Create PDF worksheets in Adobe Illustrator

If you need a quick, minimal and easy PDF, give Google Slides a try, as I showed you last week, you won't regret it - you can do great things with it. If you need something a bit more fancy, than Adobe Illustrator is the tool, you're looking for. If you have a larger project in mind (such as book), InDesign offers better control over your pages. Today I'll help you create PDF worksheets in Adobe Illustrator.

 

CREATE PDF WORKSHEETS IN ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR

I'll be making a Project Planner – use this tutorial to make worksheets that will serve your tribe best and help your business thrive.

 

SET UP A NEW DOCUMENT

  • First, you need to decide what size your document will be. You could probably guess my preferences – I am all over my A5 Filofax, so my worksheets are almost always 148mm x 210mm (A5 portrait).
  • The number of artboards indicate the number of pages in your PDF document – no worries, you can add more later.
  • Use the CMYK colour mode for your print projects.
  •  If you need help picking colours that match your brand and highlight your project, take a look at the Adobe Kuler collections, but beware - it's a colour party there and you can browse forever, oh yes!
  • Name your document and click OK.
Create PDF Worksheets with Adobe Illustrator

DESIGN THE PAGES

Here, as before, I urge you to put pencil on paper first. Draw the pages of your workbook and be clear what you want to design. For larger documents I like to use a sticky note for each page, so I can move them around, if needed. When you are ready with the sketching, you can start your design.

  • My document will consist of three pages, so I'll start by adding two more pages.
  • To change the background colour of the artboard grab the rectangle tool and click on the artboard - set the same size as your artboard.
  • Pick a fill colour, set outline colour to 'none'
  • Select the rectangle and center it on your artboard from the menu above.
  • Create a second smaller rectangle and center it just like the first.
Create PDF Worksheets with Adobe Illustrator

Next, we'll add this background to all pages:

  • Select both rectangles and cut them: Edit > Cut or CTRL+X / COMMAND+X
  • To place them on all artboards/pages go to Edit > Paste on All Artboards or CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+V / COMMAND+SHIFT+ALT+V
  • Create a new layer for your content and lock your background layer
Create PDF Worksheets with Adobe Illustrator

Grab the text tool and start adding your content. Here is how to create some pretty dotted lines:

  • Draw a line with the Line Tool
  • Select the line and go to the Stroke Menu
  • Create a dashed line with 0pt dash and around 2pt gap
  • Make sure the Round Caps option is selected
Create PDF Worksheets with Adobe Illustrator

To make a lined page:

  • Create the first line as shown above.
  • Copy it + paste it in place and move it down. In my experience, 5-7 mm / 2-3 inches will give you neat tide lined page.
  • Repeat for the whole or part of the page.
Create PDF Worksheets with Adobe Illustrator

When you are done designing content, center it:

  • Select all content elements you'd like to center.
  • Group them: Object > Group or CTRL+G / COMMAND+G
  • Center them on your artboard the same way you centered your background.
  • (optional) Ungroup them: Object > Ungroup or CTRL+SHIFT+G / COMMAND+SHIFT+G. I like to keep everything separated, so I can move it easily, if I need to.
Create PDF Worksheets with Adobe Illustrator

SAVE YOUR PDF

Design the rest of your worksheets. When you're done, save the whole document as a copy PDF:

  • Select 'Save as Copy' from the File menu
  • From the drop down menu select 'Adobe PDF'
  • Save as [PDF/X-1a:2001] – this preset preserves the image quality, disables any editing capabilities of the file + the PDF can be viewed in older browsers.
Create PDF Worksheets with Adobe Illustrator

SPREAD THE JOY!

You've done it! After saving your PDF, it's time to share it with your tribe. Here is how my Project Planner came out:

Create PDF Worksheets with Adobe Illustrator

 

ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR CHEAT SHEET

 
Create PDF Worksheets with Adobe Illustrator

ILLUSTRATOR SHORTCUTS

Handy cheat sheet with all my favourite Adobe Illustrator shortcuts used in this tutorial.

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WHAT DID YOU MAKE?

Did you find this tutorial easy and fun? I really hope so! Next week, I'll be attempting to do a pretty PDF in Canva –

 

Stay creative!

♥ Lin