Thursday, Aug 04, 2022 / Graphic Design / Shalvi Nanavati

How to Use Adobe Illustrator – Must Know Tips and Tricks

Save Your time using these shortcuts and get ready for some rapid-fire tips and tricks on how to use Adobe Illustrator! 

You can improve your workflow using these tips and tricks and this will help you get the most from Illustrator. Might be a simple icon or complex illustration design, the more techniques and shortcuts you’re familiar with, the quicker you’ll be able to achieve the results that you’re after.

How to Use Adobe Illustrator

1. Paste in place one object on multiple artboards

We have been in that situation where we have to paste page numbers or some repeated text in all artboards of the brochure at the same position on each artboard, but we have never encountered this shortcut in our life or have never bothered to explore the solution for it. 

The trick is very simple, copy the text or object that you want to paste at the same place on all artboards then press cmd-alt-shift-V for Macintosh or ctrl-alt-shift-V for Windows or you can go to Edit > Paste on All Artboards.

2. Custom Guidelines

Do you know that you can convert any shape into a guide? Create a base geometrical shape, arc, or line, and then go to View > Guide > Make Guide or simply press cmd-5 for Macintosh or ctrl-5 for Windows. Voila, your shape is converted into a guide now. You can use them as a stencil-like drawing guide that helps you to draw precise objects, angles, arcs, or lines. I personally use this trick to create a grid system to make a custom icon. 

3. Release to Layers 

This trick will help you to release a bundle of objects grouped together in one layer into multiple layers. Say for example you have 20 icons in one single layer and you want to separate them into multiple layers.

To do that simply click on the dot icon in the Layer panel next to the layer name and then click on the hamburger menu icon on the top right corner of the Layer panel and then click on Release to Layers (Sequence) and it is done. Pretty sweet, huh? This trick is useful especially when you are preparing the Illustrator file for After Effect Animation where it is required to have separate layers. 

4. Moving Guides in a group and can copy paste guides

This trick can help you to manage your guides by grouping them, in the same way, you group two objects and can duplicate them at the angle you want. 

The Transform option also allows you to rotate it from 0 to 360 degrees. To do that, select the guides –  go to Object – Transform –  Rotate. Alternatively, you can select the guides and right-click – Transform – Rotate. Adding a degree, selecting Preview to verify and completing the process are all that’s needed.

If you want to apply the same guides on other art-boards just group all those guides and Ctrl/Cmd+C to copy and Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+V for pasting it in the same place on the desired art-board.

5. Isolation Mode in Illustrator. 

This mode is helpful when you do not want to disturb other shapes and layers. When you have multiple shapes and objects in an artwork and want to edit only particular ones, you can use the isolation mode.

There are multiple ways to access isolation mode:

  • Double Click on the group of objects
  • Right Click on the group of objects and select isolation mode
  • Open Layer panel – select respective layer – click on the burger menu on right top – select ‘Enter Isolation Mode’

6. Switching between Fill-Stroke-Gradient modes.

Here’s a shortcut to switch your modes between fill and stroke color just by pressing X on your keyboard while the object is selected and you can directly change the colors.

Also you can switch the gradient from a single color to a selected object by pressing the ‘period (.) ’ key.

7. Align or distribute relative to a key object. 

While designing, there comes a point where there are multiple objects that you want at equal distance from each other or distribute it equally from a particular object, then this trick will help you.

For distributing them at equal distances, select all objects – click on the key object, from the selected ones (it will be highlighted with a blue thick line selection)  – go to Windows menu – align panel –  and click on any of the align option that you want to and all the objects will be aligned with that key object.

8. Distributing objects evenly in artboard

For distributing them at equal distances, select all objects – click on the key object, from the selected ones (it will be highlighted with a blue thick line selection)  – go to Windows menu – align panel – in that click 3 dots option – 

in distribute object option you can vertically align other objects to key object by clicking on ‘ Vertical Distribute Center’ , and horizontally align to key object

by clicking on ‘ Horizontal Distribute Center’.

9. Selecting a single object from a group .

When there are hierarchies of groups created in your artwork , this is a shortcut to directly select a particular object from the group. 

Just a 2-step process, do not select anything in the artboard – Press cmd/ctrl and click on the object you want to select , and there you are. 

10. Selecting a specific Color from a gradient.

If you’re trying and failing to pick a single color from the gradient, we have a simple trick here .

Press ‘I’ or select the eyedropper tool from the tools Panel – Press and hold shift key – then select the area you want the color from. The respective color will be selected.

If you think this helps  you then do subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Dribbble. We keep posting such amazing tricks for different software.

Next round of tips are coming soon to help you guys in saving your time and money.

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Shalvi Nanavati
under Graphic Design
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