I understand there's a difference between raster & vector editing, but it's tough to understand why you can't simply crop a part of a large file. I just need the elements from a small section of the file and just want to work on that part, the rest can be trashed. Is it best just to create another Artboard and drag these element into it?
Unlike in PS (Photoshop), where you work with (down to single) pixels, you work with vector objects, each object forming a whole, such as a path.
You may consider tthe non destructive way that gives an appearance corresponding to that of cropping in PS, namely masking, with a Clipping Mask or an Opacity Mask; the former works much like the PS cropping. Masking only hides what is outside the mask, so it is still there. Masking may serve your purpose better because you can always release a mask and edit, or just edit within the mask, instead of regretting your successfully having got rid of it.
But if you really mean it, you can always delete whole unwanted objects (always keep a backup of things you may need again, you can work in a copy of the original document); you can select those in different ways to make it as easy as possible.
You may also consider whether you can obtain the desired outcome by using the Pathfinder options or the Shape Builder, which you can look up here,
If you wish to really get rid of parts of objects outside a certain area in a crude way that directly corresponds to PS cropping, you will have to resort to something that can/will fundamentally change the objects involved and have (other) unforeseen and unwanted consequences; there is the dirty destructive deed done on the Clipping Mask.
Thanks for this, great information.
Lots to chew on...
Thanks, I'll have a look!
For my part you are welcome, ARNK.