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Business Website Links showing a picture of a Adobe Illustrator and Computer Tips for Adobe Illustrator belowAdobe Illustrator Tips






Tip: Retro Leaves and Flowers with the Transform Effect

  • In today’s quick tip tutorial I’m going to show you how to create a quick and easy retro leaf and flower design with the help of the Transform Effect in Adobe Illustrator. Although I’ll be using AI CS5, you should be able to achieve this in any version of AI CS. So let’s jump in!
  • Final Product what you'll be creating
  • Step 1
    • I’m going to start out by creating my initial leaf/petal shape. Do this by drawing an even circle with the Ellipse Tool (L) by holding Alt + Shift and dragging outwards. Then use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select the top point of the circle. With your arrow keys on your keyboard, nudge the point up about ten to fifteen spaces. Do the same with the bottom point and about five spaces. Then use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to modify the top handle bars of the two points at the sides of the shape, to give it a more smooth curve.
  • Step 2
    • I’m going to be using two sets of colors for this design. Both can be accessed via the drill down menu in the Swatch panel and going to Open Swatch Library > Neutral. Select the green swatch "Neutral 6". I’ve also used a swatch from Nature > Flowers and the pink selection "Pink Rose" which I’ll use later on. I’ll also need a rustic/organic looking brush for the line art. So in the Brush panel go into the drill down menu and select Open Brush Library > Artistic > Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPenil and select "Pencil – Thin".
    • I’ve given the outside of the leaf the darkest shade of green with a 3pt Stroke Weight and used the lightest shade of green for the fill. The line art isn’t neat and tidy, this is part of the style I’m aiming for so don’t worry.
  • Step 3
    • Enable Smart Guides (Ctrl + U) for this next part, as you’ll find it easier to do. Use the Line Segment Tool (\) to draw a central vertical line from the top to the bottom of the left. Mouse over this line until you see "path" and click and drag to the outside until you see "path" again. This is to ensure the lines you draw are flush to the outline of the shape. Carry on this to draw several lines for the veins of the leaf, so perhaps to be too short to reach the edge. These lines should have the darkest green stroke color with a 2pt Stroke Weight and use the Pencil – Thin brush.
  • Step 4
    • Duplicate the original leaf shape by Copying (Ctrl + C) and Pasting in Front (Ctrl + F). Draw a Rectangle (M) over half of the shape and use Pathfinder > Minus Front to remove half of the shape. With this half of the leaf, change the fill to the second lightest shade of green. The stroke is to remain as before with the Pencil – Thin brush at 3pt.
  • Step 5
    • Group up all your leaf elements (Ctrl + G). Duplicate the group as we’re going to use the same leaf to create a flower. Use the Free Transform Tool (E) to slightly rotate it around 45 degrees. Go to Effects > Distort and Transform > Transform and use the below settings. To give you a break down of what I’m asking it to do, I’m first wishing to have one copy of the leaf mirrored vertically (or on the X Axis) and once it’s mirrored for it to move 10pts Horizontally. I want all these changes to apply to the middle right of the leaf. Click on OK once done.
    • I’m going to apply the Transform Effect again. When you apply a duplicate effect for the first time, Illustrator will ask you if you’re wanting to apply a new effect or modify the current. We’re wanting to apply a new effect. I’m using the settings below and this is what I’m asking it to do. I want Illustrator to treat the two leaves we already have as one entity, so imagine the paired leaves are one group. I want it duplicated four times, so including the original pair of leaves, there will be five sets in total. I’d like the pairs to increase in size for every new set by 110% Horizontal and 110% Vertical (so it’s evenly scaled). I’d like each new set of leaves to be moved down by 60pt and I’d like all this to be applied to the bottom of the leaves in the center. Click on OK once done.
  • Step 6
    • Now to use the duplicate leaf. First I’m going to recolor it with the "Pink Rose" Swatch as accessed earlier. I’m going to apply the Transform Effect to this pink group with the below settings and this is what I’m asking it to do. I’d like to create a petal at every eighth of a circle. So this would mean I’d need eight petals in total, thus 7 copies and 1 original. I’ll need the petals to be rotated instead of Scaled or Moved. Quick maths will be 360 degrees in a circle divided by 8 petals which will give us 1 petal at every 45 degrees. So that will be 45 degrees we enter in the Angle field. Then I want this to be applied to the central bottom of the group. Click on OK once done.
  • Step 7
    • For a quick stem, use the Line Segment Tool (\) to draw a 14pt Vertical line with the dark green shade.
  • Step 8
    • Group up all the elements for your flower (Ctrl + G) and then I’ve reduced the size of the design by going to Object > Transform > Scale. Make sure you put a tick in "Scale Strokes & Effects" otherwise you’ll have some distortion in the design.
    • Finally go to Effects > Distort & Transform > Transform and use the below settings. I’m asking Illustrator to duplicate my flowers three times which will give me four sets in total. I’m also asking for the flower sets to be moved 100pts Horizontally. Once done, click on OK.
  • Conclusion
    • Now you’ve finished your quick and easy flower design. If you go into Outline Mode (Ctrl + Y), you’ll see that the whole design has been created only with two leaf shapes and a line for the stem… this is the major benefit of using the Transform effect for duplicating shapes!

Tip: Control your paths by filling the gaps with Live Paint (CS2/CS3)

  • When you manipulate vector art in Illustrator, sometimes gaps are created between your paths when they don’t line up perfectly. Here’s an easy way to close the gaps and produce perfectly aligned paths.
  • To use Live Paint to fill in path gaps:
    • 1. Select the group of objects.
    • 2. Choose Object > Live Paint > Gap Options to open the Gap Options dialog box.
    • 3. Specify that gaps of a certain size (which you define) will close filled areas.
    • 4. Click OK to fill the gaps.

