Adobe Illustrator CC - Advanced Training

Advanced Keyboard Shortcuts for Adobe Illustrator CC

Daniel Walter Scott

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All right, it is keyboard shortcut time, the advanced stuff, at least. Now, there is a PDF you can download, print it off, stick it next to your computer. It's at, and there's a Resources tab there, go download that, it's free. Let's carry on. 

So the first two, and most useful are 'Command Y'. That just turns it into Outline mode. I'm on a Mac, so it's 'Command' on a Mac, or 'Control Y' on a PC. Just gets into Outline mode. Another handy one I use is, say I want to color this guy in the inside here, now there's all these dots, and Anchor points and targets everywhere, and you're like "Just go away for a second." It's 'Command H', or 'Control H' on a PC. It's still selected I can go over here, pick my color, it's just hid it. Hid all the Anchor points. Even all the handles, 'Command H' turns it back on. 'Command H' just kind of cleans everything up temporarily. 

Now 'X' is an interesting one, if I click on this guy, and can you see, over here, I've got my Fill to the front. If you tap 'X' key, it brings the Stroke to the front. That can be kind of handy. It's going to be handy when we combine it with a couple of other tricks. It just means that I can switch him around to who’s active. The other nice thing is, let's say that I draw something, and what I meant to do is actually give it a Stroke of blue, and no Fill. I want to switch him around, so 'Shift X' just toggles. It basically is a shortcut for this little arrow that we all click. So 'Shift X' is a real handy one. 

Another handy one is, you're like, "Man, why is everything blue?" just hit 'D'. Just 'D' on the keyboard, nothing, no other shortcuts. And it just switches it to the default colors, which is a full of white, and you can see a Stroke of black, or you can just see it. So often I just click on 'D'. Just to go back to the defaults if it's doing crazy stuff. 

Next shortcut, let's use this guy. You're looking at your keyboard, right? Have a look down. Next to your M key, there is a comma ',', a period '.', and a forward slash '/'. Those three keys are quite useful. Let's say I want the Fill, remember our shortcut, I want the Fill at the front. This is the X key we did earlier. Our Fill is at the front, so that's the thing that I'm dealing with. Now if I tap all three of those keys, the first one the comma gives it a Fill, which is not doing anything at the moment, but the period is giving it a Gradient, just kind of like adds Gradients. 

The next one, forward slash, gives it no Fill. So what I use-- Gradients, it's a real easy one because-- surprisingly hard, you're like "I want to add a Gradient" and you're like, "Was there a Swatch somewhere, do I grab the Gradient tool, open the panel?" Just hit period '.', and you get an ugly Gradient, but you know you can go through and fix it up. Now let's say I want to go back to a Fill color, I'm going to put in my comma ','. Comma goes back to the Fill color. Best one probably is the forward slash '/', right? Gives it no Fill. Goodbye, whale. Come back. So those little three keys next to each other. Let's go on to the next one. 

So next shortcut is the Shape Builder Tool. If I select all these with my Black Arrow, Shape Builder Tool, we looked at this earlier. Hold 'Shift', I can just drag a box around them all. And it just kind of merges them all in like the Path Finder. Super handy. I'm going to undo. The next one is Step & Repeat, or duplicate, what I did. I'm going to draw out a box, grab my 'Black Arrow'. Hold down the 'Alt' key on a PC, 'Option' key on a Mac to make a duplicate. And I want a few more. Then it's just 'Command' on a Mac, or 'Control' on a PC and just keep hitting 'D'. Kind of duplicates them out. I often do this when I want lines. I went through a phase of like having 80's lines of everything. So I'm going to give it a Stroke. Let's say I want to drag it down a little bit, so I'm going to select you, I'll drag it this way. Then 'Command D', or 'Control D' on a PC, and you get just kind of Steps and Repeats. 

The next shortcut is finding things underneath other things. Let's say I've got this on top of my whale. And you're like, "I want to get to the whale underneath," for whatever reason. Let's say I've got the Opacity down, unless I'm doing some cool effects, but you need to get to the whale, but I can't, right? It's kind of hidden underneath this box. All you need to do to hold down, is grab your 'Selection Tool'. Then hold down the 'Command' key on a Mac, or 'Control' on a PC. I kind of watch the icon, it changes a little bit. Click on it once, and you get this little weird chevron in there. It just means it's going to select through things. And let's say, now I can go and change the color of it. Even though it was hidden underneath. So just hold down 'Command'' on a Mac, or 'Control' on a PC, just keep clicking. And if you've got loads on top of each other you can just keep clicking, and it will all eventually get to a layer you need. If you need it at the front, you can go to 'Arrange', 'Bring to Front' or use your shortcut, which is 'Command Shift' and the square bracket, the close square bracket ']'. That square bracket is up next to the 'P' key. 

Next shortcut is to do with text. If I select all this text, I want to make it bigger, I hold down the 'Command Shift' key, and hit the period '.' key. That was on a Mac, if you're on a PC, it's 'Control Shift', then tap period. Now comma ',' goes down. You're actually looking at those chevrons on the same keys but you get the idea, right? Up and down. Now Tracking, if I hold down the 'Option' key on a Mac, or the 'Alt' key on a PC, with this all selected, I can use my left and right arrows to open it up, or to track it in. You can do a pure letter, say that you're worried about the spacing in here. Just hit the cursor flashing between the letter, hold down the 'Alt' key on a PC, 'Option' key on a Mac, left and right. 

