Is it possible to print only the outline preview (View > Preview) of an artboard? Taking a screenshot and printing is not an option for me.

  • Why is taking a screenshot not an option? Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 19:58
  • Because if the page's height does not fit into my screen, I can't take a screenshot of the whole page. I know I can take multiple screenshots and then stitch them together but if there is a way to print the preview version, would save me a lot of work.
    – matte
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 20:18
  • Well, my own Google research suggests that there isn't a way other than doing a screenshot, but I know that there are screen grab utilities out there that can capture a window that extends beyond the edge of your screen. So in theory, you should be able to just expand Illustrator to be big enough to show the entire image and do a screen grab that way. Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 20:40

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately no. I've submitted a few feature requests to have the ability to actually use the Outline Mode in various ways - save it for web, print it. But currently Illustrator offers no abilities to actually export, print, or save the Outline Mode.

A screenshot is your only way.

What I've done in the past is save a copy of the file, Select all. Then apply a .75pt black stroke and no fill to everything. This comes close to mimicking the Outline Mode. But you may need to alter masks afterwards to remove the strokes. And some Effects may need to be removed.

  • .75pt black stroke is a good trick, thanks Scott.
    – matte
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 12:02

After long Googling I also had to conclude that exporting the outline is not an option. I did work out another method where you take a screenshot, do a live trace of that screenshot and then change the stroke weight to your liking.

In contrast to Scott's method, this approach preserves the gradient mesh outline. It worked for me, but because of the live trace you lose a bit of the sharp edges which might be a problem.

I have included an example of my approach below so you can judge for yourself.

First I have this circle with a gradient mesh applied: enter image description here

It looks as follows in the outline view:
enter image description here

Now importing this screenshot in Illustrator gives me the following image: enter image description here

As you can see it's a bit blocky and doesn't look very good.

Clicking the image and doing a live trace with the following options (adapt to suite your image): enter image description here gives me this result: enter image description here

Expanding it (Object -> Live Trace -> Expand) makes a group of paths of the traced image. Selecting all these paths and setting the stroke weight to 0.5pt gives the following vector image: enter image description here

I have added a scaled version as well to show that no quality is lost in scaling.

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