Using Adobe Illustrator to Assemble

Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor program.  If you have not used Illustrator it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the tools panel, their different functions, and the workspace basics:

Some Useful Shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + C = Copy
  • Ctrl + V = Paste
  • Ctrl + Z = Undo
  • Ctrl + A = Select All
  • Ctrl + G = Group Objects
  • Ctrl + Shift + G = Un-group Objects
  • Ctrl + + = Zoom In
  • Ctrl + - = Zoom out
  • Directional Arrows = Nudge Object


  • NEVER re-scale map with the aspect ratio unlocked
  • NEVER re-scale map(s) without selecting and simultaneously re-scaling the scale bar (otherwise the scale bar will be completely irrelevant to your map!)

A Guided Tour of Building a Basic Figure in Adobe Illustrator After Exporting out of ArcMap:

In the video below, Martha walks us through how to bring in the data we exported out of ArcMap (see 3. Use ArcGIS ONLY for Making Figure Building Block) and build a basic figure in Adobe Illustrator.

A Quick Tour of Some Useful Shortcuts & General How To's:

This sequence of videos from Sara walks through the basics of using Adobe Illustrator, how to add some stylistic touches, and assembling multiple components together.

Adobe Illustrator - The Basics

Adding Some Stylistic Touches to Your Figures:

Adobe Illustrator - A Better Figure

Assembling a Figure Made Up of Multiple Maps & A Table:

Adobe Illustrator - A More Complex Figure

←Back to 4. Gather Up Your Other Figure Components         Ahead to 6. Export the Final Figure & Put Where Needed →