Favorite Illustrator Functions

    Corrie Haffly
    Corrie Haffly
    Share

    As I’ve been working on my “vector graphics basics” article, I’ve been thinking about more functions in Illustrator that make my life easier. Here are a few more, once again, in no particular order…

    Outlining Text: Ever wanted to tweak some of the curves and lines in text? Make a copy of the text (just in case you decide you want to edit it later), select the original, and hit Ctrl-Shift-O (PC) or Command-Shift-O (Mac). (You can also go to Type > Create Outlines.) This converts the text to paths so that you can actually manipulate them.

    Pathfinder: I really, really like the different pathfinder options (Window > Show Pathfinder). You can merge objects together into one, or take two objects, overlap them, and “divide” them so that the overlapping part is its own object, as well.

    Locking or hiding objects: This is useful when you have a complicated document with lots of objects. Select the object(s) you want to temporarily “lock” (you can see it but can’t select it) and hit Ctrl-2 (PC) or Command-2 (Mac). To completely hide objects, hit Ctrl-3 (PC) or Command-3 (Mac). On the other hand, let’s say your document is complicated enough where you’d end up spending just as much time selecting all the objects and locking/hiding them as you would just trying to work around it. For a greater focused effort, just select the objects you want to work with and hit Shift-Ctrl-Alt-2 or 3 (PC) or Shift-Command-Option-2 or 3 (Mac). This locks or hides all other objects that weren’t selected. Finally, to unlock or show all the objects, hit Ctrl-Alt-2 or 3 (PC) or Command-Option-2 or 3 (Mac).

    Whew! I hope that wasn’t too confusing.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Illustrator Functions

    What are some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts in Adobe Illustrator?

    Adobe Illustrator is packed with numerous keyboard shortcuts that can significantly speed up your workflow. Some of the most useful ones include Ctrl + Z for undoing the last action, Ctrl + S for saving your work, and Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V for copying and pasting, respectively. For more complex actions, shortcuts like Ctrl + Alt + 2 for unlocking all objects, and Ctrl + Shift + O for creating outlines from text can be incredibly handy. Remember, mastering these shortcuts takes time and practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find your productivity greatly improved.

    How can I customize my workspace in Adobe Illustrator?

    Adobe Illustrator allows you to customize your workspace according to your preferences. You can rearrange panels, modify menus, and even save your workspace layout for future use. To customize your workspace, go to the “Window” menu, select “Workspace,” and then “New Workspace.” Here, you can name your workspace and choose which panels and menus you want to include. Once you’re done, click “OK” to save your custom workspace.

    What is the function of the Pen tool in Adobe Illustrator?

    The Pen tool is one of the most powerful tools in Adobe Illustrator. It allows you to create complex and precise path segments, both straight and curved, which can be combined to create almost any shape imaginable. The Pen tool works by adding anchor points to the canvas, which can then be connected with lines or curves to form a path. This tool is essential for creating custom shapes and intricate designs.

    How can I use the Pathfinder tool in Adobe Illustrator?

    The Pathfinder tool in Adobe Illustrator is used to combine shapes in various ways. It can unite, subtract, intersect, and exclude overlapping shapes, allowing you to create complex designs from simple shapes. To use the Pathfinder tool, select the shapes you want to combine, then go to the “Window” menu, select “Pathfinder” to open the Pathfinder panel, and choose the operation you want to perform.

    How can I create gradients in Adobe Illustrator?

    Creating gradients in Adobe Illustrator is straightforward. First, select the object you want to apply the gradient to. Then, go to the “Window” menu, select “Gradient” to open the Gradient panel. Here, you can choose the type of gradient (linear or radial), adjust the colors, and modify the gradient’s direction and transition.

    How can I use the Eyedropper tool in Adobe Illustrator?

    The Eyedropper tool in Adobe Illustrator is used to sample and apply color, gradient, and other attributes from one object to another. To use the Eyedropper tool, select the object you want to apply the attributes to, then click on the object with the attributes you want to sample. The selected object will then take on those attributes.

    How can I use the Blend tool in Adobe Illustrator?

    The Blend tool in Adobe Illustrator is used to create a series of intermediate objects and colors between two or more selected objects. To use the Blend tool, select the objects you want to blend, then go to the “Object” menu, select “Blend,” and then “Make.” You can also adjust the blend options for more control over the blend’s appearance.

    How can I use the Clipping Mask in Adobe Illustrator?

    A Clipping Mask in Adobe Illustrator is used to hide unwanted parts of an object or group of objects. To create a Clipping Mask, place the object you want to use as the mask above the objects you want to mask. Then, select all the objects, go to the “Object” menu, select “Clipping Mask,” and then “Make.”

    How can I use the Text tool in Adobe Illustrator?

    The Text tool in Adobe Illustrator is used to create and edit text. To use the Text tool, select it from the Tools panel, click on the canvas where you want to add text, and start typing. You can also adjust the font, size, color, and other text attributes using the Character and Paragraph panels.

    How can I use the Shape Builder tool in Adobe Illustrator?

    The Shape Builder tool in Adobe Illustrator is used to combine, edit, and delete overlapping shapes. To use the Shape Builder tool, select the shapes you want to edit, then select the Shape Builder tool from the Tools panel. You can then click and drag across the overlapping areas to combine them, or hold down the Alt key (Option key on Mac) and drag across areas to delete them.