How to Resize an Artboard in Illustrator CC

Learn how to resize an artboard in Illustrator CC in this simple tutorial, and change both your canvas position and size with confidence after following all the steps below.

Unlike Photoshop, where the image size options are named as such, everything in Illustrator is instead done on a canvas, or multiple canvases, so you will need a little more insight and know-how when it comes to resizing.

Everything you need to know is covered in this article, giving you peace of mind when you’re designing in Illustrator.

Video Tutorial

You can watch along as I demonstrate everything covered in this article in the video tutorial above. Watch at your own pace, take things in one at a time, and even practice in Illustrator alongside the tutorial.

Step-by-Step Tutorial

Edit Artboard Mode

Step 1 – To change the size of an artboard, either go to ‘document setup’ in the top toolbar with ‘selection tool’ selected or go to ‘file > document setup’.

Step 2 – In the ‘document setup’ menu, click ‘edit artboards’.

Resize by Hand

Step 3 – When in the ‘edit artboard’ mode, a bounding box will appear around each artboard. Simply click any of the resize points and drag to change the size of the artboard. Hold ‘shift’ to keep the artboard in proportion.

Step 4 – For a more accurate resize, go to ‘view > rulers > show rulers’.

Step 5 – Click and drag guides from the rulers onto the artboard into the position you desire to resize to. For example, below, I’ve dragged a guide out to a width of 1100px.

Step 6 – Now return to the artboard and click and drag the artboard edge toward your rulers. You’ll find that when you get close, the edge of the artboard will snap to the ruler.

Step 7 – Release to resize the artboard. You can repeat this process for the start and end points on both the X and Y axis.

Resize by Dimensions

Step 8 – Once inside the ‘edit artboard’ mode, you will see values for ‘X’, ‘Y’, ‘W’, and ‘H’ in the top toolbar.

X and Y – This is the position of the artboard on the X and Y axis. Changing these values won’t change the size of the artboard, but it will set the start points on the X (left to right) and Y (top to bottom) axis in accordance with the reference point (see below).

W and H – This is the width and height of the artboard. Changing these values will change the size of the artboard. Click the ‘link’ icon to keep both of these values in proportion, so that when you change one, the other will resize accordingly. If you uncheck this, you can change the width and height independently.

Step 9 – Use the ‘reference point’ to set the focal point to which the resize will respond to on the canvas. By default this is set to the center, so for example, if you decreased the width of the canvas from 1280x to 1000px, the canvas would decrease 140px from the left-hand side toward the center, and 140px from the right-hand side toward the center.

However, if you set your ‘reference point’ to ‘left center’, the artboard would decrease 280px from the right-hand side toward the center, and the left-hand side would stay in the same position.

Step 10 – Set your reference point, and change your ‘W’ and ‘H’ values accordingly. Press the enter key once you have set your values.

Change Artboard Position

Step 11 – You can also change the position in the document of your artboard. In the ‘edit artboard’ mode, simply click, hold, and then drag the artboard around into its desired position.

You will notice the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ values change as you move it, which, as we learned earlier, are the artboard’s position on those axes. You can add your own values in these boxes, and even use the ‘rulers’ method, as we did in step 5.

Step 12 – Finally, once you are happy with the resize and reposition of the artboard, click any of the tools on the left-hand toolbar, such as ‘selection tool’, to leave the ‘edit artboard’ mode.

You will now return to the artboard, ready to resume designing. At any time, return to ‘file > document setup’, then ‘edit artboards’ to change the artboard(s) once more.

Artboards allow you to do so much Illustrator, but initially, it can be a little confusing when you realize you are not looking for settings that apply to an ‘image’, as in Photoshop.

This simple tutorial should give you everything you need to resize and reposition an artboard with confidence, allowing you to set up your document to the correct size and specifications.

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