Crop an image in Adobe Illustrator CS3 or later

André Ourednik, Sunday, April 1, 2012

When you export maps from ESRI ArcMap to Adobe Illustrator, the raster background is by default exported as a series of associated bitmap strips, with superposed vector polygons.Here an example:

Bitmap strips (detoured in orange) and vector polygon layer (in blue)

Bitmap strips (detoured in orange) and vector polygon layer (in blue)

In this – as in many other situations – you might need to crop the image to a specific area. Say the following rectangle:

Area to crop

Area to crop

To do so, first dissociate the vector layer from the raster strips. Then select the raster strips. By default an image options menu will appear just below the menu bar. On this, prese the button “modify the clipping mask” (modifier le masque d’écretage in my French version of Illustrator)

Modifify the clipping mask (modifier le masque d'écretage)

Modify the clipping mask (modifier le masque d’écretage)

Moving lateral line of the rectangle, then, will not make the image smaller but will crop it horizontally:

Dissociate all strips before cropping vertically. Otherwise, Illustrator crops all grouped elements individually, which would turn your bacground into a zebra. Dissociate like this:

Dissociating horizontal stripes

Dissociating horizontal stripes

Once the stripes dissociated, you can crop only the uppermost strip that you want to keep, like this:

Cropping the uppermost strip

Cropping the uppermost strip

Erase all the strips above (you don’t need them anymore).

Once you’ve done this, you’re done with the raster aspect. The vector part, though hasn’t been cropped yet as shows the following image:

Cropped raster, uncropped vector layer

Cropped raster, uncropped vector layer

To crop the vector layer, create a rectangle of the size of your vector area and select both the rectangle and your vector layer. Once you’ve done this, open the “pathfinder” toolbox and click on the “division” button, like this:

Selected cropping rectangle and all of the vector polygon layer

Selected cropping rectangle and all of the vector polygon layer

That’s it. You’re done:

Cropped raster and vector map in Illustrator

Cropped raster and vector map in Illustrator

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Cite as: André Ourednik (2012) « Crop an image in Adobe Illustrator CS3 or later » in Maps and Spaces from https://ourednik.info/maps/2012/04/01/crop-an-image-in-adobe-illustrator-cs3-or-later/ [Last-seen December 10th 2018].
Category: Tools