Tip: Eliminate bounding box interference by snapping directly to your pointer (CS/CS2/CS3)

  • Many designers find precision alignment frustrating in Illustrator because they try to use an object's bounding box to snap to a particular guide or edge. However, this doesn't work because even though an object's bounding box snaps, the bounding box handles don't correspond to the edges of the object.
  • Illustrator always snaps to the pointer, so you need to click on the edge or point you want to align. You can avoid clicking on the bounding box by turning it off. Choose View > Hide Bounding Box. You can also switch to the Scale tool in the Toolbox (Tools panel in CS3), which lets you click on the necessary point or edge without bounding box interference.

Tip:Easily make scaling tweaks with this shortcut (CS/CS2/CS3)

  • Here’s a great method for applying scaling changes to an object when you just need to tweak it slightly. It applies the same scaling to an object in the same increments you previously scaled to.
  • To quickly scale to a set increment:
    • 1. Use the Scale tool to scale an object.
    • 2. Press the [return] ([Enter] in Windows) key to display the Scale dialog box.
    • 3. Press the [return] ([Enter] in Windows) key once more to apply the same scaling percentage again.
  • This is a quick technique that you can also use with many of Illustrator’s other tools, such as clicking on the Selection tool and accessing the Move dialog box or rotating in increments by accessing the Rotation dialog box.

Tip:Quickly cycle through the Character palette options (CS/CS2/CS3)

  • You most likely know that the Character palette allows you to adjust tracking, kerning, and font size. However, did you know there's a keyboard shortcut to help you cycle through these options more quickly?
  • To try out the keyboard shortcuts using the Character palette:
    • 1. Select the Type tool from the Toolbox (Tools panel in CS3)
    • 2. Enter some text on your document.
    • 3. Select the text with the Selection tool.
    • 4. View the Character palette by choosing Window > Type > Character.
    • 5. Hold down the [shift] key as you adjust the Font Size spin box.
  • Instead of increasing and decreasing the font size in increments of one, Illustrator allows you to increase and decrease it in increments of four. The same holds true for the Leading option. However, for the Tracking option, holding down the [shift] key allows you to adjust tracking in increments of 10.

Tip: Instantly move your objects to locked layers (10/CS/CS2)

  • There are lots of times when you lock the layers you aren’t working on to keep them in place. However, sometimes you need to move an object to a locked layer. There's a simple trick you may not know about for moving an object onto a layer that's locked or hidden without having to unlock or unhide the layer.
  • To position artwork onto both hidden and locked layers:
    • 1. Select the artwork you want to move.
    • 2. Highlight the target layer (the locked or hidden layer) in the Layers palette by clicking on the layer.
    • 3. Choose Object > Arrange > Send To Current Layer.
  • Illustrator moves your object to the selected layer regardless of its state.

Tip: Share custom color palettes for time saving integration (CS2)

  • Sharing a custom color palette between applications can save you time, especially when you want to unify several pages in a large project using color. Illustrator CS2 has a neat little feature where you can share custom color swatches between Illustrator and other CS2 Applications. Here’s how to share colors with Adobe InDesign.
  • To help you use and understand the significance of Smart Objects, we'll:
    • Display the Swatches palette by choosing Window > Swatches in Illustrator.
    • Choose Save Swatches For Exchange from the Swatches palette’s pop-up menu to save your set of swatches in the Adobe Swatch Exchange file format.
    • Save the swatches in the same folder as you save your Illustrator document.
    • Open the InDesign file you want to use the Illustrator swatches in.
    • Import the swatch file by choosing Load Swatches from the Swatches palette’s pop-up menu in InDesign.
  • Swatch files in the Adobe Swatch Exchange file format can be read by CS2 versions of photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and GoLive.

Tip: Use Photoshop’s Smart Objects and Smart Filters for streamlined versatility

  • Print and web content can change frequently and if it's your job to make the updates, it can quickly become tiresome when using one application to create the graphic and a different application to publish the content. Instead of having to jump from program to program, you can now manage some of these tasks from within Photoshop through the use of Smart Objects.
  • To share color swatches with InDesign:
    • To share color swatches with InDesign:
    • Explain how Smart Objects preserve the integrity even through countless transformations.
    • Make changes to embedded Illustrator vector art from within Photoshop without harming the original Illustrator file.
    • Apply Smart Filters to your Smart Objects for greater artistic versatility.
  • Read More About This Tip Click Here > Adobe Illustrator Tips

Tip: Create grungy metal surfaces with sophisticated corrosive effects

  • Making metal textures in Photoshop is common practice as you can find numerous techniques almost anywhere on how to create chrome, brushed metal, metallic fonts, galvanized steel, etc., etc., etc. These are all okay if you like shiny new sparkly things, but how can you make super-realistic metal imagery that stands out from the others? Think grungy.
  • To show you how to make grungy metal with character, we'll:
    • Convert basic shapes into realistic cylindrical metal pipes to form a valve.
    • Add texture to the shiny plumbing hardware by adding tarnish and rust to create a realistic aged look.
    • Erase portions of the rust layer to blend the old weathered look with the underlying shiny metal.
  • Read More About This Tip Click Here > Adobe Illustrator Tips

Tip: Eliminate vanishing pencil lines while drawing (CS/CS2)

  • If you’ve ever created an illustration with the Pencil tool you’ve most likely noticed every time you draw a path next to an already selected path, the original line disappears as soon as you draw the next line. Why? Because the Pencil tool defaults to path-editing mode. This means that when you draw a line near a selected previous line, Illustrator assumes you want to edit the previous line, so it deletes the line and replaces it with the new line. Annoying, right? Don’t worry—you can change this behavior. To do so:
    • 1. Double-click on the Pencil tool to open the Pencil Tool Preferences dialog box.
    • 2. Deselect the Edit Selected Paths check box or reduce the pixel distance using the slider at the bottom and click OK.

