How to Work with Template Layers in Adobe Illustrator

Many designers start with a sketch, then scan it to recreate as vector art in Illustrator. Placing the sketch as a template has several advantages.

  1. Go to File > Place. In the dialog box, select the file and check Template, then click place.
    Place as Template
  2. To understand what the Template option does, go to the Layers Panel. Notice that a new layer named "Template..." was created underneath the existing layer/layers, and the template layer is locked.
    Placed Image and Layers Panel
  3. Click once on the template layer, then go to the Layers Panel menu and choose Options for "Template...
    Layers Panel Menu
  4. In the options, note with Template checked, Lock is on and Print is off, and both are grayed out. Also note that Dim Image is on. The whole purpose of using template layers is to make things easier to trace.
    Layer Options
  5. Remember that placed template images always land in the center of the document window. If you need to reposition the image, you can easily unlock the template layer temporarily by clicking the Lock icon to the left of the layer name in the Layers Panel. Just click in the empty space to lock the layer again once the image is repositioned.
    Layers Panel
Author: Kate Cahill

Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her classes. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint, to produce a fully developed and cohesive brand identity.

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