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Is it possible to drag a rectangle to fit my template? I already have bleed markers in a layer for guides, but I want the general background to look a color other than white.

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    Hi user44431, you can select the Rectangle tool and drag from one corner to the other and arrange as the most bottom layer. What part are you having trouble with? – AndrewH May 27 '15 at 19:32
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    That's no help if you want the rectangle to be 100% perfect fit to the artboard. You can 100% perfectly align a new artboard to an existing rectangle, by clicking on it with the artboard tool, but it's not so easy the other way around. I have this problem often and have a couple of workarounds using smart guides or align window but I'm not really happy with either. Hope this gets a good answer. – user56reinstatemonica8 May 27 '15 at 19:46
  • Thank you. I just don't want to look stupid when the art director asks how I managed to draw outside the lines. I'm more familiar with photoshop. – user44431 May 27 '15 at 20:40
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  • Switch to the Artboard tool (Shift+O)
  • Note the W and H measurements in the Control Panel across the top of the screen
  • Grab the Rectangle Tool and click once on the artboard (just click, no drag)
  • This brings up the Rectangle Options dialog. Input the W and H measurements you noted from the artboard
  • Set the Align panel to Align to Artboard
    enter image description here
  • Click the Center Horizontal and Center Vertical buttons on the Align Panel.
    enter image description here

That will create a rectangle the same size as the artboard then align it to the artboard.As far as I'm aware, this the best you'll get. There's no automated method to create a rectangle at the artboard bounds.

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  • Scott, if I have a 2x2 inch doc and I set the X and Y value to 1 inch, would this make it absolute centered as well? – AndrewH May 27 '15 at 20:45
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    @AndrewH if you have the 9-point origin set for the center of the rectangle, then X/Y at 1 would center it on a 2x2 artboard. It all really depends upon the 9-point setting for the rectangle. If the 9-point origin is set to anything other than the center of the rectangle X/Y of 1 won't work. Aligning is just easier and less prone to errors since it uses object bounds rather than the 9-Point origin setting. – Scott May 27 '15 at 20:58
  • And... with aligning you don't need to do any math to divide the w/h in half to set the XY correctly.... of course, you could set the 9-point origin to the top left then input an X/Y of 0 and that would work. – Scott May 27 '15 at 21:03
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or use this script that draws a rectangle on the active artboard

var idoc = app.activeDocument;
var r = idoc.artboards[idoc.artboards.getActiveArtboardIndex()].artboardRect;
idoc.pathItems.rectangle(r[1], r[0], r[2]-r[0], r[1]-r[3]);
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you can also just click on the art board and then type the dimensions that you want the square to be, then use the align answer that Scott has just told you about.

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