Tip: Turn a flawed photo into a million-dollar shot

  • When taking a series of photos for a client, it seems like out of the bunch there is at least one flaw you wish you could take out of each picture. Too bad you can't pick and choose the best features and combine them into one unblemished image--but wait, you can with CS3's Auto-Align Layers command.
  • To composite two nearly-identical photos into one ideal photo, we'll:
    • Set up your image layers in the proper order for the Auto-Align Layers command to work correctly.
    • Explain the Auto-Align Layers dialog box options to show you how the tool works to suit your needs.
    • Create a layer mask to reveal the underlying image's content you want to add to the flawed image.

Tip: Quickly access the properties of selected items (CS2)

  • Illustrator CS2 adds a convenient new Control palette to Illustrator’s interface. This palette’s look and feel is similar to the Control palette that made its first appearance in Adobe InDesign. Illustrator’s Control palette provides quick access to settings, such as fill colors, stroke colors, stroke width, opacity, and style (just to name a few). The Control palette reflects the options suitable for the item selected, and displays different options depending on the selection.
  • Before you toggle between numerous palettes, check out the Control palette. It often provides the settings you need without the unnecessary time-consuming hunting for a specific palette.

Tip: Prepare still shots for digital video production

  • Working with video isn't difficult, but it does come with its own set of rules and challenges. Fortunately, Photoshop has all of the right tools you'll need to modify images for digital video.
  • To help you convert an ordinary photo into an image intended for digital video, we'll:
    • Provide you with an understanding of the difference between video camera pixels and Photoshop pixels.
    • Create a new document and assign the proper aspect ratio for video production.
    • Import an image into the properly set document so you can compare the pixel appearances of the two images.
    • Export the image for preview on a video monitor.
  • Your font will jump to the first font that matches the letters you typed.

Tip: Avoid scrolling when searching for a specific font (CS/CS2)

  • Scrolling through a long font list in search of a particular font is a definite waste of time. To eliminate this extra scrolling hassle, Illustrator makes it easy to locate the font you want. Here’s how to do it.
  • To quickly change your font without scrolling:
    • 1. Select the text you want to change the font of.
    • 2. Click to the left of the font name in the Control palette or Character palette.
    • 3. Type the first letter or two of the font name you want.
  • Your font will jump to the first font that matches the letters you typed.

Tip: Create super fast pen-and-ink drawings with the Graphic Pen effect (CS/CS2)

  • For those of you who love the look of pen-and-ink illustrations, but who may not necessarily have the time required to create them, Illustrator’s Graphic Pen effect can help you get the job done. In fact, you can turn a JPEG photo into a pen-and-ink drawing with just a few clicks. Here’s how to do it.
  • To apply the Graphic Pen effect:
    • 1. Choose Effect > Sketch > Graphic Pen to open the Graphic Pen dialog box.
    • 2. Adjust the Stroke Length slider to achieve the stroke length of your choice. We chose 10 in our example to create a choppier effect.
    • 3. Move the Light/Dark Balance slider to 50. We chose this number because we don’t want the subject to contain large shadow areas, and also don’t want it to lose important highlight areas.
    • 4. Choose Right Diagonal from the Stroke Direction pop-up menu.
    • 5. Click OK to apply the Graphic Pen effect to your image.

Tip: Work faster when creating pie graphs (CS/CS2)

  • When graphing, some graphs will work great with your data while others might produce less-than-perfect results. Such is the case with pie graphs. Here are some tips to help you work faster by eliminating some of the trial-and-error and achieve your desired results faster using pie graphs:
    • Pie graphs can have only positive or negative values. Illustrator won’t even convert data into a pie graph if both positive and negative values are present.
    • Although pie graphs are based on percentages, there isn’t a need to convert your data into percent values. Illustrator does the conversion for you.
    • Don’t ungroup your pie graph until you’re absolutely sure the data won’t change. When you ungroup, the association to the data also breaks apart, and prevents future data updating.

Tip: Preserve Illustrator (CS2) paths you paste into InDesign (10/CS/CS2)

  • Heightened compatibility is just one of the many advantages of working in an all-Adobe software workflow. Rather than saving your graphics in a compatible file format and then placing them, for example, you can simply copy and paste vector objects from Illustrator to InDesign and continue to edit them. The ability to do so is controlled by preferences settings in both applications.
  • To enable editing of Illustrator vector objects in InDesign:
    • 1. Launch InDesign.
    • 2. Choose InDesign > Preferences > General Edit > Preferences > General in Windows).
    • 3. Deselect the Prefer PDF When Pasting check box. This option is deselected by default, but you or a coworker may have selected it at one time.
    • 4. Click OK.
    • 5. Launch Illustrator.
    • 6. Choose Illustrator > Preferences > File Handling & Clipboard (Edit > Preferences > File Handling & Clipboard in Windows).
    • 7. Select the AICB (No Transparency Support) check box and the Preserve Paths option button.
    • 8. Click OK.
  • If you’re pasting Illustrator objects that contain transparency, gradients, and patterns, however, you need to select the Prefer PDF When Pasting check box for InDesign to preserve their appearance. Similarly, InDesign objects must be in PDF for you to paste them into Illustrator. InDesign’s preferences option Copy PDF To Clipboard (also in the Clipboard pane) is selected by default to enable this.

Tip: Create crop marks quicker with the Crop Area command (10/CS/CS2)

  • Not every commercially printed project you produce is finished to a standard size of 8½ by 11 inches. Many other items, such as business cards, business envelopes, and monarch note cards, are finished to a variety of different sizes. As such, they require crop marks to indicate exactly where you want the post-press bindery to cut your printed pieces. Although you can draw individual crop marks in your document, you have to be very careful to accurately place them, as well as not accidentally move them as you work. A simple solution to the problem is to let Illustrator do this task for you.
  • For example, follow these steps to set up the crop marks for a standard monarch-size envelope with dimensions of 7.5 by 3.875 inches:
    • 1. Draw a rectangle with the Rectangle tool.
    • 2. Set the Rectangle’s width to 7.5 in. and the height to 3.875 in.
    • 3. Choose Object > Crop Area > Make, and you’ve created crop marks.

