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Designing Presentation & Research Posters with Illustrator

Learn the six basic tools for designing and creating posters with Adobe Illustrator.

Placing Images in Illustrator

The Place command is the primary method of getting images into your document, because it provides the highest level of support for file formats, placement options, and color. After you place a file, use the Links panel to identify, select, monitor, and update it.

Avoid copying and pasting an image into your document, as that can cause problems that you may not be aware of until you try to print. 

  1. Open the Illustrator document into which you want to place the artwork.
  2. From the menu bar, choose File > Place, and navigate to the file you want to place.
  3. Click just once on the file (don't double-click) so that you can take a look at the "Link" checkbox
  4. Make sure that the "Link" checkbox is UNcheckedthe place dialog window
  5. Click Place.
  6. If applicable, do one of the following:
    1. If you place a PDF file with multiple pages, you can choose which page you want to place and how to crop the artwork.
    2. If you embed an Adobe Photoshop file, you can choose how to convert layers. If the file contains layer comps, you can also choose which version of the image to import.


Editing/Transforming Images and Objects

You’ve already seen how the Direct Selection Tool can be used to move individual points of an object, and the Selection Tool can manually scale or re-size any object.  There are also several built-in options for transforming objects. The two easiest options are the Transform menu and the Transform Tools.  To use the basic Transform Tools, select an object, then the tool or the right item in the Transform menu. 

To apply transformations to an object using the menus, select the object, then go to the Object menu and select Transform.  The advantage of the menus is that numeric values can be specified – Scale 150%, Rotate 32°, etc.

  • Rotate  – dragging with the Rotate Tool rotates the object around a point; by default, the center point.  You can move the point of rotation, by clicking before you begin dragging.  Hold down the Shift key to rotate in 15-degree increments.

  • Reflect – click once, then again in a different location to indicate a line over which to reflect the object.

  • Scale – drag to resize the object.  Hold down the Shift key to maintain original proportions.

  • Shear – drag to skew the object.  Hold down the Shift key to stick to 15-degree increments.

  • Reshape – to change a shape by adding additional anchors.  Use the Direct Selection Tool to drag the edges of the shape by an anchor.

To move the shape, use the Selection Tool to click and drag it to its new location.

To resize the shape, drag the “handles” with the Selection Tool – hold down the Shift key to keep it proportionate.

To move individual points of the shape, use the Direct Selection Tool ().

Need to find images for your poster?

Video Reference