How to Make Adobe Illustrator Change an Artboard to Transparent

Updated April 17, 2017

Adobe Systems introduced the concept of multiple Adobe Illustrator artboards in Illustrator CS4, replacing previous versions' use of the Crop Area tool with crop-specific work areas that offer page-like functionality. Adobe Illustrator CS5 continues the multiple-artboard concept, adding the ability to set global or artboard-specific rulers. If you're an Illustrator user whose history with the program goes back a few versions, you may wonder whether Illustrator CS5 retains the ability to hide artboard outlines when they become a distraction. If you're familiar with Adobe Photoshop, you may wish that Illustrator offered Photoshop's transparency grid to help you identify non-opaque artwork. In both cases, Adobe Illustrator CS5 meets your needs.

Launch Adobe Illustrator CS5. Choose Open from the File menu and navigate to the location of the file you want to edit. Double-click on the file name or click once to select it and then click on the Open button.

Choose Hide Artboards from the View menu. Your artboards disappear, leaving your view of your artwork unobstructed.

Make your artboards visible again by choosing Show Artboards from the View menu. This command's name toggles to reflect whether artboards are visible or hidden.

Launch Adobe Illustrator CS5. Choose New from the File menu and select the Video and Film profile from the New Document Profile list.

Set your Transparency Grid options while you're creating your new file, including grid size and colours. You can change these preferences later if your needs evolve. Click the New button when you've finished specifying file options.

Hide or show the transparency grid by choosing Hide Transparency Grid or Show Transparency Grid from Adobe Illustrator's View menu. This command's name toggles to reflect whether artboards are visible or hidden. To change the options for your transparency grid, choose Document Setup from the File menu.


If you need to use a transparency grid in a document that wasn't created using the Video and Film profile, copy your artwork to the clipboard, create a new document that uses the profile and paste your artwork in. Alternatively, you can drag and drop artwork from your existing to your new file.


If you're unfamiliar with the ways in which transparency must be flattened to create files that can function as placed graphics in other programs, take the time to read the Adobe Illustrator documentation and learn how to set and preview the effects of flattening on your artwork.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Mott has been a writer since 1983. Mott has extensive experience writing advertising copy for everything from kitchen appliances and financial services to education and tourism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Indiana State University.