Tip: Easily adjust text kerning using your keyboard (10/CS/CS2)

  • Text characters is known as kerning. Most font designers create a font with kerning automatically built into their fonts. But not every kerning character combination works in every situation. Sometimes you have to kern a pair of characters by hand. One way to do this is to select the characters with the Type tool and adjust the space using the Character palette. Another option is to click between the characters with the Type tool, press and hold down [option] ([Alt] in Windows); and then adjust the kerning by pressing either [Left Arrow] or [Right Arrow].

Tip: Take advantage of Outline view to lessen your design time (CS/CS2)

  • Sometimes when using large images or complicated 3-D effects, Illustrator is painstakingly slow when making minor adjustments to your illustrations. We have a quick solution for you when working in multiple layers: Use Outline view. Things move faster when you aren’t waiting for the screen to redraw. Here’s how to use Outline view on every layer besides the one you’re working on.
  • To use Outline view on specific layers:
    • 1. Select the layer you want to work on by clicking on it in the Layers palette.
    • 2. Hold down [command][option] ([Ctrl][Alt] in Windows) and click on the Eye icon beside any other layer in the Layers palette.
  • The layer you’re working on remains in Preview view while all other layers change into Outline view. When you’re finished working on the layer, repeat the previous steps to change the other layers back to Preview view.

Tip: Expand a gradient to create a series of objects (10/CS/CS2)

  • If you have difficulty printing a gradient, we have a solution that may help. Expand the gradient and convert it to a series of objects.
  • To convert your gradient to a series of objects:
    • 1. Select the object that contains the gradient.
    • 2. Choose Object > Expand to display the Expand dialog box.
    • 3. Select either the Gradient Mesh or Specify option button in the Expand Gradient To area.
    • 4. Click OK.
  • To expand a gradient filled object with the last-used settings without displaying the Expand dialog box, hold down [option] ([Alt] in Windows) when choosing Object > Expand.

Tip: Eliminate vanishing pencil lines while drawing in Illustrator

  • If you've ever created an illustration with the Pencil tool you've most likely noticed every time you draw a path next to an already selected path, the original line disappears as soon as you draw the next line. Why? Because the Pencil tool defaults to path-editing mode. This means that when you draw a line near a selected previous line, Illustrator assumes you want to edit the previous line, so it deletes the line and replaces it with the new line. Don't worry, you can change this behavior.
  • To create the button, enter cui to open the Customize User Interface dialog box. Click the New button in the Command List area. In the Properties section, enter ^C^C_line;\\; in the Macro text box, and 1Line in the Name text box. Use the Button Editor to create an image for your button. Then find your new command in the Command List and drag it to any toolbar. Click OK to save the menu change.

Tip: Edit Illustrator type quickly without selecting the Type tool

  • With virtually no effort, you can switch between the Selection tool and the Type tool. This allows you to start editing your text without even selecting the Type tool. While using the Selection tool or the Direct Selection tool, double-click on some text. The Type tool will automatically be activated. The text insertion point will appear in the location where you clicked. How's that for easy?

Tip: Control your paths by filling the gaps with Live Paint (CS2)

  • When you manipulate vector art in Illustrator, sometimes gaps are created between your paths when they don’t line up perfectly. Here’s an easy way to close the gaps and produce perfectly aligned paths.
  • To use Live Paint to fill in path gaps:
    • 1. Select the group of objects.
    • 2. Choose Object > Live Paint > Gap Options to open the Gap Options dialog box.
    • 3. Specify that gaps of a certain size (which you define) will close filled areas.
    • 4. Click OK to fill the gaps.

Tip: Avoid shading to minimize your 3-D web graphic’s file size

  • When designing for the web, it’s a good idea to keep your file size as small as possible for quick page loading. When you’re using the 3D Extrude & Bevel Effect on text or an object, here’s a little feature that will minimize your file size. Select the No Shading option in the Surface pop-up menu on the 3D Extrude & Bevel Options dialog box. This option lets you use far fewer colors. The result is smaller and more consistent graphics.

Tip: Get the real size of your objects (10/CS/CS2)

  • Once you apply a stroke, the size of your object may not be what it seems. The Transform palette may indicate that you have a rectangle that's 50 points wide. However, if you applied a stroke, the rectangle is really larger than 50 points. This discrepancy exists because the Transform palette measures the actual size of the path and ignores any size it gains from an appearance, such as a stroke. This means that a rectangle with a 2-point stroke and one with a 10-point stroke are the same size as far as the Transform palette is concerned.
  • If you want to know an object's true size, you need to enable Preview Bounds in Illustrator's Preferences. To do so, choose Illustrator > Preferences > General. In the resulting dialog box, select the Use Preview Bounds check box, and then click OK. If you have a 50-point rectangle with a 6-point stroke, you'll see the rectangle's true size of 56 points wide.
    • 1. Display the Swatches palette by choosing Window > Swatches in Illustrator.
    • 2. Choose Save Swatches For Exchange from the Swatches palette’s pop-up menu to save your set of swatches in the Adobe Swatch Exchange file format.
    • 3. Save the swatches in the same folder as you save your Illustrator document.
    • 4. Open the InDesign file you want to use the Illustrator swatches in.
    • 5. Import the swatch file by choosing Load Swatches from the Swatches palette’s pop-up menu in InDesign.
  • Swatch files in the Adobe Swatch Exchange file format can be read by CS2 versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and GoLive.

