My top-three most-frequently used Illustrator tips, in no particular order:
– shift key: Shift “constrains” the movement along a straight vertical, horizontal, or 45-degree angle. I often use this when trying to create a straight line (click once to make the start point, hold shift, and click again for the end point).
– alt-drag (pc) or option-drag (mac) with arrow (selection) tool: Holding the alt/option key and dragging on an object, point, etc., will copy what you have selected. (Combine this with shift-alt-drag or shift-option-drag, and you can constrain the copied object. Useful for making duplicates of something all in a straight line.)
– keyboard shortcuts for tools: Extremely useful! Get to know the keyboard shortcuts that allow you to switch tools by hovering over the tool in the tool palette until the shortcut “tooltip” pops up. For example, hitting “v” will select the arrow (selection) tool, while hitting “p” switches to the pen tool. Holding shift while hitting “p” will cycle through the pen tools. This is an easy way to switch tools without moving your mouse over to the tool palette.
Pretty basic stuff, but not always intuitive, so maybe some of you learned something.
Have a great weekend!