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How to Get Rid of Everything Outside of Canvas on Illustrator

by Joshua McgeeUpdated September 28, 2017
Burke/Triolo Productions/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

When creating an illustration, it is common to draw more than you need in your final artwork, causing parts to extend beyond the canvas or artboard. Unfortunately, Adobe Illustrator does not have a convenient crop tool that will simply get rid of everything beyond the boundaries of the artboard while maintaining the vector files. You can, however, simulate a crop effect to show only the information contained on the artboard. Saving the file as a different format, you can completely remove the unnecessary artwork, or you can use a clipping mask, which will hide the unnecessary artwork while maintaining the Illustrator file.

Save as PDF

Click on the “File” menu and select “Save As.”

Select “Adobe PDF” from the “Save as Type” drop-down menu.

Deselect “Preserve Illustrator Editing capabilities.” Then, save the PDF. When you open the PDF, the image will only display what was in the artboards. You can still open the PDF in Illustrator, but the artwork that was outside the artboard will be hidden.

Export a Raster File

Click on the “File” menu and select “Export.”

Select the desired file type from the “File Type” drop-down menu.

Click on the “Use Artboards” checkbox. Enter the number that corresponds with the desired artboards. Only the artwork contained in the artboard will be displayed.

Clipping Mask in Illustrator

Select the “Rectangle” tool.

Draw a box around the artboard. Make sure the box is on top of everything.

Click on the “Select” menu. Click “Select All” or “Select all on Active Artboard.”

Click on the “Object” menu. Hover over “Clipping Mask” and select “Make.” Everything outside the rectangle will be hidden; however, the information is still available if you release the clipping mask.

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