Fri, 01 Mar, 2024


5 Tips to Level Up Your Illustrator Game


By Aabiskar Pandey

If you have ever opened Illustrator and tried using the tools, you probably have been overwhelmed by the interface; numerous tabs, panels, tools and the list continues. If you weren’t, then congratulations but if you are among the majority then you are not alone. Learning to design can be hard as it ultimately boils down to your creative thinking capabilities but that is not all. Proficiency with the tools is something equally important to give life to your concepts.

I, myself went through the phase of frustration while learning Illustrator a few years back. However, over the years I have learnt some cool tips and tricks through multiple blogs, tutorials and channels that really improved my workflow and made me efficient as well. 

Here are 5 tips to level up your Illustrator Game:

1. Clear the clutter
If you have ever worked on any project, I’m sure you opened multiple panels and windows to the point where the artboard (area where we design) got covered. 

Well, you could close all the panels manually but that is no fun. You can hit Tab on the keyboard and it clears all the panels to give your artboard a more clean and open view. 
(Hit Tab again to get all the panels back)

2. Embed Pictures
You get an Illustrator file from your friend, you open it and there you get an error.

If only your idiot friend had embedded the picture, you would not have to face this error. Don’t be like your idiot friend and embed images in your document instead of just dragging it to the artboard.
File > Place or Ctrl + Shift + P
Use this to open any image or external file. It will save a lot of time while forwarding your design works.

3. Scale Stroke and Effects
If you have ever worked with strokes, you spend a lot of time getting the perfect fill to stroke ratio. You are very satisfied with it. You then scale your design and the entire thing becomes a mess.

To prevent this from happening, just make this simple change in your preferences.
Edit > Preferences > General > Scale Stroke and Effects

4. Show Outlines
While working with lots of shapes and lines, it is essential to check if the lines and shapes are connected or overlapped. Fill and strokes might sometimes prevent us from getting a clear view of the intersecting lines.

Hit Ctrl + Y  to show outlines of your design.

5. Check Spelling
More often than not there are typos in our designs. We are so focused on the design aspects that small errors in the texts are bound to happen and next thing you know, people are pointing out the typos rather than acknowledging your design.

To prevent this, you can use spell checker in Illustrator.
     Edit > Check Spelling or Ctrl + I

Next time, share your awesome design works without any fear of spelling mistakes or typos.

These were the 5 awesome tricks to make your design skills more efficient. 

Here are some bonus shortcut keys that you will be using frequently (You will remember them once you start using them):

Ctrl + Enter (To exit a text box)
Ctrl + T (Typography Box)
Ctrl + ] (Bring the object forward)
Ctrl + [ (Send the object backward)
Ctrl + Shift + ] (Bring the object to front)
Ctrl + Shift + [ (Send the object back)
Ctrl + C (Copy, Obviously :P)
Ctrl + F (Paste on top of the copied object)
Shift + F7 (Open the align panel)

These are some shortcuts which will be used very frequently and using them will definitely save a lot of time. Hope you learned something new and found this article resourceful. Do share it with your friends and help them become a better designer as well.  

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