Home / Articles / Adobe Illustrator / Transforming Artwork in Adobe Illustrator CC

Transforming Artwork in Adobe Illustrator CC

Chapter Description

In this excerpt from Adobe Illustrator CC Classroom in a Book (2014 release), you’ll create content and use it in a ticket for a sporting event. You'll learn how to add, edit, rename, reorder and navigate artboards, work with rulers and guides, move, scale, and rotate objects, reflect, shear, and distort objects, position objects with precision, position and align content with Smart Guides, use the Free Transform tool to distort an object, and create a PDF.

Working with artboards

Artboards represent the regions that can contain printable artwork, similar to pages in Adobe InDesign. You can use multiple artboards for creating a variety of things, such as multiple-page PDF files, printed pages with different sizes or different elements, independent elements for websites, or video storyboards, for instance.

Adding artboards to the document

You can add and remove artboards at any time while working in a document. You can create artboards in different sizes, resize them with the Artboard tool (sp_artboardtool_lg_n.jpg) or Artboards panel (artboards_panel_icon1.jpg), and position them anywhere in the Document window. All artboards are numbered and can have a unique name assigned to them.

Next, you will add two more artboards to the document. Since this is a ticket for a sporting event that will fold, each artboard will be a different face of the ticket (front, inside, and back).

  1. Choose View > Fit Artboard In Window, then press Command+– (Mac OS) or Ctrl+– (Windows) to zoom out.
  2. Press the spacebar to temporarily access the Hand tool (sp_handtool_lg_n3.jpg). Drag the artboard to the left to see more of the darker canvas off the right side of the artboard.

  3. Select the Artboard tool (sp_artboardtool_lg_n.jpg) in the Tools panel. Position the Artboard tool pointer to the right of the existing artboard and in line with its top edge (a green alignment guide appears). Drag down and to the right to create an artboard that is 3.5 in (width) by 6 in (height). The measurement label indicates the artboard size.

  4. Click the Artboards panel icon (artboards_panel_icon1.jpg) on the right side of the workspace to show it.

    The Artboards panel allows you to see how many artboards the document currently contains. It also allows you to reorder, rename, add, and delete artboards and to choose many other options related to artboards. Notice that Artboard 2 is highlighted in the panel. The active artboard is always highlighted in this panel.


    Next, you will create a copy of an artboard using this panel.

  5. Click the New Artboard button (new_artboard1.jpg) at the bottom of the panel to create a copy of Artboard 2, called Artboard 3. The copy is placed to the right of Artboard 2 in the Document window.

  6. Choose View > Fit All In Window to see all of your artboards and leave the Artboard tool selected.

Editing artboards

After creating artboards, you can edit or delete artboards at any time by using the Artboard tool (sp_artboardtool_lg_n1.jpg), menu commands, or the Artboards panel. Next, you will reposition and change the sizes of several of the artboards using multiple methods.

  1. Press Command+– (Mac OS) or Ctrl+– (Windows) twice to zoom out further.

  2. With the Artboard tool (sp_artboardtool_lg_n1.jpg) still selected, drag Artboard 3 from the center, to the left of the original (larger) artboard. You can reposition artboards at any time and even overlap them, if necessary.

  3. With the Artboard tool selected, drag the bottom-center bounding point of the artboard down until the height is 8 in, as shown in the measurement label. The bottom will snap to the bottom of the larger artboard to its right and a green alignment (smart) guide will appear.


    Another way to resize an artboard is to do so by entering values in the Control panel, which is what you’ll do next.

  4. Click Artboard 2, to the right of the larger artboard in the middle. “Artboard 2” will be highlighted in the Artboards panel. Select the upper-middle point in the reference point locator (upper_mid_ref_point.jpg) in the Control panel. Change the height to 8 in the Control panel and press Enter or Return to accept the value.

    Selecting the upper-middle point allows you to resize an artboard from the top, center of the artboard. By default, artboards are resized from their center.

    In the Control panel, with the Artboard tool selected, you will see many options for editing the currently active artboard. The Preset menu lets you change a selected artboard to a set size. Notice that the sizes in the Preset menu include typical print, video, tablet, and Web sizes. You can also fit the artboard to the artwork bounds or the selected art, which is a great way to fit an artboard to a logo, for instance. Other options in the Control panel include the ability to switch orientation, rename or delete the artboard, even show other helpful guides like a center point or video-safe areas.

  5. Select the Selection tool (sp_selectiontool_lg_n8.jpg), and choose View > Fit All In Window.

    Notice the very subtle black outline around Artboard 2, with “2” showing in the Artboard Navigation menu (lower-left corner of the Document window), and “Artboard 2” highlighted in the Artboards panel, all of which indicate that Artboard 2 is the currently active artboard. There can only be one active artboard at a time. Commands such as View > Fit Artboard In Window apply to the active artboard.

Renaming artboards

By default, artboards are assigned a number and a name. When you navigate the artboards in a document, it can be helpful to name them. Next, you are going to rename the artboards so that the names are more useful.

  1. In the Artboards panel, double-click the name “Artboard 1.” Change the name to Inside, and press Enter or Return.


    You will now rename the rest of the artboards.

  2. Double-click the Artboard Options icon (artboard_icon1.jpg) to the right of the name “Artboard 2” in the Artboards panel. This opens the Artboard Options dialog box.

  3. In the Artboard Options dialog box, change the Name to Back and click OK.

    The Artboard Options dialog box has a lot of extra options as well as a few we’ve already seen, like width and height.

  4. Double-click the name “Artboard 3” in the panel, and change the name to Front. Press Enter or Return to accept the name.
  5. Choose File > Save, and keep the Artboards panel showing for the next steps.

Reordering artboards

When you navigate your document, the order in which the artboards appear can be important, especially if you are navigating the document using the Next artboard (next_artboard3.jpg) and Previous artboard (prev_artboard2.jpg) buttons. By default, artboards are ordered according to the order in which they are created, but you can change that order. Next, you will reorder the artboards in the Artboards panel.

  1. With the Artboards panel still open, double-click the number 1 to the left of the name “Inside” in the panel. This makes the artboard named “Inside” the active artboard and fits it in the Document window.

  2. Click and drag the “Front” artboard name up until a line appears above the artboard named “Inside.” Release the mouse button.

    This moves the artboard up in order so that it becomes the first artboard in the list.

  3. Double-click to the right or left of the name “Front” in the Artboards panel to fit that artboard in the Document window, if necessary.
  4. Click the Next artboard button (next_artboard3.jpg) in the lower-left corner of the Document window to navigate to the next artboard (Inside). This fits the Inside artboard in the Document window.

    If you had not changed the order, the next artboard would have been dimmed since it was the last artboard in the Artboards panel (there was no artboard after it).

  5. Choose File > Save.

Now that the artboards are set up, you will concentrate on transforming artwork to create the content for your project.

3. Transforming content | Next Section Previous Section