I have placed an image about 1000px*800px into Illstrator and I mask it with a box of 500px*500px now the content boundaries of the image is annoying me when positioning it with smart guide or with the align tool. it always align and keep track to the bigger content which is hidden or masked not the small mask.

my question is: how to get rid of the edges of the content without turning the global edges off?

For example: in the screen shot below I have masked a raster image with grime symbol. but as you can see, Illustrator is considering the dimensions of the masked raster image while ignoring the mask boundaries which I need its exact dimension to relocate it into my design, I mean when I use the alignment tools for example to center the masked image, it will align to the raster image not the mask.

  • What version of Illustrator are you using? AS of CS5 clipping masks hide extra content for the most part. Are you using an Opacity Mask?
    – Scott
    Dec 21, 2014 at 7:25
  • In home I am use Illustrator CS6 and in my office I am using Illustrator CC 2014, the both version have the same problem. and yes I am using the opacity mask so I can make some gradients. this problem is barely didn't appears while I use Past inside. the both methods have advantage and disadvantages. I prefer doing masks with transparency.
    – hsawires
    Dec 21, 2014 at 7:31
  • Opacity masks are different. Are you using a raster images as your mask or is your mask vector as well?
    – Scott
    Dec 21, 2014 at 7:36
  • Raster image masked by a vector one, please find a picture i update my question with.
    – hsawires
    Dec 21, 2014 at 7:41

2 Answers 2


You should use clipping masks since version CS5 they efectively clip the artwork so that alignment etc is posible and based on the dimensions of the mask.

This does not work that way with opacity masks

I would suggest to first clip your raster image with a clipping mask and then apply the opacity mask with the effects you need

making the clipping mask... centering takes only the masked area into account


Crop the image in Photoshop down to the appropriate size (500px x 500px) and place that into your Illustrator artwork.

  • I should also note that you should save this cropped image as a separate version just in case you need to go back to the original image for whatever reason.
    – bemdesign
    Dec 20, 2014 at 20:55
  • Thank you for your reply, but actually it is not what I am expected from Illustrator. or else why we use masking tools in Illustrator from the first place, if each make we can crop it in photoshop? - Thanks anyway.
    – hsawires
    Dec 20, 2014 at 21:16
  • Well the size of an object in illustrator includes even the parts being masked (as you've seen). That's just the way Illustrator works. The only way to remove that "excess" size, is to remove it from the image before it's even inside of Illustrator. Thus my answer.
    – bemdesign
    Dec 20, 2014 at 21:38
  • @hsawires supprising or no this is how illustrator behaves. It has no cropping functionality. This is one of those really supprising things, even clipping masks used to have the same unexoected behaviour (if you think about how illustrator works then yoid understand that this is not so supprising. After all)
    – joojaa
    Jan 5, 2015 at 14:44
  • after all your feedback and after some researches I think I have a solution and I am preparing it.
    – hsawires
    Jan 5, 2015 at 15:05

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