What is an Artboard in Adobe Illustrator

You can see an artboard in Adobe Illustrator as a physical piece of paper where you can use pencils or other tools to create amazing drawings and designs. It’s an empty space where you express your creativity in the digital world. 

Artboards are essential for creating artwork in Adobe Illustrator. I’ve been doing graphic design for nine years, working on different design software like Photoshop and InDesign, I would say that manipulating workflow in Illustrator is the easiest and most flexible. 

After reading this article, you’ll better understand what an artboard does and why use artboards. I’ll also share a quick guide on the Artboard Tool, and other tips related to Artboards. Bunch of good stuff! 

Ready to discover?

Why You Should Use Artboards in Adobe Illustrator

So, what’s great about Artboards? As I briefly mentioned earlier, it’s flexible and easy to manipulate artboards in Illustrator, so you can adjust them to best fit your design. Artboards are also important for saving your design.

I’m not exaggerating or anything, but seriously, without an artboard, you can’t even save your work, I mean export. I’ll explain more later on in this article. 

Other than being super important, it also helps to organize your work. You can freely arrange artboards orders, adjust the size, name them, copy and paste artboards to make different versions of your design, etc. 

Artboard Tool (Quick Guide)

Unlike in some other design software that you have to change canvas size from document settings, in Adobe Illustrator, you can quickly resize and move around the artboard.

Note: Screenshots are taken from Adobe Illustrator CC 2021 Mac Version. Windows and other versions might look different.

Select the Artboard Tool from the toolbar. You’ll see dashed lines on the artboard border, which means you can edit it. 

If you want to move it, simply click on the artboard and move it to the desired spot. If you want to change the size to match your design, click on one of the corners and drag to resize. 

You can also manually type in the size or change other artboard settings in the Properties panel.

Saving Artboards

You can save artboards in many different formats such as SVG, pdf, jpeg, png, eps, etc. There are options to save only a specific artboard, multiple artboards from range, or all artboards. 

Here’s the trick. After you click Save As, check Use Artboards and change the option at the bottom from All to Range, then you can choose the artboards you want to save and click Save

If you’re saving a .ai file, the Use Artboards option will gray out because your only option is to save it all. 

Note: when you save (let’s say export) your design as a jpeg, png, etc, you’re exporting your artboards. So you should click Export > Export As, and choose the format you need. 

More Questions 

You might be interested in the answers to some of the questions below that other designers also asked. 

How do I save an Illustrator artboard as a separate PNG?

You’ll need to export your file as png from the overhead menu File > Export > Export As. And at the bottom of the Export window, check Use Artboards and change All to Range, input the artboard number you would like to save as png, and click Export

How do I delete everything outside the artboard in Illustrator?

Actually, when you export your file, you have the option to choose Use Artboards as I mentioned above, with this option, whatever is outside the artboard will not be shown when it’s saved (exported). 

Another way is making a clipping mask on the artboard. All you have to do is select all objects on your artboard and group them. Create a rectangle that’s your artboard size, and make a clipping mask

How do I select an artboard in Illustrator?

Depending on what you need to do with the artboard, if you want to select the artboard to move it around, the best option is using the Artboard Tool. 

In other cases, simply click on the artboard you want to work on or click on the artboard on the artboard panel which you can quickly open from the overhead menu Window > Artboard.

Wrapping Up

If you decide to use Adobe Illustrator to create an awesome design, using an artboard is a must. I love using it for making different versions of a project because I can have the versions all in one place instead of different files. And I have the flexibility to only exporting my selections when needed.

About June Escalada
Graduated from Creative Advertising major, worked more than eight years as a graphic designer focusing in branding and Illustration. Yes, Adobe Illustrator is my best friend and I’m passionate about art and design.

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