15 Feb 2017

Illustrator: How to automatically re-arrange artboards


So, you’ve created some artboards in your Illustrator, but they are all over the place? Here is a quick tip on how to automatically re-arrange artboards. Get to your computer now and I’ll show you how to do it.

Before you Start
When to Use:
  • Arrange equal sized artboards in a grid
  • Great for icons, interface elements, font letter artboards
  • Great for multi-page designs: Brochures, Posters, Flyers
When NOT to Use:
  • Unequal varying artboards won’t always look good in a grid
  • When you are overlapping artboards
  • You have artboards inside of other artboards

The Steps

1. Open your Illustrator graphic file

Open your Illustrator file with the scattered artboards, or create a new one with multiple artboards just for practise. If you don’t know how to create artboard, use the Artboard Tool SHIFT-O and draw the artboard with the cursor, OR, you can copy an existing artboard by OPTION dragging to a new location.

It should look something like this when you start:

Artboards Arrange Before

2. Arrange the artboards in the correct order

Illustrator is going to use some kind of internal order for this arrange/sort process, so let’s get that done first. If you don’t already have the Artboards panel open, enable it from the menu WINDOW | ARTBOARDS.

NOTE: Illustrator will disable this menu option until you have multiple artboards in the document.


Artboards Arrange Panel

You can sort the artboards by dragging them up/down to re-arrange the ordering.

3. Open the Artboard Re-arrange menu option

Activate the menu option with nothing selected, then going to OBJECTARTBOARDS | RE-ARRANGE

Illustrator then shows a dialog box with some settings. Here you can make changes to the direction in which the grid is created.

  • Grid by Row
  • Grid by Column
  • Arrange by Row
  • Arrange by Column
  • There is also a toggle to Change to Right-to-Left Layout mode, which reverses all the icon directions

You can choose how many columns you need, rows are created automatically. Then add in the spacing between artboards. Finally, you can select the option to move your existing artwork with the artboard (default).

Artboards Arrange Dialog


4. See the Result

Once you click OK on the dialog above, Illustrator will do the magic of the re-arrange. Don’t worry, if it didn’t go as planned, you can always just UNDO.

This is the final result:

Artboards Arrange After

End Note

I hope that you enjoyed getting the hang of automatically re-arranging artboards in Illustrator. Keep checking back for more Guides, Tips and Tutorials.

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  1. It was wonderful, I did what you shared, it made me quite surprised to find out the result was created.

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