I have one document open with three artboards and I want each artboard to have its own separate layers.

Should I just create separate layers for each artboard in the layers panel, i.e

  • Artboard 1 Layer 1
  • Artboard 1 layer 2
  • Artboard 2 Layer 1

...or is there a more sane way to go about this?

Each layer is named the name of the artboard, but if I have multiple layers in one artboard - this won't work:

enter image description here

  • Why do you want each artboard on its own layer? If it's to achieve something else, there may be a way to achieve that without this step.
    – Luke
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 3:31
  • You can have layers inside layers
    – joojaa
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 6:37
  • I'm just starting out learning Ai so it's more of a question to understand how Ai works overall. Thank you. Commented May 2, 2018 at 1:15
  • 1
    Drive all your work from the layers panel. Name the top-level layers as you would organize your output or target size file (e.g. Postcard, Flyer, Poster), then sync these names with the artboards (same names, but define the correct sizes for each). Then manually manage your work using the layers panel. Artboards are currently very weak in Illustrator CC 2019 so don't rely on them for anything more than a visual placeholder for your layers and for output size definitions.
    – carrabino
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 14:01

2 Answers 2


In Adobe Illustrator you cannot bind Layers to specific Artboard. You should manualy select some layer first before drawing something on specific artboard. To select specific layer you should open Layer Panel and manually select this layer. To simplify this annoying switching between layers, you can do the following:

  • Create new ai document.
  • Create e.g. 3 Artboards and 3 Layers, suppose we want bind Layer1 to Artboard1 etc.
  • Open Layer Panel (F7) and select Layer1
  • Select Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a rectangle1 over Artboard1 with the same size and position as Artboard layout.
  • repeat previous step for Layer2-Artboard2 and Layer3-Artboard3. Now we have one rectangle on each layer. Next time you want draw something in e.g. Layer1-Artboard1, just select corresponding rectangle first (use Selection Tool (V) for this no need to open Layer Panel), this will cause the Layer1 on which the rectangle is located to be selected and the subsequent drawing will take place on this layer.

You can save this layout as a template (File->Save As Template) and then create new document with this layouts (File->New From Template)

  • Object > Unlock all
  • Object > Show all
  • Direct Selection Tool (White arrow)
  • Drag a marquee around one artboard
  • Edit > Cut
  • Create New Layer
  • Edit > Paste in Front/Back/Place

Repeat for each artboard.

And overall, this is something to consider during construction of multiple artboard documents. As far as I'm aware, there's not really an efficient way to ensure all objects for Artboard X are on their own layer unless you plan ahead.

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