Adobe CS5 Illustrator View Summary - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

When you’re working in Adobe Creative Suite 5 (Adobe CS5) Illustrator, precision is important, but you also want to see how the artwork looks. Whether for the web or print, Illustrator offers several ways in which to view your artwork:

  • Preview and Outline views: By default, Illustrator shows Preview view, where you see colors, stroke widths, images, and patterns as they should appear when printed or completed for onscreen presentation. Sometimes this view can become a nuisance, especially if you’re trying to create a corner point by connecting two thick lines.

    At times like this, or whenever you want the strokes and fills reduced to the underlying structure, choose View→Outline. You now see the outline of the illustration.

    Preview mode (left) and Outline mode (right).
    Preview mode (left) and Outline mode (right).
  • Pixel view: If you don’t want to be surprised when your artwork appears in your web browser, use Pixel view. This view maintains the vectors of your artwork but shows how the pixels will appear when the image is viewed on-screen, as though it’s on the web.

    Pixel view is helpful for previewing the look of text onscreen — some fonts just don’t look good as pixels, especially if the text is small. In Pixel view, you can review several different fonts until you find one that’s easily readable as pixels.


  • Overprint view: For people in print production, the Overprint preview can be a real timesaver. Choose Window→Attributes to bring up the Attributes panel, which you can use to set the fill and stroke colors to overprint. This view creates additional colors when printing and aids printers when trapping abutting colors.

    Trapping is the slight overprint of a lighter color into a darker color to correct for press misregistration. When several colors are printed on one piece, the likelihood of perfectly alignment is slim! Setting a stroke to Overprint on the Window→Attributes panel is one solution. With Overprint selected, the stroke is overprinted on the nearby colors.

    This mixing of color produces an additional color, but is less obvious to the viewer than a white space created by misregistration. Select Overprint to see the result of overprinting in Overprint view.