Using Adobe Illustrator for Office Floor Plans

Microsoft Office is a helpful tool in certain respects, but sometimes tools like Publisher are quite troublesome with complex tasks. We’ve probably all been there: try to move a text box, but you end up shifting an entire floor plan by mistake! Those minutes tend to add up for what should have been simple changes.

That’s why it’s a great idea to learn how to use Adobe Suite, which comes equipped with a few programs: Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop and more. You can move your content across different programs with ease and generate PDFs for others who want to see your work. This flexibility enables you to support company initiatives for going paperless.

Adobe may seem intimidating at first, but there are a number of tutorials online to guide you through the processes for generating a polished and professional body of work. Your company may even be able to point you to internal workshops or provide funds to pay for your course if it’s part of your performance plan.

Today we’ll discuss tips for using Adobe Illustrator. We’ll use the example of designing and editing floor plans, but these principles will fit any shape-based project. Floor plans are essential in any large office as an invaluable resource for both administration and daily use among co-workers, especially for areas that receive clients.FloorPlanProgress

Illustrator works better than Publisher because it allows you to break entire shapes into individual paths or segments that you can manipulate easily. This functionality is possible because you can upload a computer-aided design (CAD) straight into Illustrator. Ask the unit that created the basic floor plan to send the file as an AutoCAD, which you can then open directly in Illustrator. The paths or individual segments will already be set. Remove walls by clicking on segments with the Selection Tool and press “Delete.” Click and drag segments to move walls or even lengthen walls by pulling on the end of the lines. It’s very quick and if you make a mistake, hit “Ctrl” and “Z.”

If you need to resize entire “rooms” or sections of the map, use the more advanced Direct Selection Tool, which you will use to draw a square around the part of the floor plan that you want. Once you finish the square and click to finish, all the lines within that square are highlighted in blue. Use the Object menu and choose the option “Group,” which groups those lines into a single unit. Once you’ve moved or resized that portion, go back into the – menu and choose “Ungroup,” which breaks everything back into individual paths.


Once you’ve modified the floor plan walls to your liking, it’s time to add text boxes with employee name. Like Word and Publisher, you can pick colors, fonts, sizes, and direction. With Illustrator, you can play with the directionality even further by typing straight onto line segments that you’ve rotated. Perhaps you’re trying to label an area of the 3rd floor as “Not [Insert Your Company Name]” and run it over and “X” that you’ve drawn in.


Repeat these simple steps and it won’t be long until you’ve produced a clean and organized floor plan that everyone in your office will appreciate. You can save a version as a PDF for wide distribution, but hold onto the original file on Illustrator for future updates that take only seconds. Save yourself a lot of time by switching to Adobe Illustrator today!

Post by Pat Cuadros (CLAS ’10) Feel free to connect with Pat on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thoughts on “Using Adobe Illustrator for Office Floor Plans

    Excellent article. Clear information and direction. Kudos to you Pat Cuadros.


    Great tips, Pat! Thanks for this.


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