When you create artwork in Adobe Illustrator, you may find yourself in a situation that requires part of a drawing. Rather than deleting portions of the drawing that fall outside the area you need, or using the Scissors or Eraser tool to remove these elements, you can crop your artwork using a clipping mask, a vector object that defines how much of your drawing remains visible. If you apply a stroke to the perimeter of the mask object, you see a black box around the cropped boundary. Remove this box the way you eliminate a stroke from any vector object.

Step 1

Press "A" to switch to the Adobe Illustrator Direct Selection tool. Click on the outline of the clipping mask to select it. If you find its edges difficult to discern in the midst of other artwork, press "Ctrl-Y" to switch to Outline view so you can find the mask's perimeter; press "Ctrl-Y" again to return to Preview mode after you make your selection.

Step 2

Click on the Stroke color swatch in the Illustrator toolbox to make it active so you can change the attributes of the mask. You also can open the Color panel to access the stroke color setting.

Step 3

Click on the white swatch with the red diagonal line through it to set the mask's stroke to "None." This swatch appears both in the Adobe Illustrator toolbox below the Stroke color swatch and in the Color panel. If you open the Stroke panel and set the mask's stroke weight to zero, you achieve the same result as you do in the toolbox or Stroke panel. Additionally, you can open the Appearance panel, and then drag the mask's stroke attribute onto the trash can at the bottom of the panel.

Warnings

  • When you select a clipping mask and the artwork it crops, the Transform panel displays dimensions that include both the mask and the artwork. The combination's measurements exceed the size of the cropped artwork.

  • Information in this article applies to Adobe Illustrator CS6 and Adobe Illustrator CC. It may differ slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

Tips

  • When you use the dimensions of an Adobe Illustrator artboard to define the printable area of a graphic or illustration instead of applying a clipping mask, the artboard's edges remain visible while you edit and review your work in Illustrator, unless you use tell the program to hide them. Press "Shift-Ctrl-H" to hide them if they're visible and vice versa. Hidden or not, their outlines do not print.

  • Artboards can display their own rulers, crop marks, center marks and video-safe area outlines. These attributes remain non-printing, regardless of whether you show or hide them. To access settings that display or hide these options, double-click on the Artboard tool in the Adobe Illustrator toolbox, and then access the Display section of the dialog box that opens. To hide an artboard's rulers, press "Ctrl-Alt-R."

  • When you save an Adobe Illustrator file that contains more than one artboard, you can save each artboard as an individual AI file, along with a document that contains all the artboards together. The option to save artboards as individual files appears when you use the "Save As" or "Save a Copy" command.