Tip: Create your own style by merging graphic styles (10/CS/CS2)

  • Although Illustrator has a library of graphic styles to choose from, you can feel limited with your choices or you may like some elements from different styles. One way to expand your library of graphic styles quickly is to create additional styles by merging existing styles together.
  • To merge existing styles:
    • 1. Find two or more styles in the Graphic Styles palette.
    • 2. Press [command] ([Ctrl] in Windows) and click on the styles. If the styles are adjacent, then [shift]-click.
    • 3. Choose Merge Graphic Styles from the palette’s pop-up menu.
    • 4. Name your style in the Graphic Styles Options dialog box and click OK to create a new style.

Tip: Eliminate vanishing pencil lines while drawing (10/CS/CS2)

  • If you’ve ever created an illustration with the Pencil tool you’ve most likely noticed every time you draw a path next to an already selected path, the original line disappears as soon as you draw the next line. Why? Because the Pencil tool defaults to path-editing mode. This means that when you draw a line near a selected previous line, Illustrator assumes you want to edit the previous line, so it deletes the line and replaces it with the new line. Annoying, right? Don’t worry—you can change this behavior. To do so:
    • 1. Double-click on the Pencil tool to open the Pencil Tool Preferences dialog box.
    • 2. Deselect the Edit Selected Paths check box or reduce the pixel distance using the slider at the bottom and click OK.

Tip: Straighten jagged lines when cutting objects with the Knife tool (10/CS/CS2)

  • When using the Knife tool to divide your objects into pieces, it’s hard to control the cut lines as you draw them. You may find the cut is slightly random and can’t be predicted. However, there is a way to control your cut lines to produce straight ones.
  • To draw a straight line when dividing an object:
    • 1. Pick an object you’d like to divide into pieces.
    • 2. Select the Knife tool.
    • 3. Hold down the [option] ([Alt] in Windows) key while drawing the cut line.
  • This ensures a straight line every time.

Tip: Use the blend tool to quickly create multiple lines (10/CS/CS2)

  • You may need to draw several lines, but find the process gets tiresome when using the Pen tool. When this situation occurs, try using the Blend tool to create several lines instead of drawing them individually with the Pen tool.
  • To use the blend tool to create multiple lines:
    • 1. Draw two lines using the Pen tool.
    • 2. Select both lines using the [shift] key and the Selection tool.
    • 3. Double-click on the Blend tool to display the Blend Options dialog box.
    • 4. Select Specified Steps in the Spacing pop-up menu.
    • 5. Type the number of steps in the text box that you'd like to produce and click OK.
    • 6. Click on the two lines you drew with the Pen tool.
  • The Blend tool creates all the lines you planned on drawing.

Tip: Avoid scrolling when searching for a specific font (10/CS/CS2)

  • Scrolling through a long font list in search of a particular font is a definite waste of time. To eliminate this extra scrolling hassle, Illustrator makes it easy to locate the font you want. Here’s how to do it.
  • To quickly change your font without scrolling:
    • 1. Select the text you want to change the font of.
    • 2. Click to the left of the font name in the Control palette or Character palette.
    • 3. Type the first letter or two of the font name you want.
  • Your font will jump to the first font that matches the letters you typed.

Tip: Control your nudge (10/CS/CS2)

  • While dragging to position your objects, you may find that it’s hard to move them precisely without zooming in on your project. When you zoom in, it’s hard to view the entire design to see how the movements affect your project as a whole. Here’s a solution to eliminate the zoom all together: use the arrow keys on your keyboard. Better yet, how about controlling the increment amount for more precision? To do this, choose Illustrator > Preferences > General (Edit > Preferences > General in Windows) Then, enter an amount in the Keyboard Increment text box. The default is 1. Then, Click OK.
  • Here’s another little trick to know while using the arrow nudging technique. Hold down the [option] key ([Alt] in Windows) while clicking the arrow key. Every time you click, you’ll leave a copy of the nudged object behind.

Tip: Create copies as you scale or rotate for fast transformations (10/CS/CS2)

  • You can select an object’s bounding box with the Selection tools, and then use the Transformation tools to scale and rotate. But what if you’d like to make copies as you transform the object? Here’s a way you can scale or rotate and make copies simultaneously while avoiding the copy and paste commands. To do so, select the Transformation tool and hold down the [option] key ([Alt] in Windows) as you rotate or scale.

Tip: Switch your colors in a snap without using the Appearance palette (10/CS/CS2)

  • Using the Appearance palette to apply the opposite colors on an object wastes a lot of mouse clicks and time. You can change the stroke and fill effortlessly. All you have to do is select the item with the Selection tool or the Direct Selection tool. Then, press [shift]X. The fill and stroke are swapped.

Tip: Edit type quickly without selecting the Type tool (10/CS/CS2)

  • With virtually no effort, you can switch between the Selection tool and the Type tool. This allows you to start editing your text without even selecting the Type tool. While using the Selection tool or the Direct Selection tool, double-click on some text. The Type tool will automatically be activated. The text insertion point will appear in the location where you clicked. How’s that for easy?

Tip: On-the-fly editing with the Pen tool (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • Once you create a path with the Pen tool, notice how it automatically changes to the Add Anchor Point tool when you move it over a selected path.  It also switches to the Delete Anchor Point tool when you place it on an anchor point.  By pressing the [option] key ([Alt] key in Windows), you can access the Convert Anchor Point tool.  All of these functions combine to let you edit as you go.

Tip: Get the real size of your objects (10/CS/CS2)

  • Once you apply a stroke, the size of your object may not be what it seems. The Transform palette may indicate that you have a rectangle that's 50 points wide. However, if you applied a stroke, the rectangle is really larger than 50 points. This discrepancy exists because the Transform palette measures the actual size of the path and ignores any size it gains from an appearance, such as a stroke. This means that a rectangle with a 2-point stroke and one with a 10-point stroke are the same size as far as the Transform palette is concerned.
  • If you want to know an object's true size, you need to enable Preview Bounds in Illustrator's Preferences. To do so, choose Illustrator > Preferences > General. In the resulting dialog box, select the Use Preview Bounds check box, and then click OK. If you have a 50-point rectangle with a 6-point stroke, you'll see the rectangle's true size of 56 points wide.

