Join Mordy Golding for an in-depth discussion in this video Using multiple artboards, part of Illustrator CS4 Essential Training.
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One of the biggest new features added to CS4 is the ability to have multiple artboards in a single document. No, it doesn't mean that you don't need to use InDesign anymore. InDesign is a great application, which allows you to create long documents or documents that have multiple pages where text flows from page to page. But what Illustrator does excel at is the ability to create artboards, and that each of those artboards are different sizes. This allows you to really combine elements of an entire campaign all within a single file. For example, here I have a poster, a letterhead, an envelope, and a label all combined in a single document, which allows me to share these assets very easily between these elements.
First, let's take a look at how we actually create a multiple artboard document. I'm going to go to the File menu. I'm going to choose New. In the New Document dialog box I'll choose in this case here the Print New Document Profile, and I'll specify a number of artboards. Again, by default that's going to be set to number 1, but I'll go ahead here and I'll change, let's say, let's specify four artboards. Now, remember, in Illustrator itself there is no really a concept of a page. In fact, it's just really one big canvas size that we have, which I'll show you in a moment. But basically I have the ability to specify different areas, what we call artboards within that overall canvas.
So because each of these pages are not necessarily pages in a brochure, I don't have page numbering features, for example, inside of Illustrator, but I could define these very easily as a way for me to get some artwork started in my document. So for example, I'll specify here just four artboards. I could choose how those artboards are aligned on my overall canvas, and that could be set by, for example, Grids by Row, by Column, or maybe just arranged in one row or in one column. In this case here for this one example I'll choose Arrange by Row. I'll leave the default setting of 20 points; this is the amount of space that is added in between each of these artboards, remember again as they are aligned to this overall canvas.
I'll let the size be the Letter size page that I had as before, and I could also choose to assign a Bleed setting. Now, it's important to realize that in Illustrator, the Bleed setting applies to all the artboards. I can't have an individual Bleed setting for different artboards, and I also can't have a Bleed setting on one artboard but not on another. But for now I'm just going to leave the Bleed setting set to zero; we will come back to that momentarily. I'll leave all the settings the same and I'll click on the OK button just so that we get an idea of how these artboards are created inside of an Illustrator document. Now I have here one page or one document, and remember I said before there is this concept of a canvas inside of Illustrator. If I zoom out really far, I'm just holding down the Command+Minus, or Ctrl+Minus on Windows, you will see that Illustrator has this large file over here. This is what's called my canvas. This canvas is the maximum area that I can basically use in any particular document. Within this overall canvas I now have four artboards that are defined, and I'll zoom back in again on this.
It's important to realize, by the way, that the artboards themselves, notice how some of them are grayed out; these three are grayed out, but this one has a little bit of a darker border around it, that's because Illustrator itself still has this concept of having really one artboard to work with. So at any one time inside of my document one artboard is my active artboard and the others are basically not active. Illustrator manages this process for you automatically. As I click on an artboard that artboard instantly becomes the active artboard. So it's not something that I have to be conscious about, just important to realize that there is this concept of Illustrator having an active artboard. By the way, this means also that when I choose Fit in Window, different zoom levels, the active artboard is the artboard that fits in that particular window. Notice again if I choose on the bottom of the screen over here, a little pop-up I go to, let's say go to artboard number three, it will automatically choose to move to artboard number three as well. I'll zoom back down here for a second. You can see that that's changed, that's right there.
In fact, to kind of go further over here, let's imagine if we already have a document setup with these artboards but I want to somehow modify these artboards, maybe I want to remove. Let's say I only need three pages, how do I delete one of these artboards in my file? Or maybe I want to add another artboard, how do I do that? Well, you do that using the Artboard tool, which is now available here inside of the tools panel. I'll click on the Artboard tool and you will notice that everything in the document becomes gray except for the artboards. The artboard that is currently my active artboard is shown highlighted with a dash line.
Now, I can basically turn any other artboard to be that particular active artboard just by clicking on it. You notice that the artboards are numbered; this one is called 01, 02, 03, and 04. I have a little box over here, which if I click on actually deletes that artboard. So for example, if I didn't want this artboard, I can simply click on that and that artboard disappears. These get renumbered automatically. Now if I want to add another artboard I can simply start clicking and dragging to create an artboard. Now remember, in Illustrator, artboards can be any different size that I want. So I don't need to have, for example, one type of size. I could have Letter size artboards, I could have any other kind of size artboard; some could be Portrait, some could be Landscape. I could really have tall, thin, narrow artboards. It could be anything that I want to. In fact, there are certain examples that maybe when I'm doing let's say web ad banners, those may be of a variety different sizes, I can store all of those very easily within a single document.
Now, I'll go over here to the top of the bar. When you have the Artboard tool active the Control panel shows you some options. For example, with one click of a button I could change this artboard from Landscape to Portrait, and I can do that of course by clicking on any of these as well. I also have the ability to click on this button here called Artboard Options, and I could specify exact sizes here for each of those artboards. I can type in their values if I want to numerically. I could also choose to show the Video Safe Areas, Show Cross Hairs and a Center Mark, just to give me more feedback about that particular artboard. This is obviously far more useful in video workflows and in the art print workflows. By the way, I'll turn these off for now.
I'm going to click on the OK button to come out of that particular mode. Anytime I go ahead and I click on any other tool I'll automatically exit this Artboard Edit mode, also another way to exit this Artboard Edit mode is simply to tap the Esc key on your keyboard. Now, I'm going to switch over to a file that already has artwork defined inside of this document. I'm going to use this file here called multiple_artboards. You had this file available to you if you have access to the exercise files, you will find it inside of Chapter 02. Now, if I want to move this artwork around or make some adjustments with these artboards, remember, anytime I click on any artwork or any piece within a certain area of an artboard that is the artboard that becomes the active artboard. If I go over here to the Artboard tool, I can click on that, I now enter this Artboard Edit mode, and now I have the ability to basically click on this and move this around.
Notice by the way that the artwork that was on that particular artboard moves along together with that particular artboard, and that happens because there is an option here on the Control panel called Move or Copy Artwork with the Artboard. I have the ability to uncheck that option, which basically allows me to move the artboard but leave the artwork behind. I'm going to press Undo to go back there, let's turn that option back on. It's important to realize if I want to make a complete copy, for example this label, I can hold down the Option key as I drag, and the same things that you will find later on when we start working with shapes. If you hold down the Shift key it constraints. I have the ability to make a complete duplicating copy of that particular artboard, including the artwork that was on it.
I'll go ahead and I'll tap the Escape key to exit Artboard Edit mode. And as you get further into Illustrator we will see more and more where this comes into play, but basically those are the basics of getting started using multiple artboards within a single document in Illustrator CS4.
- Making efficient use of the Illustrator interface
- Creating text on a path
- Using the Magic Wand and Lasso selection tools
- Working with a pressure-sensitive tablet
- Applying 3D extrusions and resolves
- Converting images to vectors with Live Trace
- Exporting files for use in Photoshop, Flash, and other applications