top of page

How to Crop in Adobe Illustrator

An image showing the Adobe Illustrator logo.

If you're a graphic designer, then you know how important it is to be able to crop images correctly. In Adobe Illustrator, there are a few different ways to do this. Let's take a look at how to crop in Adobe Illustrator so that you can get the perfect results every time.

Understanding the crop feature in Adobe Illustrator and how it works

For many users, the crop feature in Adobe Illustrator is one of the most important tools for creating accurate, professional images. The crop feature allows you to select a specific area of an image or selection and delete everything else outside of that selection.

This can be incredibly helpful when you need to make sure that all of your images are accurately placed in relation to each other.

A vector image showing an example of how to use the crop feature in Adobe Illustrator.

The difference between cropping general images and vector based images

When using the latest Adobe Illustrator in 2023, one must consider whether or not the image is vector-based or a general image which is known amongst graphic designers as rastor images.

Rastor images are better known as jpeg or png while vector-based images are also known as svg, ai and eps files. It is important to select the right crop tool depending on whether you select an rastor or vector based image so that you can get the desired results.

3 ways to crop images in Adobe Illustrator

Generally, there are three ways to crop images in Adobe Illustrator.

Cropping an Image in Illustrator 2023 whilst using the crop button

The first way is to select the image that you want to crop and then select the crop button from the top toolbar.

Follow these steps to select the crop button:

  1. Select the image you want to crop

  2. Select the "crop" button in the top toolbar

  3. Select the desired area of your image and click on “crop”.

This is generally the easiet way to crop your rastor image and select the desired area.

Cropping an image using the artboard

The second way to crop an image in Adobe is to select the artboard and select the desired area you want to crop. This requires more detailed selection of an images which makes it easy for selecting more specific areas.

Follow these steps to select the artboard tool

Using the artboard tool is just as fast as cropping using the crop button.

Follow the steps below to select the artboard tool:

  1. Select the image you want to crop

  2. Go to select "artboard" from the top toolbar

  3. Drag your mouse on the desired area of your image you wish to select and click on “crop”

This is an easy way to crop images quickly and accurately.

Cropping an image using the mask feature

Using the mask feature is the third way to crop images in Adobe Illustrator. It is a bit more complicated than the other two methods, and it requires linked images to be able to crop.

Follow these steps to use the mask feature:

  1. Select linked image from linked files

  2. Go to select "mask" from control panel

  3. Drag your mouse on the desired area of your linked image you wish to crop and click on “crop”

Cropping vector based images over rastor images

As highlighted above, cropping vector based images can be a little more tricky than rastor images. It is important to note that linked vector based images will be the easiest way to crop them.

Should you find yourself in the position where you have a vector based image, follow the steps below to crop them using the clipping mask feature:

  1. Find the vector based image and bring it to the top of your artboard

  2. Create a new object like a square and hover it over the vector image

  3. Select both the linked image and the object like a square

  4. Go to select "clipping mask" from control panel or use the shortcut key on windowns (CTRL + 7) or on Mac, use (CMD + 7).

You will see the linked image being cropped to the exact shape and size of your object like a square.

Should you not like the way the clippings mask feature crop the linked images, you can always undo it by pressing the shortcut key (CTRL + Z) or (CMD + Z) to navigate back to what you did before or select the final clipping mask image you created and select on the right-hand side the "release mask" option.

Finalising the image you want to save

Now that you have selected the desired area of your image and cropped it to the size you like, all that’s left is to finalise the image and save it.

A note that should you wish t save a vector based image, it is highly recommended to save it as an EPS file.

Follow the steps below to save your newly cropped images:

Go to the top toolbar and select "File"

then select “Save” or go to shortcut key (Ctrl + S) or on Mac (CMD + S)

Select the desired format you want to save your file and select either "Save" or press enter.

There are other formats you could use to save your file - should you need to preserve the high resolution of your image, choose the format that can be used for printing such as JPG, TIFF or PNG.


With this new knowledge, you will confidently be able to crop your images in Adobe Illustrator and save them in the desired format. Crop feature is a great way to cut down time not only in editing but also creating projects with more space and focus on the design.

Knowing how to crop images using the crop feature, artboard tool or masking feature will help you to complete projects with greater efficiency.

Should need help with your graphic design work, we can help at Marketing Optimised as our team is experienced in Adobe Illustrator.

Contact us to learn more about our services.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page