Let's say you want to deal with the Leading. I'm going to select all of this and I'm going to use that same key, 'Alt' or 'Option' depending on your computer. And use up and down, rather than left and right, for tracking. You can play around with the Leading. Let's look at the next shortcut. It's going to be holding down the 'Shift' key, it's more like a modified key. So if I select all of this, and I want to use my X and Y, the first trick I guess is in here, instead of just typing it in, just hit the 'up' and 'down'. You can see, it just moves it left, or moves it up and down in terms of numbers rather than trying to type it in. What we can also do is hold down the 'Shift' key. They just kind of times whatever it is by 10. So it's going up and down by 1 point, if I hold 'Shift', it goes by 10 points. It's just that quicker way of moving. That works for all of them, if I click in here for the rotation, if I click 'up' once, just going to go up by 1 point, hold 'Shift', and it goes up by loads of 10. 

Now that's for lots of things. If you're like, "Man, I wish for this to go faster," generally just hold the 'Shift' key, and do whatever you were doing, and it will go 10 times faster. Another really handy one is, I've got my 'Black Arrow' selected, just got my whale selected, I'm just using my keyboard just to tap things around, but often it moves into bigger chunks for me. It's kind of too far. I know it's only moving slightly but it's actually quite a big leap, left and right. So what you do is have nothing selected, click in the background and over here, where it says 'Keyboard Increment'. If you can't see this, if you're on an earlier version of Illustrator, jump into your 'Preferences', you'll find it in there. 

1 point's not-- yes, it's too big, so I've got 0.1, and I find that's a nice kind of happy medium because now if I'm moving it, you can see, ever so slightly, it's moving. I'm holding it down, and it's moving full steam but it's only a slight adjustment, but because of that modified key 'Shift' I can move it in those bigger chunks, right? I can move by 1 point if I need to, but mainly I want just a little tap, just tap, tap, tap. 

Next shortcut is, if you grab this Star Tool, it's underneath the Rectangle Tool. If you drag a star out before you let go of it, so I haven't let go of my star to make it, so I'm still drawing but if you use the up and down arrows just kind of adds more or less star patterns. So just up and down, super easy. So now we have a star with no Fill. Good work, Dan. The next one you probably already know, is 'Command Tab'. If you're on a PC, it's 'Control Tab' and it just toggles you between different programs that are open. I'm just holding down the 'Command' key, or the 'Control' key on a PC. It just kind of allows me to cycle through the programs so I can jump between Photoshop and Illustrator. Within any of the programs, so that works obviously for your whole system. 

Let's say I open up a new document, and I want to toggle between these two. It's a similar key. So you hold down the 'Command' on a Mac, or 'Control ' key on a PC. You're looking for the apostrophe key. On my keyboard it's above my Tab key, next to number 1 along the top. Yours might be somewhere different often. It can be different places. Just kind of toggles between the tabs that are open. That works in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, After Effects, anything that's kind of Adobe, that will work. And in fact they work inside Word so you're not jumping out to new programs, just new windows within that program. 

Another handy one. Say I want to show somebody my amazing design. Internally in the office, I want to kind of like, "Hey, look at my whale," I tap the 'F' key once, and the 'F' key twice. And it goes into kind of full on display mode. Kind of gets rid of all the outsides. You can still work in here if you know your shortcuts, I can grab the 'V' key for the Move Tool. And I'm going to grab my 'Shape Builder Tool'. You know what the shortcut is, remember? 'Shift M'. And I can start drawing these things. Okay, I didn't select it all. 'Shift M'. But if you know some of the shortcuts you can work this way. I'd work this way if I was maybe doing kind of a redraw. Something long and tedious, and I knew the shortcuts, and I was working on say, a laptop where the screen's really small. Or like this, you can just present this way.

If you want to have a bit of both, say you want to select on this and change the color, just hover the mouse over the side, and it pops up for a second. Then click back over here, and it will disappear again. So for presenting, and just a good use of space if you've got a small laptop. Now the last one is, it's interesting, let's grab the 'Star Tool', you can grab any tool. I am going to give it-- I'm going to use my shortcut. Who remembers the shortcut to switch between those two? That's right; 'Shift X'. So I wanted to have a blue Stroke, not a Fill. And I'm going to make sure I'm on the Star Tool. I'm going to hold down the apostrophe key. Some people's might be labelled as the tilde '~', which is the little wave. You're really looking for the apostrophe key, on my keyboard it's next to number 1, we used it before. It's above the tab key, next to number 1, on the top left of my keyboard. 

Hold it down, and it does that, it's really weird. Just kind of makes multiple shapes as you draw, so I was clicking and holding. Let's grab a different thing, I'm going to grab an Ellipse. And if I hold down the tilde '~' key, click, drag around, you get this. Cool, huh! Anybody remembers spiral graph? Man, I'm going to remember when I go outside of that. Kind of looks like that sort of stuff. Now anything you hold down, anything sort of drawing tool, and you start drawing. Lots of lines as well. Awesome, huh! But I'm never going to use it. I'm going to finish on that amazing shortcut. That will be us, remember to download the PDF if you want to. And yes, I'll see you in the next video.