Tutorial: Illustrator CC Basics – Artboards


In this tutorial I will be teaching you how to create and manipulate Artboards within Illustrator.

Let’s begin by making a new document that contains multiple Artboards. Go to File and choose New. Let’s name the document Business Card and choose Print from the Profile drop-down menu.

Change the Units to inches and make the document 3.5 inches wide and 2 inches in height. Make sure the chain icon for the Bleed is active and the make the Bleed an eighth of an inch (0.125).

Let’s say that our client wants three different versions of the business card – both front and back. This means that we need to make six Artboards. So under the Artboards section we need to change the number of Artboards from one to six.

Now we can change the layout of the six Artboards using the icons to the right. We can arrange the Artboards via Grid by Row, Grid by Column, Arrange by Row, Arrange by Column, or Change Right-to-Left Layout. You can also change the Spacing and number of Columns manually. Let’s choose a spacing of 0.5 inches and three columns.


You can also use the Artboards Panel to create multi-Artboard documents.

Go to File and choose New. Under the Profile drop-down menu choose Web and leave the number of Artboards at one.

In the right-side Panel System, open up the Artboards Panel. If you do not see this icon, go to Window and choose Artboards. It is in the panel that you can manage your Artboards.

Let’s rename this Artboard by double-clicking on the Artboard 1 name and then changing the name to Home. Hit your Enter key to accept the change.

We can create another Artboard by clicking on the New Artboard icon at the bottom of the panel. Double-click the Artboard 2 name and rename it About. Let’s add two more Artboards and rename them Store and Contact.

Using Control-Minus on a PC or Command-Minus on a Mac zoom out until you can see all four Artboards. Choose your Type tool and type out the names of the Artboards. Now, using Control-Plus on a PC or Command-Plus on a Mac, zoom back in so you only see one complete Artboard.

To move to another Artboard you need to simply double-click on the blank space beside the name in the Artboard Panel.

You can also arrange the Artboards within the Artboard Panel by either dragging the Artboard to a different location in the stack or using the up and down arrows at the bottom of the panel.

You can access even more options by clicking on the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of the Artboards Panel. This menu allows you to create a New Artboard, Duplicate Artboards, Delete Artboards, Delete Empty Artboards, Convert Artboards, and Rearrange Artboards. You also have an Artboard Options which allows you to change the Artboards.

To see how this option works zoom back out so you can see all four Artboards. Let’s work on the Contact Artboard. Make sure the Contact Artboard is active and then zoom out so you have some room to work.

Using the drop-down menu choose Artboard Options. You can change the Preset of the Artboards. Let’s change the Preset to 800 x 600 and change the Orientation from Landscape to Portrait. You can choose whether or not to show the Center Mark, the Cross Hairs, or the Video Safe Areas. When you are done making your changes simply hit OK.


You can also quickly add Artboards by using the Artboard tool.

Let’s create a new document by going to File and choosing New. Choose Web from the Profile and make the Size 640 x 480.

Zoom out so you have room to work.

Choose the Artboard tool from the Tool Panel. Once you have chosen the Artboard tool you will notice that the active Artboard now has a marquee selection surrounding it. Also notice that the Control Panel changes to show the option available to you when using the Artboard tool.

Let’s add another Artboard to our document. Start by going to View and make sure you have Smart Guides checked. Click on the New Artboard icon. When you move back down into the Document Window you will notice you now have a loaded cursor. Simply line up the new Artboard and left-click to place it within the document.


Now that we know how to add Artboards to our document let’s begin manipulating them.

In order to resize an Artboard simply go to a corner and when you see a double-headed arrow click and drag. This will resize the Artboard However, if you want the Artboard to stay the same proportions you will need to hold down the Shift key to constrain the Artboard to those proportion.

If you have accidently resized an Artboard and you need it to be the original size you can do one of two things. If you used a Preset size you can simply choose that size from the Preset drop-down menu. You can also go to the width and height fields and change them manually. Activating the chain will allow you to scale the Artboard proportionally.


Now that you have all of your Artboards set up and complete you will need to export them for the client.

Go back to the Business Card tab and let’s add some shapes to these individual Artboards.

Choose the Rectangle tool from the Tool panel and holding down your Shift key make a square on the first Artboard. Change the fill color to you can see it more easily. Repeat this process, changing the fill color each time, on the other five Artboards. This is simply to make it easier to tell the Artboards apart.

Now, we are going to export these Artboards. Go to File and choose Export. If this was for the Web we would choose Export for Screens but since these Artboards are for printed business cards we need to choose Export As.

Choose a destination for these Artboards and select the format. In this case I will choose JPEG. You will also have the option of renaming the export if you wish.

At the bottom of the dialogue box you will see the option Use Artboards. Check this box so you can export out the Artboards. You can choose to export All Artboards or a Range of Artboards. The Range does not need to be sequential. For example, you can type in 1,3,5. When you are done, simply click on Export.

This will bring up the JPEG options. These options will be different for each document so for now I will use the default settings.

Now go to the destination of these JPEGs and you will see the three Artboards that we exported.


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