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I want to change the order of my artboards when exported to PDF, and the only way i can achieve this is by moving actual artwork from one artboard to another, which doesn't seem right. Is there any way to change the artboard number in Illustrator?

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Open the Artboards panel and drag the artboard to the desired spot, but be aware this will not change the actual position of the artboad in your Illustrator workspace.

As you can see in the image below, the number on the left is the actual order and on the right you have the artboard name, that by default is "Artboard 1, 2 etc." But it has nothing to do with it's actual position, only the number on the left sets that.

Artboards panel

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Another option for ones that like to template their workflow is you can create a script and target the artboard, for example something like:

AppleScript

set theArtboard to get name of artboard in current document

JavaScript

var theDoc = app.activeDocument;
var artboard = theDoc.artboards.getByName(name);

If you template the name you can adjust the order in a loop. If you don't know the name or didn't rename them you could examine the index (AppleScript) or getActiveArtboardIndex() (JavaScript) and sort that way. Reference Illustrator documentation.

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