I'm trying to remove the application background from Illustrator CC. On the previous version (Illustrator CS5) I didn't have a background. This made it easier to multitask and have various items on my desktop open at once. The app background in CC is solid black. Any way to remove it? I've Googled and looked all over the place, but I can't seem to find the solution. Note, I'm not trying to remove backgrounds from files or from a project artboard. I'm specifically referring to the background that appears even when there is no project open.

Thanks in advance for your help.

  • 3
    Is there an option under the Window menu called Application Frame? Try unchecking that. Sep 30, 2014 at 18:43
  • Try hitting "F" a few times. It goes from windowed to background to full screen. I'm guessing you want it to be windowed. Sep 30, 2014 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


As stated in the comments, it's as easy as going to Window and unchecking Application Frame.

I should mention it's not as comfortable when working in two screens, though (in Mavericks).

  • I actually turn it off and I work on 3 screens. I don't see any issues.
    – Scott
    Sep 30, 2014 at 22:11
  • Hi Scott! That's interesting. Do the toolbars move from screen to screen, or you have them fixed on one screen? I sometimes find it a bit confusing to move the document to "the big screen" to work more comfortably, but not have the rest of the toolbars accompany it. Sep 30, 2014 at 22:38
  • Oh, you mean the app frame ON doesn't work well. Yeah I agree with that. I must have misread your post. I actually hate the app frame and turn it off first thing when installing.
    – Scott
    Sep 30, 2014 at 22:40

I've been hating the application screen for years!!! I am so glad that I finally searched and found this forum. Such an easy fix.

I can confirm that this fix still works in current versions of Illustrator and Photoshop.

In the Illustrator top menu bar, Dropdown the WINDOW tab, and uncheck APPLICATION FRAME. Works the same way in Adobe Photoshop too.

Now I can work with Illustrator Smart Objects in Photoshop and won't have to change applications with keyboard shortcuts when I close and save the Illustrator file. It will automatically update in Photoshop and I can simply click into the .psd file.

  • Welcome to the GDSE! I'm glad you found this useful, however, I have edited your post to make it more relevant instead of redundant.
    – Alith7
    Oct 27, 2020 at 13:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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