Is there a way to change the colour of this gray area? I would like it to be white. I like to use this area as a mood board, so it helps if I am working with the same background colour.

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8 Answers 8


Another alternative where you can switch in and out of it being white or grey (e.g. if you want to focus on your work, then focus on the mood board items around it):

Turn on Overprint Preview (View > Overprint Preview).

This turns the background white - then, it reverts to the default when you turn it off. Slightly more convenient for toggling than preferences.

Overprint Preview is also used if you have overprinting settings and you want to preview them, but if you're using overprinting, you probably already know about that... If you've not set anything to overprint, it makes for a handy way to easy switch in and out of having a white background.


You can change it in the settings:

Cmd + K ( ctrl + k in windows ) and in there the User interface tab.

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Also if you find the periphery suddenly goes white and Overprint Preview isn't the culprit, check View > Show Artboards


Try (ctrl + shift + H) it turns everything outside the artboard white. It worked with me in illustrator cs6 and cc.

  • How do you reverse this? Is it ctrl + shirt+ something?
    – Chris
    Dec 7, 2021 at 17:52

Try to "Hide Artboards". Your artboards won't disappear but you won't be disturbed by their edges and the background will be white. It's in the "View" menu between "Hide Edges" and "Show Print Tiling".


Sometimes the separations preview can affect the background also Window>Separations Preview. Turn on and off the check box. It's actually great way of checking your artwork for spot colours etc as well.


Know this post is old, but I arrived here just today. The gray area outside my artboards suddenly went white and I needed to rectify that!

Anyway, press (Shift + O) which opens the artboard editor. Top toolbar click "Artboard Options" icon, then check off "Fade region outside artboard" under the (Global) settings. Fade region outside artboard


Go to View > Pixel Preview! BG gets changed from white to gray again.


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