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FAQ - Our Maps & Adobe Illustrator

Question: 
What versions of Adobe Illustrator are compatible with your maps? 

Answer: 
Our AI map files are delivered as Illustrator CS3 format.  You can use these map files in Adobe Illustrator versions CS3, CS4, CS5 & CS6 and Creative Cloud. Please contact us if you need a map compatible with older Illustrator versions.

 



Question: 
How can I optimize Illustrator's performance? 

Answer: 
There are several settings in Illustrator that can be modified to improve performance.
Information from Adobe on optimizing Illustrator performance that can be found at:

Adobe TechNote: Optimize performance in Illustrator on Mac OS X
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/326/326405.html

Adobe TechNote: Optimize performance in Illustrator on Windows
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/320/320782.html

 



Question: 
How can I change the color of a state, country or other object?

Answer: 
You can use the color panel to apply color to an object. 
   • Select the object using the Direct Selection tool (hollow arrow head). 
   • Choose menu option Window > Color. 
   • Select the Fill box or Stroke box in the Color panel. 
   • Position the cursor (which changes to the eyedropper) over the color bar. Select a color by clicking.

 



Question: 
How do I crop a map with Adobe Illustrator? 

Answer: 
Depending on the version of adobe Illustrator you're using, there are varying options for extracting a smaller area from a map.

In Illustrator CS3, there is a Crop Tool.  From Adobe's Help section: "The crop area sets the position of the printer’s marks on your document and defines the exportable boundaries of the artwork."  So you can define a Crop Area in the map and export just that area to any of the formats that Illustrator allows.

In Illustrator CS4, CS5 & CS6 no longer have the Crop Tool.  But they do allow for multiple artboards in the same document.  You can create multiple, overlapping artboard in the map and save or export just that area to any of the formats that Illustrator allows.

Long time Illustrator users will recall that many previous versions of the application did not have a solution for cropping.  A work around was creating Clipping Masks (after doing all your document editing, since applying the mask can alter artwork properties such as layering.)  Once the mask is applied, you can export in a format that support masks such as EPS & your new file will contain just the masked area. The Clipping Mask option is available in all these version of Adobe Illustrator.  But as mentioned, applying the mask will alter your document beyond just getting you the specific area you need.  It will collapse the layering of the map features into a single group of objects on a single layer.  The other solutions (the Crop tool or multiple artboards) allow you to maintain layering and the ability to revisit & revise your map document.

For more information on cropping solutions, see the documentation for your specific Illustrator version.

 



Question: 
How do I select all the contents of a layer in Adobe Illustrator? 

Answer: 
Option-click (Mac) or Alt-click (Windows) on the layer name in the Layers Panel. This will select all of the artwork on that layer. 

 


 

Question: 
How do I resize a map in Adobe Illustrator? 

Answer: 
Adobe Illustrator has a Scale Tool that will allow you to increase or decrease the size of your map. 

1) Choose menu option Select>All. (You can find this command under Edit>Select All in Illustrator 9 and older.) 

2) In the Illustrator Toolbox, double-click the Scale Tool. You will be presented with a dialog box where you can enter a percentage value for your new scale. Be sure that you are using "Uniform" scaling so that the proportions of the map remain intact.

 



Question: 
How can I make a custom US region? 

Answer: 
Use our Fit Together US States, maps scaled to fit adjacent states to make custom regions. Using Illustrator's Paste in Front command you can quickly make the region you need. You can buy individual Fit Together state map files or you can get a collection of all the Fit Together state maps.  This collection is also included in the Premier USA CD product. 

To see how these maps work in Adobe Illustrator, you can download a sample of two Fit Together US State maps.

How do I use Fit Together States? 

Here's how to make custom regions using your Fit Together States. 

• Adobe Illustrator settings

- Check "Paste Remembers Layers" in the Layers panel Options menu. This will keep the map features in their layers when you copy & paste in front between documents. This also ensures that layers of map features will be intergrated when you combine different maps. For instance, all capitals from each of the states you are working with would be in a single layer entitled Capitals in the combined map image. 

