It is practically impossible to edit a white illustration on the default white artboard background.

Hiding the artboard makes the whole work area receive the artboard's white color.

So, is there a way to change the color of the artboard in Illustrator CC?

  • I would also like to know if there's a way to do this. In the meantime what I do is make a rectangle or square shape that covers the artboard's dimensions, fill with the colour I want for background and lock it so I can work over it. – Alis Klar May 11 '14 at 12:31
  • Change your Grid preferences to have black gridlines every 1 pixel. It's not perfect but it works. – Simon Woodside Nov 8 '15 at 5:43

The easiest way to see white artwork in Illustrator is by opening the View Menu and selecting Show Transparency Grid. This gives your white artwork something to contrast with. You can adjust the color of the grid by going to 'File → Document Setup'.

| improve this answer | |
  • 4
    This is it! After about two years, this is the one answer that seems to actually work. For anybody reading, note that you can set the both grid colors, so picking, for example, grey and grey checkers will give you a solid grey background when turning transparency grid on. Bravo! – kontur Feb 7 '16 at 12:09
  • 2
    This works great, but just for the record - it's total C R A P that Adobe doesn't give us an explicit way to do this - that doesn't involve changing these types or settings or an extra layer. It would probably take them 15 minutes to program this option. – sheriffderek Nov 28 '16 at 22:43

You can "tweak" the artboard color by this way:

Select File->Document Setup...

On the popup window you will have Transparency sub-menu:

enter image description here

Choose the upper color (I set it to rose) and Mark "Simulate Colored Paper" -

You will get this image -

enter image description here

There is no any other layers except of text ones...

| improve this answer | |
  • 7
    Unfortunately, that doesn't help with this question, which is how to make white visible. White text will disappear against the artboard, regardless of its color. – Alan Gilbertson May 11 '14 at 20:28
  • 2
    No, Alan, the question is "Is there a way to change the color of the artboard in Illustrator CC?" It's in bold. You can read it for yourself. White is used as an example. And White is not white. There's CMYK white (absence of ink) and HSB and RGB White (Additive Blended Light becomes white). In the case of HSB and RGB, they'll be clearly visible on a coloured artBoard. But Adobe doesn't provide this because they're... lazy? – Confused May 12 '14 at 9:07
  • 1
    Thanks for the answer. This is pretty nifty otherwise, but as mentioned I have a problem editing white vectors, so this approach does not remedy that. – kontur May 12 '14 at 11:16
  • 7
    This may have been obvious to others, but the help I needed was both the above, and the information to go to "View->Turn On Transparency Grid" -- then, you can darken the transparency grid with the above and white becomes evident enough to work with. – AC Capehart Oct 20 '14 at 17:38
  • 1
    Personally, when working with white objects and transparency I'll use the transparency grid rather than simulating colored paper (maybe add a bit about how to enable the transparency grid?). Good answer. – justin Nov 6 '14 at 19:27

There's no simple way that I know of.

You can, however, create a rectangle of the same dimensions as the artboard, change its colour to one that works better, move it to the back (Command/Control+Shift+[) - or even to a lower layer and make the layer a template layer, so that it isn't included in the export.

It's not a perfect solution, I know, but it works for me.

| improve this answer | |
  • Surprisingly, "Arrange > Send to Back" didn't work for me. I needed to go to "Window > Layers" and then drag a layer down manually. – Ryan Jan 6 '18 at 3:09
  • This worked fine--except for a bug in Illustrator where template layers still export for PNG files! – Scribblemacher Jun 3 '19 at 11:57

The short answer is no, you can't, but there is a reason for that which becomes apparent the moment you look at a CMYK "white" swatch. It's 0% everything: no ink.

White, to Illustrator, is not a color or a mixture of colors, it is an absence of ink. Even if you're working with an RGB document, that's still the way Illustrator thinks about color: white = absence.

When setting a layout to be printed with white pigment, such as for screen printing on clothing, or product labels that are printed directly onto glass or plastic, the artwork is usually submitted as black or a faux spot color with instructions to print using white. It's similar to the way that spot varnish is specified on a layout. The important thing is that it will separate on its own plate, not what color it appears to be on the screen.

That's why ilan's solution won't work for you. If you simulate colored paper, then anything white will still disappear, because that's how Illustrator shows you that the paper will show through -- there's no pigment.

Your two solutions are to put a colored rectangle on a non-printing layer beneath your artwork, or temporarily change all your white fills or strokes to something visible for editing purposes, then change it back when you're ready to save.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    The parts here about color handling aren't quite correct. Illustrator isn't a print-specific product and will define and treat white as a color (see the behavior during an export to .png). The mapping of white to "paper color" is typically handled in pre-press (via InDesign or similar). The CMYK white swatch is 0%, yes, but that is only because of how the CMYK colorspace works. – justin Nov 6 '14 at 19:04
  • To add to Alan's answer, if you also set the non-printing background layer to "Template" then if you "Save for Web" it won't include it in the export. – Dan May 12 '15 at 12:39
  • 3
    Yes but Illustrator isn't only used for printing. You can use it also to create assets for animations or graphics for a computer game. – Jannik Pitt Nov 14 '16 at 21:14

I think the best solution to work with white artwork/artwork that doesn't contrast well is to create a separate layer and add a fill.

Then double-click the layer in the Layers Panel and uncheck the "Print" checkbox. This allows you to edit the artwork whenever you need and that layer will NEVER print.

You can place it in another document in any Adobe software and it will not show layers with print unchecked.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    This was enlightening, but when creating SVG for web use, the 'print' option doesn't leave out that part of the SVG in the code. – sheriffderek Sep 25 '16 at 19:40

Just create a box the size you need in pixels the color you want in Illustrator and put it behind your logo and save that and you should get what you need.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Which makes object selection hell.. – geotheory Feb 20 '15 at 14:51
  • 6
    Throw it on the bottom layer and lock it up? – sheriffderek Mar 19 '15 at 23:19

Step-1": First create your art-board and set the height width and resolution according to your requirements.

Step-2 then go to FIle > then Click Document setup

enter image description here


Check the button Simulate Colored Paper

enter image description here

and then click on the color from the color chart ( basic color section or color table section) to choose your desired art background color

enter image description here

Then hit ok Then again ok

Here you go enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
  • If anyone stumbles upon this, like I did, and wonders where the color selector is: It is the topmost one in the transparency section (adjacent to "grid size"). I found that to be far from intuitive. – AVLien Jul 8 '19 at 19:50

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.