Illustrator tips

This is where I collect shortcuts, tutorials and quick solutions that I have learned since I began using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in 2011.

Draw or resize shapes and selections from the centre in Illustrator

Hold alt/cmd while drawing with the mouse. This is especially useful for creating concentric shapes. Found this tip useful? Find out how to move a shape/selection while drawing.

Apply a gradient fill across multiple objects in Illustrator

To apply a gradient fill across multiple objects in Illustrator, select all the objects (drag to select, or shift+click), select the Gradient Tool, and drag out the gradient in the direction you want. With all the relevant objects selected, click the Gradient tool icon (or press G on your keyboard). Then click and hold the […]

Maintain or scale stroke width while resizing in Illustrator

To keep stroke width constant, or change (along with other properties) in proportion to objects and text when resizing, go to Edit>Preferences>General – then check or uncheck “Scale Strokes and Effects”. CHECKED – maintain the same overall appearance however the object or text is resized; the stroke will remain in proportion to the size of […]

Creating and exporting a print document in Illustrator CS5

This document is written for Illustrator CS5 onwards. Read the Illustrator CS3 tutorial here, where you can find out about “bleed” and the printing “safe zone”. Any printed work should be in CMYK mode, 300dpi resolution. Illustrator CS5 makes it much easier to set up a document, and export files for print. It all starts […]

Apply gradient fill to editable text in Illustrator

For a long time I used Type>Create Outlines to turn my text into objects, then applied a gradient fill. This is fine, but means that your text is no longer editable. I usually created a copy of the editable text before creating outlines and hid it in the layers panel, just in case I needed […]

Change rounded rectangle corner radius while drawing in Illustrator

Press the up/down arrows on the keyboard to adjust the radius of the rounded rectangle corners while drawing it. Use the left and right arrows to quickly adjust to the minimum and maximum radii respectively. use left (decrease) and right (increase) arrows to change the corner radius Found this tip useful? Find out how to […]

Make crop area in Illustrator CS3

Create a rectangle, in the size and position of your required crop area. Go to Object>Crop Area>Make To remove (release) the crop area, ensure you select a visible layer and go to Object>Crop Area>Release Did you find this helpful? Find out more about creating a print document in Illustrator CS3 or in CS5.

Creating a print document in Illustrator CS3

This document is written for Illustrator CS3. Read the Illustrator CS5 print document creation tutorial here. Any printed work should be in CMYK mode, 300dpi resolution. About bleed and the printing “safe zone” Bleed ensures that the design will reach the edge of the paper (“medium”) when printed and cut down to size. A design […]

Constant rounded rectangle corner radius in Illustrator

Use Effect>Stylize>Round Corners… Create a square-cornered rectangle and apply the rounded corner effect with your desired radius. This will keep the corner radius at a constant value, however you resize the object or line. This avoids the annoying problem of “squashed” radii on rounded rectangles or paths after resizing. Or, if you like using rounded […]

Align by centre without moving one object in Illustrator

Select the objects to align, then click the object you want to keep in position (without shift held). This makes the object the alignment “master”. Now choose “align centres”. The master object will remain in position and the other objects will move to be aligned centrally. normallly, if you choose to align these objects by […]

Align to page in Illustrator CS3

Click the “artboard” icon in the Align palette. Now select the object(s) to align, and the alignment you require. Select the artboard icon to align to page To align a number of objects, in their current orientation, to the page, group them first. Then align (with the artboard icon selected), then you can ungroup them later. […]

Move a selection or shape while drawing in Illustrator

Hold down SPACE BAR while dragging out the selection/shape to reposition. Release space bar to return to resize mode. We’ve all had trouble accurately dragging out a selection box, especially when using an ellipse or rounded rectangle box. Well, maybe not all of us, but I definitely have. I find this especially useful when I […]

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