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I am using Adobe Illustrator (CS4). I have a document with artboards of various sizes to place the same image, an icon, on these artboards before exporting. I create the image on the artboard with the largest size before tying to fit it/place it onto the other artboards of smaller size.

I am not aware of many options for doing this. From the comments on this question link to question, there was mention of using the Align to Artboard button, but this did not actually perform any scaling or intelligent placement of both the x/y positioning. The second recommendation was to add a transparent container of some kind to be placed on the first artboard. I created a transparent rectangle on the bottom layer of the artboard where the image is originally created (largest). Then I position the container's left and top borders to align with the rulers of the target artboard of a smaller size. I then go to Object -> Transform -> Scale and select 20%. To my surprise, I see that the objects have not preserved their relative sizes. A star has part of its side outside the transparent container, a circle is closer to another object than previously in terms of relative positioning, two objects touch where they were separated, etc.

What is the cause for this behavior that the scaling is not an exact proportion preserving action? Can this be done? Or is there another method of transferring work on one artboard to another smaller one to be a scaled version?

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Check the Transform Panel with the objects selected. Is Align to Pixel Grid checked? If so uncheck it.

However, if you're creating web images, Align to Pixel Grid is actually a godo thing. It ensures strokes and fills fall exactly on a pixel so you get as little anti-aliasing as possible and often will help smaller images appear much sharper.

Ignore all that. I just realized you're using CS4. Align to Pixel Grid doesn't exists in CS4.

Object > Scale > Transform should work, provided you entered the value in the "uniform" field and hit OK. If you entered a value in Uniform, then hit tab, you moved to the relative fields. I've done this at times. You simply need to enter into Uniform and hit OK... nothing else.

There are also preferences to scale Strokes & Effects. Is this checked? (Preferences > General) This pref can often give you unexpected results when scaling depending on what you want and it's current state.

I would also make certain Snap to Grid and Snap to Point are not checked in the View Menu.

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thanks, the Strokes & Effects is now checked in the Preferences > General and it works fine. I have Snap to Grid checked now as well to help in the manual moving of the scaled image to the artboard border/edge more easily. Is there an easy way for placing the scaled image to the artboard and to fill it? –  Vass Feb 25 '12 at 22:22
    
as well, another question that is simple maybe; if there is a huge screen of low resolution, but it is massive, still the high density images are chosen right? –  Vass Feb 25 '12 at 22:38
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Able to scale artwork to artboard - No. You can scale artboards to artwork, but not artwork to artboard (does that make sense?). I don't really understand the second question. You should probably post that as a new question. –  Scott Feb 25 '12 at 22:50
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