I have created somewhat of a world map of my own (for Dungeons & Dragons reasons) in Illustrator so that I can have a master document of the world at large and would now like to take a smaller part of the bigger map to create a more detailed section of it.

Is there a way to crop the paths I have created for the landmasses to the size of a smaller Artboard while keeping the paths and layers intact? I would like to basically take everything inside the Artboard (the black outline in the screenshot I provided) and discard everything around it while preserving the separate paths and layer structure as far as possible so I can scale and edit everything inside the Artboard.

enter image description here

The entire document is a bit too large to be scaled up entirely just for the small part that I want, my PC would certainly not handle that very well. I have so far tried to create a rectangle the size of my desired Artboard and creating a Clipping Mask for it as well as using the Pathfinder tool to crop or intersect etc. but all those leave me without control over my original layers.

Is there a way to do what I am looking for and being left with only the parts of the paths inside my desired Artboard? I would very much like to be able to continue working with paths rather than rasterizing the part I need.

Best regards, Panicmode

Edit: I have in the meantime, using some of the very useful tips Kyle has provided, found a way to mostly achieve what I was looking for. Copying the layers while preserving the layer structure I have used the Eraser Tool to erase around my new Artboard, which keeps the paths inside the Artboard intact. Everything not needed outside the Artboard can then simply be erased. I wish there was a simpler way to achieve this same result, but so far I have not found a way.

This is what it looks like after erasing around my artboard: Erasing around artboard

And after deleting everything unneeded (the black lines are artboards for different map areas I was thinking about using): Deleting unnecessary paths

2 Answers 2


If I understand your intent properly-

  1. Create a new Artboard at your desired size
  2. Select All your original objects
  3. Edit> Copy
  4. Click on the new artboard
  5. Edit> Paste in Place and position and resize the artwork as you like on the Artboard
  6. Draw a rectangle with no stroke and no fill the size of your new Artboard
  7. Select all the Artwork on your new Artboard and the Rectangle
  8. Go to Window> Pathfinder and select Crop (third from the right on the bottom row)

This will Crop the artwork to your rectangle and create a Group of the objects. Simply go to Object> Ungroup to release the different objects so you can manipulate them individually.

  • Hey, thank you for the fast answer. You did understand my intention correctly indeed and so far this seems to be the best way to do this. Unfortunately this method does not preserve my original layers either. I have each height, i.e. each color on a separate layer as well as a layer above that where I want to denote climate zones. If I copy and crop everything I want in one go then after ungrouping everything gets thrown into the same layer and everything covered up cut away from the cropping. I was hoping there was a way to do this without losing the original paths and layer grouping. Apr 18, 2021 at 11:07
  • As an additional note, I realise that I could copy and crop each layer separately onto the second artboard, but as a result of my workflow I have upwards of 20 layers which I would have to work on individually since I don't know a way of copying layers while preserving the grouping and structure of it. Apr 18, 2021 at 11:18

To maintain your layer/ grouping structure you can use the Layers Panel itself to copy your objects. First off I would put all your "original" layers in a parent layer and call it Originals. Create a new Layer and call it Crop (or whatever). Select each of your "components" by holding the shift key and alt/ option click and drag them to the "Crop" layer. This will copy all your originals onto the Crop layer. Lock the Original layer. Then you can select the copied objects and move them to the desired artboard You can scale or modify however you want the objects in this new Crop layer.

Added bonus- if you go to View> Trim View it will make only the art on the artboard show. All the objects will be there in full size so you can manipulate/ modify them but they will not be seen beyond the artboard bounds.

enter image description here

  • This is very useful to know! Using this way to copy my layers I have found a roundabout way of achieving what I was looking for using the Eraser Tool of all things. After copying all my layers I was able to select my artwork and erase around my second artboard. This basically "cuts" my artwork at the edges while preserving all my needed paths. I can then select all the paths I dont need and delete them and be left with just the parts I want to keep. Since I have a very large document it was unwieldy to keep everything around I did not need. Thank you for these helpful tips :) Apr 29, 2021 at 12:26

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