightly attached to the artboard like this pair of shorts here, are moving over to the left as well. That's a result of this setting right here. Notice Move/Copy Artwork With Artboard is turned on. I want to turn it off and that way we can move the artboard independently of the objects that are set on it.
Now, I am going to go ahead and duplicate this artboard by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and dragging the artboard over to the right and notice it snaps into position. I also have this intersect line that's telling me that it's exactly centered up and down. So I will release in order to create a duplicate of the first artboard and it's automatically numbered Artboard 2. Then I am going to press Shift+Right arrow, one, two, three, four, five times to create a gutter between these artboards and the reason I counted it is because I want to be able to create a similar vertical gutter between the artboards for the shirts and the shorts.
Now, I will click on the first artboard to select it once again and I am going to Alt-drag it down downward or Option -drag on the Mac and I will notice my intersect line just to make sure I am nice and centered and then I am going to resize this artboard by panning my artwork up a little bit and I am doing that by Spacebar-dragging incidentally. Now, I will drag this edge upward until the height of this artboard is exactly 3.5 inches. All right, that looks good. Now I will press Shift+Down arrow one, two, three, four, five times in a row. And then just to finish things off I will Alt-drag artboard number 3 or Option-drag it on the Mac until I get two intersect lines that are showing me that it's both vertically and horizontally centered with the neighboring pages. Then I will release. We are now ready to align the objects inside of our illustration. In order to leave the Artboard mode, you either click on any tool but the Artboard tool or you just press the Escape key and you are back in the standard editing mode.
Now, I am going to click on this shirt. I want to go ahead and align it to this artboard so it's centered on the artboard. I will go up to the control panel and notice this option right there. If I click on it I will bring up a menu and I can choose Align To Artboard and then I will click each one of these centering options right there, this one and this one, in order to center the shirt and then I will just run that same operation on the other one. So I have already set this to Align To Artboard, so I don't have to redo that but I do have to click on each one of the centering options up there in the control palette after going ahead and selecting each one of the graphics.
And that's it, friends. We have now managed to setup four independent artboards inside of this illustration thereby preventing us to relegate each of our assets to a different artboard. I could then turn around and print each one of these artboards to a separate piece of paper. I could also export all four artboards to a single multi-page PDF document. It's an unusual but very flexible approach here inside Illustrator.
- Working with point and path text
- Selecting, isolating, and combining paths
- Reshaping paths and working with control handles
- Rounding corners
- Using Live Paint