How to Crop in Illustrator CS5.1 and Other AI Versions

By on March 15, 2012 — Updated on June 12, 2012

Cropping is technically used in images to remove extra elements inside the frame. This is quite tricky because unlike Photoshop, there is actually no crop tool in Illustrator, yet there is a command in Illustrator CS5.1 or any other version which you can use to trim some excess part of your design or illustration. It is called clipping mask.

Adobe define clipping mask as an object whose shape masks other artwork so that only areas that lie within the shape are visible—in effect, clipping the artwork to the shape of the mask.

In Photoshop, parts of the objects that exceed the canvas or art board are automatically hidden and whenever you are going to save your project into other format like JPEG, the output is automatically cropped but in Illustrator, all elements that exceed the art board are still visible even if it is converted into other file format. Look at this illustration below.

crop in Illustrator CS5

Here is how to apply clipping mask in Illustrator CS5.1:

Step 1. Find the shape tool in the tool box and choose a shaped which you want to use as clipping mask. May it be rectangle circle, ellipse or irregular shape, it’s up to you.

In this tutorial, I use rectangle to remove excess parts of the illustration I picked from the templates. Make sure that the clipping mask is above all objects that you want to mask.

how to crop in Illustrator

Step 2. Select all, Ctrl + A.

cropping in illustrator

Step 3. Hit Ctr + 7.You’re done. You have now a clipping set, the clipping mask and the objects that are masked. Here is other way to apply clipping mask in other versions of Illustrator.

crop in Illustrator CS5.1
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  1. tatess

    June 30, 2012 at 3:35 am

    I don’t have photoshop and never used it before but I always use “cropping” for most of my photos. Thanks for this tutorial ,this might be of help next time for me
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  2. RonLeyba

    July 1, 2012 at 12:13 am

    I have been working on my illustrator skills. I am trying to create vectorized graphics using it. Thanks for sharing some tip for it JP!
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  3. Sherra

    February 3, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve been looking ways to crop vector image in CS5 and I found this website and your tutorial really helped me. Thanks again..!!

  4. dacascas

    October 28, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    You can use Magic Eraser script for automatically crop! Here the video

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