Tip: Fix text quickly with Change Case (10/CS/CS2)

  • When you're working with point type or setting a headline, you may decide all the text would look better in all caps rather than upper- and lowercase letters. Instead of retyping your text, you can select it and use the Change Case command. To try it out, type some text and then select it with the Type tool. You must select it by dragging the Type tool's insertion point across the text so that a black bar covers all the text; don't just select the text path. Then, choose Type > Change Case. In the resulting dialog box, select the Uppercase, Lowercase, or Mixed Case option button. Click OK to apply your change and your text updates instantly. This works for all Roman type but not CJK fonts such as Chinese or Japanese.

Tip: Tracing objects in Photoshop rather than Illustrator (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • If you aren't happy with the products of Illustrator's Autotrace tool, try tracing the photos in Photoshop and exporting the paths to Illustrator.  Photoshop's Magnetic Pen tool combines the power of a pen tool with that of a tracing function.  With it, you'll get more useful  paths.  Once the paths are created, export them to Illustrator by choosing File > Export > Paths To Illustrator.

Tip: Smoother rotation with the Rotate tool (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • When you use the Rotate tool to revolve an object, it drops a target to show you the point of the rotation's origin.  To gain more precise control over rotation, don't click too near the point of origin to rotate.  If you do so, the mouse movements will be greatly exaggerated.  By clicking farther away from the origin, you can make more precise adjustments with the mouse.

Tip: Get better access to tools with tear-off menus (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • You can gain quicker access to tool menus by tearing the whole menu off the main bar.  For example, click and hold on the Pencil tool.  When the menu opens, drag across the menu to the side tab.  Once it turns gray, release the mouse and the menu will tear off giving you easy access to all the Pencil-related tools.

Tip: Get an uncluttered view (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • Sometimes when you're working on an illustration, you'll find that all the floating palettes and the Toolbox seem to just get in your way.  For times when you need an uncluttered view of your artwork, just press the [tab] key.  All of your palettes and the Toolbox will be out of your way.  Pressing the [tab] key once again will return them to view.  If you want to work with only the palettes hidden, press [shift][tab] instead.  this hides all the palettes except for the Toolbox, so you can still keep working.

Tip: Select all the objects on a layer (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • To select all the objects on a particular layer, simply [option]-click ([Alt]-click in Windows) on the layer and all the layer's contents will be selected.

Tip: Enhancing workflow with contextual menus (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • Using contextual menus is easy.  In Windows, right-click on the document.  On the Mac, hold down the [control] key and click on the document.  Illustrator's contextual menus always let you select objects in the document relative to your current position.  Everything else in the menu is dependent on which tool is selected.  For example, if you have a path selected, the contextual menu gives you relevant options, such as making it into a mask, transforming it, or arranging its position in the stacking order.

Tip: Reposition a shape as you draw (Illustrator 9/10.x)

  • If you're drawing a shape and discover you're creating it in the wrong place, just hold down the [spacebar] and drag the shape to a new location and continue drawing.

Tip:Get an uncluttered view (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • Sometimes when you're working on an illustration, you'll find that all the floating palettes and the Toolbox seem to get in your way. For times when you need an uncluttered view of your artwork, just press the [tab] key. All of your palettes and the Toolbox will be out of your way. Pressing the [tab] key once again will return them to view. If you want only the palettes hidden, press [shift][tab] instead. This hides all the palettes except for the Toolbox, so you can still keep working.

Tip:Modifying stars as you draw them (Illustrator 9/10.x)

  • Knowing a few shortcut key commands can help you modify a star as you draw it with the Star tool.  You can change the number of points in the star by pressing the up and down arrow keys as you draw.  You can also change the length of the arms by holding down the [command] key ([Ctrl] key in Windows).  If you make them too long, a quick tap of the [option] key ([Alt] key in Windows) will fatten the star again and let you start over without ever releasing the mouse.

Tip:Get better access to tools with tear-off menus (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • You can gain quicker access to tool menus by tearing the whole menu off the Toolbox. For example, click and hold on the Pencil tool. When the menu opens, drag your mouse pointer across the menu to the side tab. Once it turns gray, release the mouse and the menu will tear off giving you easy access to all the Pencil-related tools.

Tip:Using the Styles palette in Illustrator (10.x)

  • If you've created a lot of styles, it's likely that quite a few won't have pictures to help you identify them.  If you take the time to name your styles, you can located them more easily by choosing Small List View from the Styles palette's pop-up menu.  This enables you to pick out a style based on its name rather than its appearance.

Tip:Dragging guides in Illustrator (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • With the Rulers visible ([command]R or [Ctrl]R in Windows), if you hold down the [option] key ([Alt] key in Windows) as you drag a guide from the vertical ruler, you can create a horizontal guide instead of a vertical guide. You can use the same technique to pull a vertical guide from the horizontal guide at the top of the Illustrator window.

Tip:Adobe Help files might not work after installing Windows XP Service Pack 2 update (Illustrator 10/CS)

  • If you've installed the new Windows XP Service Pack 2 to take advantage of the improved security features, you might get a surprise when it comes to your Adobe apps. Apparently, when you open or search the Help feature in many Adobe applications with a system that has SP2 applied, you get a variety of different messages that warn you of serious security infractions. There are a few options on getting around this problem, but no true fix from Adobe has been offered yet. To read more about your options, check out www.adobe.com/support/techdocs/330621.html.

Tip:Working with the Spiral tool in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • You might think the Spiral tool just creates a basic spiral but it has detailed controls like many other Illustrator tools.  Select the Spiral tool from the Toolbox and click it on your document to open the Spiral dialog box.  Here you can specify the radius, the rate of decay, which specifies how much each wind will decrease relative to the previous wind.  You can also specify the number of segments you want in the spiral.  Each wind of the spiral consists of four segments.  Lastly, you can specify whether you want a clockwise or counterclockwise direction for the spiral.  Once you've made your settings, click OK and the spiral appears instantly.

