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What are Artboards in Illustrator? A quick starter Guide

Artboards in Illustrator are the Canvas where you will create your artwork. The artboards you create will determine the size and number of pages on your final document. It is therefore important to understand What are artboards in Illustrator and how to work with them.

What you will learn 

  1. How to create artboards in Illustrator
  2. How to duplicate artboards in Illustrator
  3. Resizing Artboards
  4. How to delete Artboards
  5. How to save Artboards
  6. Rearranging artboards

How to create artboards in Illustrator

The easiest way to create an artboard is to do it as you start your project.

Step 1:Go to File>New shortcut Control+N on PC or Command+N on MAC 

A menu will pop up to show the document setup options. When you click ok a new artboard comes up.

You can set the size and number of the artboards you want to have in your document. Additionally, you will also be able to set the document bleed size and color modes.

Orientation refers to whether you want a landscape or portrait artboard.

Next to the Number of Artboards tab, there is an inactive order of artboards that is only active when you have more than 1 artboard. This shows how you want many artboards to flow, from left to right or up to down.

Artboards in illustrator

It is important to note that this setup is not final and all these changes can be changed as you proceed with your work.

How to duplicate artboards in Illustrator

Once you open one artboard you might want to create an exact copy of the artboard you have made. There are 2 ways you can duplicate artboards.

Duplicating artboards using Artboard Menu

Go to Window>Artboards a pop up will come up

Click the 3 lines on the top right corner and choose duplicate artboard

How to Add another Artboard in Illustrator using the Artboard tool

Click on the Artboard tool on the toolbar or shortcut Shift>O

How to Add another Artboard in Illustrator

Hold down the ALT key then click and drag the artboard to duplicate it.

Artboards in illustrator

How to Lock and Unlock Objects in Illustrator

If you have any elements on the artboard, they will be duplicated in the new artboard too. If you do not want the elements duplicated on the new artboard, just lock them.

This is how you lock objects. Select the objects you want to lock. Hit Control>2 on PC or Command>2 on MAC. Alternatively, Go to Object>Lock>Selection.

To unlock the objects after you duplicate your artboard, hit Control>Alt>2 on your PC, and the objects will be unlocked.

Resizing Artboards

If you set the wrong size as you started your project, there are a number of ways you can resize artboards.

Click Shift+O or the Artboard tool. You can either set the size on the top bar or go to the edges of the artboard and click and drag.

Artboards in illustrator

As mentioned earlier, the size and arrangement of artboards will determine how the print document will look and be organized.

How to Rearrange Artboards in Illustrator

Go to Window>Artboards to bring up the Artboards tab. Here you will see all your artboards in a document.

This Menu will allow you to do a number of things. To rearrange artboards, just click on one and drag it up or down as per the new position you want it to be.

Illustrator artboard

The + icon at the bottom will allow you to add an artboard with the same specifications as the others. You will notice a trash icon right next to it. Click on it if you want to delete an artboard directly from this Menu.

To edit and change the size of existing artboards, click on the icon on the right of the artboard name. It will bring up a menu to edit the size of the artboards.

How to save an Illustrator artboard as a separate PNG?

When you finish your multipage document, you sometimes want each artboard to be saved as a separate PNG document. 

Go to File>Export As choose PNG and make sure to check Use Artboards. Each page will be saved as a separate document.

Illustrator artboard

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