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I'm working on a design that's to be printed. The size of the item is 1/3 of a standard letter page. I would like to be able to work on it in Illustrator only once without the copy and paste at the end. It's very tedious to make any kind of change.

Moreover, the printed result has to be multisided so ideally I would like to use two artboards (one front, one back).

Is this something that is possible to do in Illustrator: print one artboard several times on a page and multisided?

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  • You can create a 4th artboard which encompasses the other three - then simply print artboard 4
  • Often, you can set your printer to print multiple pages on one sheet via the print dialog box.

With this in mind, if you expect the duplex (2-sided) prints to line up to one another using an end user/home/office printer, you're going to be terribly disappointed.

Rereading your question, it sounds like you might benefit greatly from Symbols and using 3 instances of the same Symbol. With this, you only need to edit the symbol to see all instances of that symbol update - 1 edit, multiple copies basically.

You can also create 1 master .ai file. Save it. Then open another .ai file and place the master .ai file in the second file as a link. Edit the original, then open the second and the links should update. (InDesign is a bit better for this but works very similar)

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Some of my templates are set up like this, and I use the exact same setup that Scott described. I really dislike working with Symbols though (the editing interface has room for improvement) so I avoid them when I can.

In your case, here is how I would build the template: have a master artboard for the page size then "sub"-artboards for each panel. Then have a master layer for all the art and a sub-layer for each panel. To repeat the artwork use a Transform effect on the master layer (to make copies and move vertically). Here's how it would look:

Illustrator screenshot

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This is a little late, but it might help other people. I don't think illustrator easily supports doing this, unfortunately, but there are workarounds. The way I would go about doing this, is to create your artwork on multiple artboards of the size you want (1/3 of a page, in your case). Then when you're ready to print, save a copy of your file as a multi-page pdf. If you want crop marks or other printing marks around each artboard you can select that in the save to pdf dialog that pops up.

Then, create two new artboards for the front and back of your printed page. Place the pages from the pdf you just saved (ctrl+shift+p, make sure you check the "show import options" box) on the new artboards in the arrangement you want. You can then print from illustrator at this point, or you can save your printing artboards as a pdf, and then print from a pdf viewer with more printing options.

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All you really have to do is select "Ignore artboards" when your print window comes up.

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