How To Change Background Color In Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is one of the best vector graphics software out there; it gives its users the utility to design their artwork using its vast variety of tools and functions, which keep evolving through new updates. Changing the background color is one of these features. Although the background color is white by default, you can still change it when you create a new document on Illustrator. But how?

There are two methods by which you can change your background color in Illustrator. You can either create a new background by creating a rectangle and moving it to the back, or you can use the document setup options. These methods allow you to change your background to any color you want from the color palette.

Illustrator also works with layers just like photoshop, and when you create a new document, the first layer is the background. Although you can change the color of any artboard layer, our article will focus on how you can change the background color. We will discuss two methods by which you can do this. 

Changing The Background Color

Using the two different methods: creating a new background or using the document setup options, we can achieve the same result: changing our background color to what we want. 

If you are creating a new document, go to File > New and then enter the details about the document on the dialogue box that appears on the screen. Press OK, and the document will be created. 

Creating A New Background

For this method, you can use the rectangle tool to create a new background by setting its shape to fit the background canvas.

  1. First, open or create the document on Illustrator. 
  1. Choose the Rectangle tool from the left toolbar on the document and then create a rectangle of the same size as the document. 
  1. Click on the background and choose your desired color from the palette dialogue box. 
  1. After clicking Ok, go to the Windows menu and open the Layers panel by clicking on Layers. You can lock this rectangle to the background by double-clicking on the rectangle layer and check-marking Lock in the Options dialogue that opens up. 

Here’s a video to help clarify the steps more:

Document Setup Options

We can change the document’s background color from the document setup options. To do so, open Adobe Illustrator and open or create the document on which you want to change the background color. 

Next, open the document setup options for the document by clicking on File > Document Setup. This will open up the Document Setup dialogue box. Check under Transparency and Overprint Options and checkmark the Simulate Colored Paper option. 

This option will allow us to preview the background color on the document to see what suits the best.

Click on the canvas icon (the upper box instead of the one below it). It will open up a palette dialogue box. You can choose any color of your choice from the palette and set it as the background color after clicking OK on both the color palette dialogue and the Document Setup Dialogue Box.


If you previously worked with Photoshop, you may find it trickier to change your background color in Illustrator. That’s why we walked you through the steps of the two methods in our guide, through which you can change your background color easily without any complications.