Archiving an Illustrator file

Here's how I archive work that I do with Adobe Illustrator. It should work all the way up from Illustrator 10 to CS3.

This is the finished graphic placed on a page grid.

To archive it, first draw a rectangle to cover everything that you would like to see. In this case, I have drawn it to cover the page grid. Next, you turn the rectangle into a crop area. That's from the menu, Object->Crop Area->Make.

You can see the crop marks appearing at the four edges.

Next from the menu, choose File->Save As.

Under the save as type drop box, choose to save as an Illustrator PDF file. Saving it in this format ensures that the vector quality of the graphic is not lost.

If there are photos linked inside the Illustrator files, they will embedded. You can also choose what kind of compression you want for your photos. I typically leave them at default.

If you haven't applied the crop area, the file on the right is how it will look if you were to open it up with Acrobat Reader. The one of the left has a crop area applied. See how tight the graphic file is.

Some other things to note.

You don't have to worry about loss of fonts because the pdf format embeds the fonts together with the file. But if you were to open the file with Illustrator on a computer without the font, the font missing dialog box will appear.

Illustrator PDF format ensures you'll be able to work with it using Illustrator in the future also.