Tip:Get started with Version Cue to save time and aggravation (Illustrator CS)

  • The Adobe Creative Suite (CS) includes Adobe Version Cue, an integrated feature designed to help you be more productive by saving valuable time. Version Cue helps you easily create, manage, and find different versions of your project files. For instance, Version Cue creates simple and universal access to all versions of your files. If you collaborate with others, you and your group can share project files in a multi-user environment that protects content from being overwritten. You can also maintain descriptive comments with each version, search embedded file information to quickly locate files, and work with other file-management features without leaving Adobe CS.

Tip:Import Excel data to create graphs more easily in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • Rather than entering a lot of data in by hand, you can just import a text file of your data that you generate from Excel.  To do this, open a spreadsheet in excel and choose File > Save As.  From the format pop-up menu, select Text (Tab Delimited).  Name and save your file.  To use the file in Illustrator, select the Graph tool of your choice from the Toolbox and click on your document.  In the Graph dialog box, enter the desired width and height.  then, click OK.  In the resulting dialog box, click the Import Data button and navigate to the text file you exported from Excel.  Click Import (Open in Windows) to bring the data into Illustrator.  Then, click the Apply button to build the graph.

Tip:Toggle your fill and stroke in Illustrator (9/10/CS)

  • If you'd like to toggle between your fill and stroke without accessing the Toolbar, you can press the X key. This lets you switch your fill and stroke quickly at the touch of a button.

Tip:Hanging punctuation (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • If you ever want to keep your text lined up but can't because of quotation marks or other punctuation at the left or right margin of your text block, use Illustrator's hanging punctuation feature. Hanging punctuation refers to punctuation that "hangs" outside the edges of a text block. To change ordinary punctuation marks into hanging punctuation, select your text and then click on the Paragraph palette's pop-up menu, choosing Roman Hanging Punctuation. (In Illustrator 9 and 10, select Show Options from the pop-up menu and then select the Hang Punctuation check box in the Options section of the dialog box).

Tip:Retrieve embedded images from Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • To retrieve an embedded image from an Illustrator document, select it and then choose Edit > Cut.  The image goes to the clipboard.  Then, launch Photoshop, create a new document, and choose Edit > Paste to paste the image into the Photoshop document.  However, if you scaled the image in Illustrator, it pastes into Photoshop at the scaled dimensions.  So, before you cut the image, get its real dimensions from the Document Info palette in Illustrator.  To do this, choose Window > Document Info.  Then, choose embedded Images from the palette's pop-up menu.  Write down the pixel dimensions of the image to use when you create your Photoshop file.  then, when you paste the image, scale it to fit.

Tip:Rotating and moving patterns in filled objects (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • If you're drawing objects in Illustrator and filling these objects with patterns, chances are your patterns don't always line up the way you expect. You can move and rotate the pattern inside the object. Choose the Direct Selection tool and select any part of your illustration that contains the pattern. Press the tilde [~] key and hold it as you press the arrow keys to move the pattern. You can also use the Shear tool, Rotate tool, and Reflect tool to adjust the location of the pattern.

Tip:Subdivide shapes with the Knife or Divide button in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • If you want to break a shape into smaller corresponding shapes, you can do so easily with either the Toolbox's Knife tool or the Pathfinder palette's Divide button.  The Knife tool is a good choice if you want curves and non-precise shapes because it's a freeform tool.  To use the Divide button, you'll need to draw lines on top of our shape and then select them all and click the Divide button.  This option gives you the opportunity to subdivide a shape into separate shapes very precisely.

Tip:Enjoy the convenience of seeing your placed image in outline mode (Illustrator CS)

  • If you want the speed of working in Outline mode but you still need to see some placed files, choose File > Document Setup. In the resulting dialog box, select Artboard from the top-left pop-up menu. In the View section, select the Show Images In Outline Mode check box, and then click OK.

Tip:Better control of scrolling and panning the artboard in CS (Illustrator CS)

  • Illustrator CS has a new preference that lets you specify faster scrolling and panning. To set it, choose Illustrator > Preferences > Units & Display Performance (Edit > Preferences > Units & Display Performance in Windows). At the bottom of the dialog box, you'll see the Display Performance section where you can specify if you want Full Quality or Faster Updates with the Hand Tool slider.

Tip:Lock important colors in GIFS when using Save For Web in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • When you're saving a graphic as a GIF, the GIF algorithm chooses the 256 most represented colors in order to create the palette.  However, you may want to save your GIF with even fewer colors than 256, and this can cause an important color to be dropped from the palette.  To prevent this from happening, in the Save For Web dialog box either select the color and click the Lock button or choose Lock/Unlock Selected Colors from the Color Table palette's pop-up menu.  A white square with a dot center appears in the lower-right corner of a locked color.  By locking important colors, you prevent them from being dropped or dithered when you reduce the number of colors in the image.  You can unlock colors by choosing Unlock All Colors from the Color Table palette's pop-up menu.

Tip:If you want the same settings, you can open new documents quickly in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • If you want to create a document with the same settings (artboard, orientation, color mode) as the one you're currently working on, then you can skip the new Document dialog box by pressing [command][option]N ([Ctrl][Alt]N in Windows).  A new document opens with the settings you last used.

Tip:Combine graph styles into one graph illustration (Illustrator CS)

  • You can combine two or more graph types into one graph (with the exception of scatter graphs). Use the Group Selection tool to click the legend for the data of the graph you want to change. Click again without moving the selection cursor to select all the columns in that graph. Double-click on the graph tool in the tool box, select the graph type you want, and click OK. Repeat for as many different graph types as you want to create.

