The Adobe CS5 Illustrator Work Area - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

To investigate the work area and become truly familiar with Adobe Creative Suite 5 (Adobe CS5) Illustrator, open a document and take a look around. In the Illustrator work area, a total of 227 inches in width and height help create your artwork (and all artboards).


All that space is helpful, but it also provides enough space to lose objects! The following list explains the tools you work with as you create artwork in Illustrator:

  • Imageable area: The space inside the innermost dotted lines, which marks the printing area on the page. Many printers can’t print all the way to the edges of the paper, so the imageable area is determined by the printer you set in the Print dialog box.

    As a default, the print tiling dotted line is not visible. To turn this dotted border on or off, choose View→Hide/Show Print Tiling.

    You can move the imageable area around on your page by using the Print Tiling tool.

  • Edge of the page: The page’s edge is marked by the outermost set of dotted lines.

  • Nonimageable area: Choose View→Show Print Tiling to see the imageable area based on the selected print driver. The space on the outside of the dotted lines represents the imageable area and the edge of the page. The nonimageable area is the margin of the page that can’t be printed on.

  • Artboard: This area, bounded by solid lines, represents the entire region that can contain printable artwork. By default, the artboard is the same size as the page, but it can be enlarged or reduced. The U.S. default artboard size is 8.5 x 11 inches, but it can be set as large as 227 x 227 inches. You can hide the artboard boundaries by choosing View→Hide Artboard.

  • Scratch area: This area outside the artboards extends to the edge of the 227-inch square window. The scratch area represents a space on which you can create, edit, and store elements of artwork before moving them onto the artboard.

    Objects placed onto the scratch area are visible on-screen, but they don’t print. However, objects in the scratch area appear if the document is saved and placed as an image in other applications.