• Choose File > Open

- Open all the states you need.  When you open each Fit Together state, you will notice that the states are within the scratch area, but not necessarily in the artboard. That's okay; the maps have a registered location within the file's scratch area. This registered location is what allows you to use the Past in Front command to automatically align the Fit Together states. The maps must be in this original location and scale in order to fit together properly. 

• Put states together using the Copy & Paste in Front commands.

You can now move one map into another of the Fit Together state mapsto create your custom region.  

  • - In the first map, choose menu option Select > All.  
  • - With the map selected, then choose menu option Edit > Copy.  
  • - Now view the other map and choose menu option Edit > Paste in Front. 

• Edit the map

You should edit the map features before moving the map to the artboard for printing. Once you move the maps from their registered location or change their scale, it will be more difficult to edit or combine with additional Fit Together states. You may want to save a copy of the combined maps in case you want to make changes in future. 

• Printing the map

- To print your map, you need to move it to the artboard.  An Adobe Illustrator file has two distinct areas for artwork: the scratch area and the artboard. The artboard is the region that can contain the printable artwork. The artboard is the same size as the page, but it can be enlarged or reduced. The scratch area is the area outside the artboard. It is the place on which you can create, edit, and store elements of artwork before moving them onto the artboard. Artwork on the the scratch area are visible onscreen, but they do not print. As mentioned above, the Fit Together maps have a registered location within the file that allows them to be easily combined. However, this often means that the map is not in the printable artboard of the file. To move your custom region map to the artboard:  

  • - Choose Select > All, then Edit > Cut.  
  • - Choose View > Fit in Window.  
  • - Choose Edit > Paste. 

Your map is now pasted into the artboard and can be printed. You will likely need to scale the map to fit your print size needs.

 



Question: 
How can I make a custom Canada region using Fit Together Provinces? 

Answer: 
The Fit Together Provinces are scaled to fit adjacent provinces to make custom regions. Using Illustrator's Paste in Front command you can quickly make the region you need. You can buy individual Fit Together province map files or you can get all the Fit Together province maps which are included in the Premier International Canada product. 

How do I use Fit Together Provinces? 

Here's how to make custom regions using your Fit Together Provinces. 

• Adobe Illustrator settings

- Check "Paste Remembers Layers" in the Layers panel Options menu.This will keep the map features in their layers when you copy & paste in front between documents. This also ensures that layers of map features will be intergrated when you combine different maps. For instance, all capitals from each of the provinces you are working with would be in a single layer entitled Province Capital in the combined map image. 

• Choose File > Open

- Open all the provinces you needWhen you open each Fit Together province, you will notice that the provinces are within the scratch area, but not necessarily in the artboard. That's okay; the maps have a registered location within the file's scratch area. This registered location is what allows you to use the Past in Front command to automatically align the Fit Together provinces. The maps must be in this original location and scale in order to fit together properly. 

• Put provinces together using the Copy & Paste in Front commands

You can now move one map into another of the Fit Together province mapsto create your custom region.  

  • - In the first map, choose menu option Select > All.  
  • - With the map selected, then choose menu option Edit > Copy.  
  • - Now view the other map and choose menu option Edit > Paste in Front. 

• Edit the mapYou should edit the map features before moving the map to the artboard for printing. Once you move the maps from their registered location or change their scale, it will be more difficult to edit or combine with additional Fit Together provinces. You may want to save a copy of the combined maps in case you want to make changes in future. 

• Printing the map

- To print your map, you need to move it to the artboard.An Adobe Illustrator file has two distinct areas for artwork: the scratch area and the artboard. The artboard is the region that can contain the printable artwork. The artboard is the same size as the page, but it can be enlarged or reduced. The scratch area is the area outside the artboard. It is the place on which you can create, edit, and store elements of artwork before moving them onto the artboard. Artwork on the the scratch area are visible onscreen, but they do not print. As mentioned above, the Fit Together maps have a registered location within the file that allows them to be easily combined. However, this often means that the map is not in the printable artboard of the file. To move your custom region map to the artboard:  

  • - Choose Select > All, then Edit > Cut.  
  • - Choose View > Fit in Window.  
  • - Choose Edit > Paste. 

