How to Outline Artwork in Adobe Illustrator CS3

Written by eric brown
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Outline Artwork in Adobe Illustrator CS3
The Live Trace tool in Illustrator CS3 assists with outlining artwork. ( Images)

Outlining artwork in any graphics program has been possible for sometime now, but it frequently meant using a pen tool or other tool and manually outlining it click-by-click. In Adobe Illustrator CS3 you can outline artwork using the Live Trace tool. The Live Trace tool, originally part of Illustrator CS2, allows you to outline your artwork in a variety of ways without having to manually outline it. Adobe Illustrator CS3 also offers the Live Paint tool for colouring in outlined artwork.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Scan your artwork to your computer. This process will vary based on your scanner. Your scanned image needs to be compatible with Illustrator such as EPS, JPEG, PSD or PDF.

  2. 2

    Right-click the scanned artwork on your computer. Select "Open With ..." and "Adobe Illustrator CS3."

  3. 3

    Click "Object" from the top menu bar. Select "Live Trace" and click "Tracing Options."

  4. 4

    Set the "Mode" to "Black and White."

  5. 5

    Check the box next to "Fills." If the box next to "Strokes" is checked, uncheck it.

  6. 6

    Check the "Preview" box on the far right.

  7. 7

    Set "Raster" to "No Image" and "Vector" to "Outlines."

  8. 8

    Adjust Threshold, Blur, Stroke Weight and Length, Path Fitting, Area and Corner Angle as necessary until you are pleased with the image outline.

  9. 9

    Click the "Trace" button on the right. Wait for the tracing to complete.

  10. 10

    Save your outlined artwork and close Illustrator.

Tips and warnings

  • Use Live Paint to colour your outlined artwork.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.