I've divided an artwork into a bunch of artboards and now I need to move the contents of the artboards around, resize them and such. Is this possible?

Whenever I try, it either moves just the artboard boundaries, or if 'Move/Copy Artwork with Artboard' is switched on, it moves everything in the whole artwork, as opposed to what's only in the artboard.

Edit: People have pointed out that you can not do this with the artboard tool, so I'm going to respecify - Is there a way to automatically 'Select' the objects within an artboard?

4 Answers 4


You can select all objects on the current artboard by using Illustrator's scripting facility.

Put the following text into a plain text file, and save it as artboard-select-all.js

var doc = app.activeDocument;

Then, when you want to select all the objects on the active artboard, simply drag the script file onto your illustrator document.

NB 1. By "plain text" I mean use notepad (windows), or TextEdit (mac) with "Make plain text" set.

NB 2. Illustrator 17.1.0 on Mac doesn't seem to redraw the selection after the script executes, but panning the document a little fixes that.

Extra for experts: Put the script file in Illustrator's preset scripts folder to access it easily from the File > Scripts menu.

enter image description here

Even extra for mac users: You can also then apply a keyboard shortcut using System Prefs > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts if you find you use the script a lot.


Why not simply select the items you want to edit with black arrow? Show us a screenshot and describe what exactly you want to do.

For me, your question tells us that you want to edit shape by using the artboard tool...

  • Well yeah, I could do that but it seems like there should be a better way considering I've already selected the sections I want to edit. Do I know need to re-select the areas using another tool?
    – suryanaga
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 12:39

After edit:

No. There is no method to auto-select objects contained within an artboard.

Original Answer:

Sounds as if you are trying to move individual objects with the Artboard tool. That's not what the Artboard Tool is for.

To move objects used the Selection Tool or Direct Selection Tool. The artboard tool is designed to move or adjust artboards and all objects which reside on them (even in the smallest amount) not the individual objects entirely contained within the artboard. Basically, if an object touches an artboard, it will be moved with the artboard if that option is selected.

Artboards are not selections. They are more akin to pages than selections.

The Artboard Tool is for artboards. The Selection Tools are for objects.

  • ok, edited the question to respecify 'Is there a way to automatically select objects within an artboard?'
    – suryanaga
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 12:59

If I understand you correctly, an organized layer palette is your answer. Set up layer groups that mirror the artboards you've set up. Then you can select the whole group in the layers panel when you want to move stuff around.

To illustrate my point, just nest the items of a given artboard logically for easy selection from the layers panel like so:

[ Artboards panel ]
  > YourArtboard

[ Layers panel ]
  > YourArtboardGroup
    >> VectorObject
    >> AnotherVectorObj
    >> PlacedImage
    >> TextArea

Of course, this approach doesn't have to be linked to artboards. You can use groups to flip between states of a view or design options or whatever you chose.

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