Your map is now pasted into the artboard and can be printed. You will likely need to scale the map to fit your print size needs.

 



Question: 
I found a good map for my project, but it's color and I need black and white? How do I change it? 

Answer: 
You can use Adobe Illustrator to convert all the map elements into black lines and white fills. The map features are comprised of two types of elements: lines and polygons. Lines are used for map features such as rivers, borders, lat/long grids or roads. Polygons (or objects) are used for map features such as lakes, political area shapes (like states or countries) or an ocean background. Each feature is on a separate layer. You can select all the contents of a layer and then alter the selection based on whether it is made of lines or polygons. 

To Select the Contents of a Layer: 

Option-Click (Mac) or Alt-Click (Windows) on the name in the Layers Panel. 
All artwork on that layer will be selected and you can make a change to the attributes of all those elements at one time.

To Change Lines: 

With the lines selected, go to the Color Panel. Bring the Stroke Box to the foreground and select black from the color picker. 
All lines on that layer will be assigned a black stroke.

 

 

 

To Change Polygons: 

With the polygons selected, go to the Color Panel. Bring the Fill Box to the foreground and then select white from the color picker. Some polygons may not have a stroke. If there is no stroke, leave it unspecified. If there is a stroke you can change it to black. Conversely, if you want to create a "silhouette" look, you can fill all the polygons black to make a solid form.

 

 

 

Text only has a fill, so select the text and give it a black fill.

 



Question: 
I'm getting a font problem notice when I open a map. What's wrong? 

Answer: 
Font problems usually fall into one of two general categories: 

1) Reorganized character on another platform. We develop our maps on the Macintosh, so text is created with Mac font specifications. When you open our files on, for example, a Windows system, Illustrator recognizes this difference and displays a font problem notice. Simply click "OK" and the font will display properly. 

2) Font Substitution - If you do not have the exact specified font that is called for in the map, you will get a font problem notice. If you do not have the font installed in your system, Illustrator will make a substitution. If you have the right font, but it's from a different creator (example: TrueType versus Type 1 fonts), then Illustrator will use that font. In both instances, "OK" the message and Illustrator will use fonts available in your system to display the text. 

You can also use Illustrator's Find Font command to make universal changes to the fonts used on a map. Once you have a map file open in Illustrator, choose menu option Type > Find Font. From the resulting dialog box, you can change the fonts used across the entire map artwork. 

 



Question: 
The terrain maps aren't working in Illustrator CS3 for Windows. What should I do?

Answer: 
Illustrator CS3 for Windows can open & utilize the Terrain maps.  However, a bug in Illustrator CS3 causes it to fail to properly read the placed Photoshop relief image when running under a 64-bit version of Windows.  Set your preferences for Illustrator CS3 to run in 32-bit compatability mode and the files will open properly.

 



Question: 
I'm trying to open my terrain Adobe Illustrator file into Photoshop (or other applications) & I don't see the map image.  What going on?

Answer: 
The terrain AI files are saved without PDF compatibility, in order to reduce the size of the document.  You can re-save the AI file with PDF compatibility enabled to use in other applications.

The terrain maps are a system of two documents - the vector AI file with lines & text, and a raster PSD file of the relief image.  When you open the AI map file, it "follows" a link to the PSD to draw the relief image for the map.  Having this separate PSD image allows you to edit the terrain image in Photoshop independent of the other features. But saving the terrain maps with PDF compatibility greatly increases the AI file size (but does not eliminate the need for the PSD file.)  Again, you can open the terrain map in Illustrator and use menu option File > Save As and then check PDF compatibility in the resulting dialog box.  This will allow you to open the AI file into other applications such as Photoshop, if your needs require it.