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So I'm trying to set up templates for other designers to use to adhere to design guidelines, and I want to know if there is any way to specify objects in illustrator and photoshop that do not show up when the image is exported or printed. I know it is possible to make non-printing objects in photoshop, however I would like the objects not to show up when using save for web or exporting a pdf/eps also.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted


  1. Create a new layer
  2. Add stuff to layer you want visible, but not exported
  3. Go to View > Guides > Make Guides

This outlines everything in a new color, locks the layer, and doesn't save for web or export.

Photoshop: There isn't anything like the guide layer in Photoshop. However, you can add notes:

  1. Click and hold on Eyedropper tool to expand sub-menu.
  2. Select Note Tool
  3. Click on screen and enter a note.
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The fact that non-printing items export for web is a bug in my opinion. I'm not aware of any way around it.

I isolate anything extra on a dedicated layer(s). I've had very little trouble with the approach using a distributed team of designers.

Standard UI items, color palettes, brand elements, grids, notes, whatever, it's all there. I tag the layer "extras" with sublayers for different categories of items, when appropriate. When some items need to be below the main art, I just create another layer called "extras-SomethingOrOther".

The trick is to get designers used to looking for the extras layer(s) when they open a file. They should check there first for any instructions or guidelines, then deactivate it when they have things set-up properly. Usually the layer has so much on it that it's easy to remember to deactivate it.

The thing I like about this isolated layer approach is that I don't have to worry about required elements accidentally ending up with a "no print" attribute.

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Illustrator has multiple options for layers: lock, non-printng.

You can display the following dialog by double-clicking on the layer:

Photoshop does not have the non-printing option, you can only lock layers.

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