Tip:Preview a Web version of your artwork (Illustrator CS)

  • When you create artwork for the Web you'll eventually save it as a JPEG, GIF, or PNG file at which time Illustrator will rasterized it to 72 pixels per inch. Before saving, you can preview how your artwork will look by choosing View > Pixel Preview.

Tip:Scratch disk affects performance (Illustrator 9/10/CS)

  • The access speed of the disk containing the data Illustrator reads and writes during the development of a file contributes or detracts from its speed and performance. Set your primary scratch disk in the Preferences dialog box to an internal hard drive with plenty of available space rather than a network server or removable media drives.

Tip:Locate objects in complex documents in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • With all the layers and sublayer options available in Illustrator, it can be difficult to find where exactly an object is located within a complex document.  You can do it easily with the Locate Object command.  To use it, select an object on the artboard.  then, choose Locate Object from the Layers palette's pop-up menu.  If the Show Layers Only check box is selected in the Layers Palette Options dialog box, then the command will say locate Layer instead.

Tip:Spell check in multiple languages in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • Illustrator supports multiple languages, even for spell checking.  You just need to select the dictionary you want to use.  To do so, choose Type > Check Spelling.  In the resulting Check Spelling dialog box, click the Language button.  In the Save dialog box, select the appropriate language dictionary in the Text Filters folder, which is found in the Plug-ins folder inside the Adobe Illustrator application folder.  Then, click Open.

Tip:Use Outline display and still see selected items rendered (Illustrator CS)

  • If you want the speed of working in Outline mode but you still need to see some placed files, choose File > Document Setup. In the resulting dialog box, select Artboard from the top-left pop-up menu. In the View section, select the Show Images In Outline Mode check box, and then click OK.

Tip:Faster scrolling with the Hand Tool slider (Illustrator CS)

  • Illustrator CS has a new preference that lets you specify faster scrolling and panning. To set it, choose Illustrator > Preferences > Units & Display Performance (Edit > Preferences > Units & Display Performance in Windows). At the bottom of the dialog box, you'll see the Display Performance section where you can move the Hand Tool slider to specify if you want Full Quality or Faster Updates.

Tip:Hiding the artboard in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • If you sometimes find the artboard distracting, you can hide it by choosing View > Show Artboard.

Tip:Creating new brush libraries (Illustrator 10/CS)

  • You can create your own custom brush libraries by adding the brushes you want to the Brushes palette, and then deleting any brushes you don't want. To save the library, choose Save Brush Library from the Brushes palette menu. You can save the library anywhere. If you want to access your library from the Brush Libraries submenu and the Open Brush Library submenu, then you'll need to save your library to Illustrator's Presets/Brushes folder. This is a really nice way to have quick access to your brush libraries, but if you should ever need to reinstall Illustrator, be aware that you'll overwrite your custom work. So, it may be better to save a copy of the library elsewhere if it's important to you.

Tip:Changing a grid's position in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • When you work with a grid, you can have it positioned either in front of or behind your graphics.  In Windows or OS 9, choose Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid.  In OS X, choose Illustrator > Preferences > Guides & Grid.  Select the Grids In Back check box to display the grid behind all your artwork.  Deselect the option to display the grid in front of all your artwork.

Tip:Apply gradients across multiple objects in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • You can spread a gradient across multiple objects by filling each object with a gradient first.  Select all of the objects and then select the Gradient tool.  Position the pointer where you want the gradient to begin and then drag across the objects in the direction you want the gradient to be painted.  Release the mouse button where you want to end the gradient.

Tip:A variety of ways to make artwork nonprinting in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • You can prevent artwork from printing by simply hiding the layer it's on.  However, if you want artwork to be seen and exported but not print, you can do that by double-clicking on the layer to open the Layer Options dialog box.  Deselect the Print check box and then click OK.  The layer name will be in italic.  If you want artwork to be visible but not export or print, select the Template check box in the Layer Options dialog box.

Tip:Use center points for alignment in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • When you create a rectangle or an ellipse, it should have a center point that you can use for alignment.  You can drag an object by the center point or use it to align the object with other elements with the help of Smart guides or the grid.  If you can's see a center point, check the Attributes palette and click the Show Center button.

Tip:Control flattening with Paste Remembers Layers in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • When copying an illustration from one document to another, be sure that the paste Remembers Layers option in the Layers palette's pop-up menu is selected in your new document if you want to preserve the order of your layers.  If you want the pasted illustration to be flattened, deselect the Paste Remembers Layers option in the new document.

Tip:Specify the origin rotation with the Transform palette in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • Instead of always rotating around the center point, you can change the origin of rotation by changing the reference point proxy in the Transform palette.  To try this out, draw a line with the Line Segment tool and then click the middle left square on the reference point proxy in the A Transform palette.  Select a rotation angle or enter one in the Rotate text box.  Your line will then rotate from the left rather than the center.

Tip:Changing the Default style in Illustrator (9/10.x)

  • When you first launch Illustrator, any object you create has a 1-point black stroke and a white fill.  If this doesn't suit you, you can change this style to something else by updating the Default style in the Styles palette.  to see how this works, draw a square that has the Attributes you desire, such as a square with no fill and a 2-point stroke.  Then, [option]-drag ([Alt]-drag in Windows) the square onto the Default style (upper-left style) in the Styles palette.  Then, just press the D key to apply it to any object you create.  If you want to make the Default style change permanent, you need to do this in the CMYK and RGB Startup files; otherwise, it will only apply to the current document.

Tip:Changing grid appearance (Illustrator 10/CS)

  • Depending on what you're working on, you may find it more convenient to have the grid either behind or in front of your artwork.  By default, grids always appear behind your artwork.  To move it on top of your artwork, choose Illustrator > Preferences > Guides & Grid (Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid in Windows) to access the grid's preferences.  Then, deselect the Grids in Back check box.  Besides moving the grid to the front or back, you can also change the color, style, and spacing of your grid lines in this dialog box.
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