My objective is to create a shape which is exactly 5cm in width and 4cm in height.

I start off with a Artboard which is 1000px wide by 1000px in height. I do my drawings in such a way that there is a 5px gab from top, bottom, left and right.

So my drawing is actually 990px wide (1000 - (5+5))X 990px Height (1000 - (5+5)).

Finalizing the drawing, I see that there is some space at the bottom which is empty. So I resize the artboard to 830px in height.

Now my Artboard is 1000px wide and 830px in height while my drawing is 990px wide and 820px in height with 5px on each side (top, bottom, left, right). The drawings is centred both horizontal and vertically relative to the Artboard. All shapes in the drawings are given sizes as per the size of the drawing.

(Hope I am making sense). Now I copy the drawing (Not the Artboard & and not by using place or import, but copy & paste) to a new document, change the UNITS from pixels to cm, and resize the drawing to a width of 5cm while Locking the aspect ratio in the Tranform Panel.

I get the final drawing with the dimensions of 5cm in width and 4.124cm in height. (Thank you for bearing with me for so long).

My question is, what pixels I start with in the first place (Not perefered to do like that) OR resize the Artboard later (Perefered) in such a manner that:

  1. There is always 5px gap from top, bottom, left and right between the drawing and artboard.
  2. On resizing the drawing, the aspect ratio is always maintained of value 1:1. For example if it is 5cm in width, resizing it will result in 4cm in height, or if it is 2cm in width, it will have a height of 1cm when resized.

I could offcouse disslect the "maintain/lock aspect ratio" in the Transform Panel and than change the height to 4cm. But that messes up the drawing.

Thanks in advance.

(Have setup 300 resoultion)

  • I don't understand... if you need a 5cmx4cm piece of art, why don't you just draw it that size? (FYI... even if the rulers are set to pixels you can enter cm into any field - i.e. 5cm)
    – Scott
    Mar 29, 2012 at 18:52
  • @Scott : The art will be used in many places. At one place, I need it to be 5cm width X 4cm height, another place, I need to to save it as an image file with the dimension of 200px wide X 150px height, yet another place, I need it be be 1500px width X 1200px height. I know that entering cm in the fields, Illustartor will convert them to pixels automatically. I guess I am trying to make a standard file (Artboard = 1000px wide X 830px height ~ Art = 990px wide X 820px height) and than use it everwhere while changing the dimensions. One of the place requires 5cm width X 4cm height.
    – Jawad
    Mar 29, 2012 at 18:59
  • All the sizes you mention are proportional. I'd simply set up a proportional artboard and create the artwork. Then you could just scale the art up (or down) and add detail and refine as needed. I think you're over-thinking things. Pick a size... draw the art. Scale it to whatever size you need. If it were me, I'd try and get the artwork to a proportional size as well - 1000px by 830px is not proportional to your final sizes.
    – Scott
    Mar 29, 2012 at 19:17
  • @Scott : Yeah, I guess it's a overkill. Thanks.
    – Jawad
    Mar 29, 2012 at 19:25
  • If you work on a proportional artboard and need to supply jpg or png files, you can always resize via Save for Web. If your'e concerned about altering original artwork, create a symbol of the art before creating additional sizes. That symbol could act as your "master" artwork.
    – Scott
    Mar 29, 2012 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


Set up the artboards to the sizes you need.....

Like so.....

enter image description here

You could then create 3 layers. 1 layer for the small artwork, duplicate the layer and scale it to match the mid-sized artboard. Then duplicate and scale to match the large artboard.

I've got the artboard stacked on top of each other here, but it would be easier if they were side by side.

Then when saving the file, simply choose which artboard you want to save.

If the artwork is a symbol (you can have layers within symbols with CS5), then you can simply edit the symbol and change artwork on all 3 artboards at the same time.

  • Thanks. This way is much better. It's clean and efficient.
    – Jawad
    Mar 29, 2012 at 20:24

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