How To: Setting Up AI Files for Mobile Design and Creating Customized Workspaces

Are you new to Adobe Illustrator? Not sure how to set up your design files for web and screen display? Or are you interested in learning how to set up a customized workspace? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, this article will give you the information you need to know in order to correctly set up and create your Illustrator files.

Setting Up a New File

When creating a document in Adobe Illustrator, there are certain presets that you can use for web, and certain presets you can use for specific mobile devices. First, open Adobe Illustrator and then follow the steps below:

1. Select File > New
2. Add a name for your document
3. Select either Web or Devices from the Profile drop down
4. If you selected Web, you have the option to choose from the five different size presets displayed below:new-web-doc5. If you selected Devices, you have the option to choose from the following presets: iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, Fire, Fire HD, Fire HD 8.9”, Nook HD, and Galaxy S III. (Keep in mind that for every device mentioned above, with the exception of the Fire, all of the dimensions represent retina display sizes. This means everything you will be designing will actually be twice the actual size of the object, since retina display uses two pixels for every one regular pixel.)

6. Change the number of artboards from 1 to 20. (When designing for web or for specific devices, you will most likely have several screens to account for. Since this is usually the case, I always suggest on changing the number of artboards from 1 to 20 to start off with – if you do not end up utilizing all of the artboards, you can always delete them later on.)

Now that you have named your document, selected the profile, size, and number of artboards, you can leave all of the other default settings as is and begin working inside of your new document. And most importantly, be sure to always save often!

Creating your Illustrator Workspace

When working inside of Adobe Illustrator, it is very important to set up your workspace properly. A workspace consists of an application bar, a document window, and panels, such as the tools panel and the control panel. So why is it important to set up a proper workspace? Well, it’s important because it allows you to:

• Increase efficiency
• Improve productivity
• Reduce wasted time

If you create a workspace which best suits your own needs, you will have quick access to the tools and features you use the most. To create your own customized workspace, simply add and/or remove features to the vertical dock panel on the right side of the application frame. To add features to the vertical dock panel, simply follow the steps below:

1. Select Window > Title of Feature, ex: Align (If there is a checkmark next to the title of the feature in the Window drop down menu that means it has been added already.)

2. Hover over the title of the panel and drag it into the vertical dock. (You should see a blue outline appear on top of the panel title bar as you are dragging the feature on top of the existing panels.)

3. Rearrange the panels to your liking.


Default Illustrator Workspace
A. Tabbed Document Windows B. Application Bar C. Workspace Switcher D. Panel Title Bar E. Control Panel F. Tools Panel G. Collapse To Icons button H. Vertical Dock

To remove a feature from your vertical dock:

1. Hover over the title of the panel and drag the panel out of the dock.
2. Click the ‘x’ icon in the top left hand corner of the panel.

Once you have added, removed, and rearranged your desired features, it’s time to save the workspace.

To save the workspace:

1. Click the dropdown arrow inside of the Workspace Switcher at the top of the application frame.
2. Select ‘New Workspace’.
3. Add a name for your workspace and select ‘OK’.

Voila! Your new customized workspace has been saved and will now be displayed by default whenever you open up Adobe Illustrator.

Now that understand how to set up files for web and devices and also know how to create a customized workspace, your workflow should be much smoother. When setting up your files, it is vital to create them correctly from the start so that you can prevent re-working. Additionally, creating a customized workspace will allow you to have quick access to the tools that you use the most, therefore increasing productivity and reducing headaches.


Written by Kathryn

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