How To Change Artboard Color In Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator has a white artboard color by default, and working with a white background is not something we always want. It may be due to a project requirement, or if you make designs such as icons with light shades, you may need a darker background to differentiate the colors. How can you change your artboard color in Illustrator for such situations? 

You can employ two main procedures to achieve this. There is a “Simulate Colored Paper” option to change the artboard color, or you can use the Rectangle Tool to do the same. If you want to change the artboard color of a single artboard, only the Rectangle Tool will work.

If you do not want to use a white artboard color, you can easily customize it by following our guide. This article will discuss the two quick methods to change single or multiple artboard colors.

Changing The Artboard Color

To start, you can create a new document in Adobe Illustrator by going to File > New. You can also edit the artboard color on an already existing document. Next, we can use either of the two methods to change the artboard color in Illustrator, which are discussed as follows:

Simulate Colored Paper Method

Open the Illustrator project you want to work on and follow the following steps:

  1. Go to the top menu and click on File > Document Setup. It will open a Document Setup dialogue box. Checkmark the “Simulate Colored Paper” option under the Transparency and Overprint Options. 
  2. Next, you will click on the top box of the two stacked color selector boxes in front of the Simulate Colored Paper option. This will open the color selector palette, from which you can choose the color for the artboard that you deem fit. 
  3. Once you are done, click OK on the color selector and OK on the Document Setup dialogue box. 

It is the ideal method to change the artboard color of multiple artboards, but it does not work in changing the color of a single artboard. For a better understanding of these steps, you can also use this video:

Using The Rectangle Tool 

In this method, we will create a rectangular shape, change its color and lock it to the background to change the color of the artboard.

  1. Click on the Rectangle Tool (M) on the toolbar’s left and draw a rectangle that fits your artboard. Proceed by changing the rectangle’s color by clicking on the “Fill” option on the left toolbar. 
  2. To lock it to the artboard, go to Window > Layers to open the Layers panel. Once you move the rectangle to the bottom, checkmark the Lock icon and it will lock into the artboard. 

This method can change both single artboard and multiple artboard colors. You just need to select the artboard whose color you want to change for a single artboard. However, you will need to do it individually for multiple artboards.


Although sometimes there is no direct method for some editing changes, Illustrator gives us various tools and features that we can manipulate to change anything we want, including the artboard color. 

Whether it is the color of a single artboard or of multiple, you can easily change it on Illustrator by following the two methods that we explained to you with each step.