Crop in Illustrator like in Photoshop?
October 25, 2006 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Is there an easy way to crop a rectangular portion of an Illustrator (CS, CS2) document?

Basically, I want to select a rectangular -- or arbitrary, for that matter -- area of an .ai file, remove everything outside that area, and shrink the artboard area (file dimensions) down to what remains. The process I've been using so far involves Photoshop and is destructive since it rasterizes the image. This is OK for now since my destination is the web, but I'd like to know if there's a quick way to accomplish this without rasterizing.

I assumed you could just draw a rectangle or shape on top of the image and have its boundaries slice any paths it encountered, allowing you to then select and delete anything in the outlying area, but I wasn't able to get anywhere with that approach. Did I miss something obvious?
posted by pmbuko to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Try playing around with some of the functions on the pathfinder palette... you might need to group all of the underlying objects and then draw your rectangle over top, select all and use the "crop" function. as for resizing the artboard... i think you would have to do that manually in the document setup.
posted by cusack at 8:21 AM on October 25, 2006

Illustrator is so hard for simple things like this!! I've had to do the same thing, and this is how I ended up doing it:
Use the scalpel-cutty-thing tool (next to the scissors and above the hand in the menu - obviously I am using all the proper Illustrator terms!) to select the area. Then go to Object -> Crop area -> make and then if you do file -> save for web it will only have that area. It's still not convenient, but you won't need to also open Photoshop.

Now I'll wait for Illustrator professionals to explain how wrong my method is.
posted by easternblot at 8:28 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Sometimes the crop messes with your strokes/fills. If you want to preserve integrity of original if it's complicated art, you could also make a clipping mask with the overlying rectangle.
posted by lovejones at 8:29 AM on October 25, 2006

A clipping mask is the quickest and least destructive method to accomplish this. Draw a rectangle that you want to be your cropped area, place it over the artwork, make sure it's the top-most object, select all and create a clipping mask (Command-7 on the Mac, and I assume Control-7 on a PC)
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:36 AM on October 25, 2006

Yep, clipping mask. Sometimes I get insanely picky about the wireframe and will use an extra half hour to do it via pathfinding, but for most outputs a clipping mask is fine.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:22 AM on October 25, 2006

Thirding the clipping path. You may have to group the art you're going to clip first to insure that your art stays stacked in the order you want it.
posted by lekvar at 12:56 PM on October 25, 2006

Use the snapshot tool in the Adobe Reader, or the Copy Region tool in Hypersnap.
posted by megatherium at 7:48 PM on October 25, 2006

Thanks! Clipping Mask it is.
posted by pmbuko at 2:10 PM on October 26, 2006

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