Adobe Illustrator Shortcuts

If you liked my previous article onPhotoshop shortcuts, you’ll probably find this post useful. Here are 26 Illustrator shortcuts that can help you to speed up productivity. I use most of them (in fact, I can’t work without them). Most of shortcuts listed in this article aren’t documented in the software, so keep reading and you’re sure to find at least one new trick to put up your sleeve. Enjoy!
Note: this article is written in Mac Illustrator CS3 format. If you are using PC, Cmd key = Ctrl key and Opt = Alt.
1.Change the Unit Setting You can quickly change the Artboard unit measurement setting by right-clicking on the ruler.

2.Activate Tool Options With the tool selected, (e.g. Blend Tool), press the Enter key to open up the Blend Options window. Another way to open up the tool option panel is to doubleclick on the tool icon.

3.Duplicate a Series of Objects Select the object, hold down Option key and drag. You now have a copy of the object. Each time you press Cmd + D (Transform Again) you distribute more copies.

4.Draw Shape with Options Select any shape tool, (e.g. Star Tool), click anywhere on the Artboard, it will let you draw a shape with options.

5.Zoom With Mouse Wheel Hold down Option key & scroll the mouse wheel up or down to zoom in/out

6.Gradient Stop Color To quickly change a gradient stop color to any color swatch in the library: select a gradient stop, hold down Option key and click on a swatch.

7.Switch Color Profile Hold down Shift key and click on the color bar will let you toggle through the color profiles: Grayscale, RGB, HSB, CMYK, Web Safe RGB.

8.Layer Visibility

Cmd + Click Visibility Icon = toggle view mode (Outline/Preview) Opt + Click Visibility Icon = hide other layers (Opt + click again will show all) Click Visibility Icon & Drag = toggle multi layers

9.New Layer

Cmd + L = New layer Cmd + Opt + L = New layer with options


Select All Objects on Layer

To select all objects on a particular layer, hold down Option key and click on the layer name.


Navigate Live Paint Bucket Color

With the Live Paint Bucket tool selected, click on any swatch in the Color palette, now use the arrow keys (Up, Down, Left, Right) to navigate through the swatches.


Fill and Stroke Color

D = Default color (white fill & black stroke) X = Toggle between fill and stroke Shift + X = Swap fill and stroke color / = None (transparent) < = Color fill > = Gradient fill


Saturate or Desaturate Color

Holding down Cmd key and dragging the color slider will saturate or desaturate a mixed color.


Increase/Decrease Input Field Value

Place the cursor in any input field, press arrow Up or Down to increase/decrease.


Close Pencil or Brush Path

By default, Illustrator will use close a Pencil and Brush path. To close a Pencil path manually, hold down Option key when you are about to finish drawing the path.


Add or Subtract Sides

With the Star Tool, drag on the Artboard (do not release the mouse yet), pressUp or Down arrow to add/subtract sides. Notes: this shortcut can also works for the Arc, Spiral, Rectangle Grid, Polar Grid, Polygon, and Flare Tool.


Inner Radius

With the Star Tool, drag on the Artboard (do not release the mouse yet), holding down the Cmd key while dragging will let you control the inner radius. This shortcut also works for the Spiral Tool.


Continuous Duplicates Based on Mouse Movement

With any shape tool, holding down the Tilde (~) key while dragging will make continuous duplicates based on your mouse movement. This is a very useful shortcut to create fun and complex artwork.


Straight Sided Star

With the Star Tool, while dragging holding down the Option key will let you draw a straight side star.


Lock and Unlock Objects

Cmd + 2 = Lock selected object(s) Cmd + Opt + Shift + 2 = Lock all deselected objects Cmd + Opt + 2 = Unlock all


Switch Between Move and Selection Tool

Cmd + Opt + Tab = Switch between Move and Direct Selection Tool. Option (Direct Selection Tool selected) = toggle to Group Selection Tool.


Hide and Show Objects

Cmd + Opt + Shift + 3 = Hide all deselected objects Cmd + Opt + 3 = Show all objects
23. Eyedropper - Sample Photo or Gradient Color To sample intermediate color from a gradient or photo: with the Eyedropper tool selected, hold down Shift key and click on the photo.


Make and Release Guide

Cmd + 5 = Convert selected object to Guide Cmd + Shift + double-click on Guide = Release Guide


Font: Size, Leading, Kerning and Tracking

Cmd + Shift + > or < = Increase/decrease font size Opt + Up or Down = Increase/decrease leading

Opt + Left or Right = Increase/decrease kerning or tracking Cmd + Opt + Q = Reset kerning/tracking to zero
26. Add New Fill and Stroke

Cmd + / = Add new fill Cmd + Opt + / = Add new stroke

Final Remarks
If you are interested in learning more Illustrator stuffs, try my Illustrator tutorials. I haven’t updated the Illustrator tutorials in a while because I’m busy testing Illustrator CS4 Beta version. As soon Adobe officially releases CS4, I’ll work on posting some Illustrator CS4 reviews and tutorials.

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