I'm really starting to get used to having multiple artboards in Illustrator. Already, I can't imagine living without them. That being said, I wish there were a few things that would be added to the feature. For example, it would be nice to be able to name artboards, making it easier to keep them organized.
In addition, there are two other enhancements that come immediately to mind:
First, while Illustrator does offer multiple artboards within a single document, Illustrator only provides one ruler for an entire document. Meaning that you have a single set of coordinates for the entire canvas, and each artboard in your file shares this. This makes it incredibly difficult to position objects precisely by the numbers when you have multiple artboards in a file. Either you have to continuously reposition the origin point of your ruler (which will also shift the positioning of patterns), or you have to do a whole lot of math. And you know I'm no huge fan of math. What we really need is a set of ruler coordinates for each individual artboard.
Second, you'd think that with multiple artboards, I should be able to open a multipage PDF document in Illustrator, and have each of the pages turn into artboards. Yes, I know that Illustrator really shouldn't be used for PDF editing, but in many cases, it's a great solution for that. Alas, upon opening a multipage PDF file in Illustrator, a dialog box appears asking which single page you'd like to open.
So it's with great elation that I inform you of two AppleScripts that address these two issues. The genius behind these scripts is a dear friend, Shane Stanley, who calls Australia his home. Funny thing -- while I've known Shane for what has to be more than ten years now -- we've never actually met. At the same time, Shane has generously shared his AppleScript expertise over the years. Shane also runs an AppleScript conference and does consulting.
As these solutions are based on AppleScript, they come with their share of limitations. These scripts will run on Mac only (sorry Windows users), and you'll need MacOS X v. 10.5 or higher to run the scripts.
The first script, Artboard Coords creates a mini Transform panel that displays the coordinates for objects, relative to each artboard. To use it, launch the script, select an object and click on the 9-point proxy and punch in a value. Download the script here.
The second script, PDF Pages to Artboards, is a droplet. Drag any PDF document onto the script and a dialog asks how you'd like the pages to be arranged in the new document. Then sit back and relax. The script will create a single Illustrator document that contains each of the PDF pages as a separate artboard. You can then make edits and quickly save as a new multipage PDF file. Nice, eh? Download the script here.
The scripts are provided "as is" without technical support, and are totally free. Thanks to Shane Stanley for these -- I hope they prove helpful to Illustrator CS4 users out there!