Rafiul Islam in Tutorial
Publish Date - 25/02/2017

Essential Keyboard Shortcut Tips for Illustrator (Part 01)

Adobe’s software and tools enable the creation of amazing digital works, whether you're using Illustrator to create the vector arts, putting together in a print magazine. When working in Illustrator, simple tasks can become a hindrance to your workflow. So to help out, we've got a great selection of Illustrator shortcuts right here, all guaranteed to speed up your workflow once you get the hang of them. These keyboard shortcuts will keep your fingers flying from the moment you create a new file until you make the final touch-ups on your vector image. So let’s start.

Essential Keyboard Shortcut Tips for Illustrator (Part 01) | By Graphiccomb

Getting Setup

You'd think setting up your content in Illustrator would be second nature; but oftentimes, the shortcuts to change the artboard size or zoom in to your project aren't what you think. Here are some of the most crucial shortcuts to know.

Create New Document

Mac: Cmd+N                                     Pc: Ctrl+N


This shortcut will help you to create a new document frequently in Illustrator.

Create a New Document from a Template

Mac: Shift + Cmd + N                     Pc: Shift + Ctrl + N


If you have illustrator template which is built earlier, then this shortcut will take you to the template folder to create a new document from a template.

Create a new Document without Opening the New Document Dialog Box

Mac: Opt + Cmd + N                      Pc: Alt + Ctrl + N


Sometimes we are in a hurry not to explore a new document window. In that moment this shortcut will help a lot.

Open a Document

Mac: Cmd+O                                     Pc: Ctrl+O


To open the previous work, just press these buttons and it will take you to the open a document dialogue box.

Place a File in the Document

Mac: Shift + Cmd + P                     Pc: Shift + Ctrl + P


When you need to place an image file, you should use this shortcut to open the place a file dialogue box.

Open the File Information Dialog Box

Mac: Opt + Shift + Cmd + I              Pc: Alt + Shift + Ctrl + I


While working in a document, sometimes we need to know the information about the file. Then this will save your time a lot.

Open the Document Setup Dialog Box

Mac: Opt + Cmd + P                          Pc: Alt + Ctrl + P


By pressing Alt+Ctrl+P, you can quickly setup your document easily.

Browse in Adobe Bridge

Mac: Opt + Cmd + O                         Pc: Alt + Ctrl + O


Adobe Bridge is very useful to manage the document. To access it quickly, you should remember this shortcut.

Close the Document Window

Mac: Cmd+W                          Pc: Ctrl+W


To close the quickly, you can use this shortcut.

Open the Save As Dialog Box

Mac: Shift + Cmd + S                   Pc: Shift + Ctrl + S


If you wanna save your document in different format except ai format, then you must use these keywords.

Save a Copy of the Document

Mac: Opt + Cmd + S                       Pc: Alt + Ctrl + S


Sometimes you need to duplicate your copy to change different things which are not intended into the current document. Then this shortcut is very useful to you.

Open the Export for Screens Dialog Box

Mac: Opt + Cmd + E                        Pc: Alt + Ctrl + E


Adobe Illustrator supports many file format. To export into that format, you can use these keystrokes.

Open the Save For Web Dialog Box

Mac: Opt + Shift + Cmd + S               Pc: Alt + Shift + Ctrl + S


To save your document for websites, you need to use this shortcut.


Mac: Cmd + P                                    Pc: Ctrl + P


As Illustrator is mainly used for printing, so this shortcut is very helpful to the persons who are working for the printing press.

Exit the Application

Mac: Cmd + Q                                     Pc: Ctrl + Q


You can close illustrator software with this shortcut very easily.


Popular Shortcuts

As far, I told about that shortcuts which are used for manipulating an illustrator document. Now I'm gonna explain some shortcuts which are used frequently when we are drawing in illustrator.


Mac: Cmd + Z                                     Pc: Ctrl + Z


This shortcut is mostly used by the designer. In Illustrator, this command is not limited as like as Photoshop. This command can be performed until the state where the document was opened.


Mac: Shift + Cmd + Z                      Pc: Shift + Ctrl + Z


If we undo our work by accident, these keystrokes will regain the previous state.

Paste in Front

Mac: Cmd + F                                     Pc: Ctrl + F


If we wanna duplicate an object to the same place and the new object will be at the front, then we should use this shortcut.

Paste at Back

Mac: Cmd + B                                     Pc: Ctrl + B


Like the previous command, this shortcut will work the same except copying at the front. This command will copy the object at the back.

Paste in Place

Mac: Shift + Cmd + B                        Pc: Shift + Ctrl + B


This command will be used for copying the objects in different layers but in the same place. It will also work the same for the same layer.

Paste on All Artboards

Mac: Opt + Shift + Cmd + B          Pc: Alt + Shift + Ctrl + B


If you wanna copy an object to all artboard in a document, then you can use this command.

Open the Color Settings Dialog Box

Mac: Shift + Cmd + K                     Pc: Shift + Ctrl + K


Sometimes we have to change the color mode of the document, then this shortcut will be helpful.

Open the Preferences Dialog Box

Mac: Cmd + K                                     Pc: Ctrl + K


By hitting these keystrokes, you will be going to preference panel. There you will find a lot of settings for your software and you can customize all settings as you like.


Choosing the Right Tools

Now I'm gonna show you the shortcuts for Illustrator tools. These shortcuts will activate the previously selected tool in the group of tools. For example, if you have last used the Magic Wand tool under the selection tools, the "Y" shortcut enables the Magic Wand tool, even though it's not the default selection tool. But, if you haven't used any tool in the group, it will enable the default tool. To cycle through tools that share the same shortcut, press Shift + the shortcut key. Or, hold Alt (Option on a Mac) and manually click on the tool in the toolbar. 

Tools Name For Mac For Pc
Artboard Tool Shift + O Shift + O
Selection Tool V V
Direct Selection Tool A A
Magic Wand Tool Y Y
Lasso Tool Q Q
Pen Tool P P
Curvature Tool Shift + ~ Shift + ~
Blob Brush Tool Shift + B Shift + B
Add Anchor Point Tool + +
Delete Anchor Point Tool - -
Switch to Anchor Point Tool Shift + C Shift + C
Type Tool T T
Touch Type Tool Shift + T Shift + T
Line Segment Tool \ \
Rectangle Tool M M
Ellipse Tool L L
Paintbrush Tool B B
Pencil Tool N N
Shaper Tool Shift + N Shift + N
Rotate Tool R R
Reflect Tool O O
Scale Tool S S
Warp Tool Shift + R Shift + R
Width Tool Shift + W Shift + W
Free Transform Tool E   E
Shape Builder Tool Shift + M Shift + M
Perspective Grid Tool Shift + P Shift + P
Perspective Selection Tool Shift + V Shift + V
Symbol Sprayer Tool Shift + S Shift + S
Column Graph Tool J   J
Mesh Tool U U
Gradient Tool G G
Eyedropper Tool I I
Blend Tool W W
Live Paint Bucket Tool K K
Live Paint Selection Tool Shift + L Shift + L
Slice Tool Shift + K Shift + K
Eraser Tool Shift + E Shift + E
Scissors Tool C C
Hand Tool H H
Zoom Tool Z Z
Switch to Smooth Tool while using Blob Brush Tool Press Alt Press Opt


These are the essential keyboard shortcuts in Illustrator which are used frequently by the designers. But there are more shortcuts in Illustrator and I'll show them in next episode. Thanks for reading through these tips and shortcuts, I hope you’ve learned something new from these. 


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