You Can do THAT with Illustrator CS4 Artboards!?!

by Louellen Coker on September 10, 2009

As I sat down to work on my review of Ted Alspach’s Adobe [amazon-product text=”Illustrator CS4 Bible” type=”text”]0470345195[/amazon-product] this morning, I discovered a nifty little thing about using multiple Artboards in the program. It made me so giddy that I just had to share with all my graphic artist peeps out there.

One of the cool new features in Illustrator CS4 is that you can create multiple Artboards in a single document. An awesome functionality that was featured in Adobe’s CS4 town hall when they announced the new product and that was prominent in our decision to upgrade. We know of the feature. We use it. We love it.

In Illustrator, and Artboard defines the maximum drawing area you can print. And, for the first time, in CS4, you can define any number of Artboards in any size within one document with the ability to print and export separately or as a group. Very cool! What that means for us, is that we can create logos, business cards, envelopes, and stationery all in one file. All laid out next to each other. Life is wonderful.

But as I took as sip of coffee this morning, I happened to look at page 4 and discovered something I had overlooked when reading the guide the first time through. You see, a single sentence about Figure 1.1 was on the following page rather than with the graphic and the Cross Reference icon was a bit distracting, so I had previously glanced over it. As I was lamenting over the publisher’s poor layout decision (I digress!), I read the following sentence:

Figure 1.1 actually three overlapping Artbooards; when you print pagesĀ  1-3 of this document, each Artboard is a new page! Neat!

Overlapping was the key word. I looked closer at the figure and high-tailed it to my computer to determine if what I was seeing was true! Was the Artboard feature really more robust than I realized?

Overlapping Artboards in Illustrator CS4

The map inset is an independent element and is used in multiple places in the event’s campaign. Rather than pulling the map element into separate Artboard alongside the main poster, I clicked on the Artboard tool and drew an overlapping Artboard. I was so pleased when it worked that I drew another one around the text. When done this is what my file looked like:


Three overlapping Artboards in Illustrator CS4

Exported Overlapped Artboards in Illustrator CS4

When I exported the images, this is what I got:

Artboard 1: BTU 100th Anniversary Celebration Poster

Artboard 1: BTU 100th Anniversary Celebration Poster

Artboard 2: Map from BTU's 100th Anniversary Celebration

Artboard 2: Map from BTU's 100th Anniversary Celebration


Artboard 3: Text From BTU's 100th Anniversary Poster

I was very excited to learn that what I was seeing was indeed a facet of Artboards that I had been overlooking!

Thanks, Ted for the enlightenment (and the increased productivity!)

What hidden treasure have you discovered in Illustrator CS4?

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