Is there a way to handle views in Illustrator like "Layer Comps" in Photoshop?

For me it's important that I can export all those views e.g. as jpg/png/pdf (like Photoshop script "Layer Comps to Files").

I know Views and Artboards but I think it's not exactly what I'm looking for.

5 Answers 5


There's really no need to use layer comps in Illustrator. Illustrator and Fireworks and InDesign support symbols. So you can simply save your different visual components as symbols and mix and match them in different artboards without increasing disk usage.

If you're using comps to mockup different UI states or pages, then just:

  1. Create a base template containing common header/footer/BG elements.
  2. Create a symbol library of all your UI components (including the header/footer/BG elements).
  3. Mock up different pages in different artboards.

If you're using comps to mockup different design variations, then just duplicate artboards and create/duplicate symbols as you go. You can have 20 different versions of a design and still only increase the file size by 50~100% if most of the designs use shared symbols. Though to get the best effect, you'll want to separate simple fills from outlines so that you can re-use an outline symbol and just drop in different color fills to get different variations.

You'll need to adapt your workflow slightly, but it shouldn't be that difficult.


If you go to View > New View... You can save the layer visibility, which works just like Photoshop's comps.

Go to View > "Name of View (At the bottom of the view menu), to recall your saved view.

The only downside is that it only works for top level layers, which limits it usefulness on larger documents....


Not that I'm aware of.

You can export each artboard as an independent file, but that still requires duplication of items on artboards or the use of symbols. And, yes, probably not what you are looking for.

I believe to accomplish something like this, you'd have to construct your layers accordingly, then use a script to walk through layer visibility and export.


Although a workaround (and perhaps not ideal): if you have the full Creative Suite you can place your Illustrator file in an InDesign document and use Object –> Object Layer Options… to show/hide a sort of layer comp for each instance of the placed file.

As @Scott mentioned above, it does require some layer wrangling but on the upside you can just head over to your InDesign document, let the links update and have a new set of "layer comps" without having to manually change the visibility of layers.

Be sure to check the option for "Keep Layer Visibility Overrides".


You an use Views > New Views to create a pseudo-layer comps, because those custom views (for sure, I am using CS6 version) are not just remembering the viewing area and size, but it, accidentally, remember the layer on/off behaviours, too. So, combining with customised shortcuts, you can have a layer comps switchable using keyboard shortcuts instantly.

At first I found this so-called bug annoying, but later I can see it is such feature.


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