Illustrator Tutorial: Keyboard Shortcuts

Beginner

Ten keyboard shortcuts to make your illustrator life easier

1. Selection Tool – V

When moving about a project, it can get annoying having to always go over to the tool box and click on the selection took when you need it. However, if you simply press the V key on your keyboard, then you’ll never have to do it again.

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2. Clipping Mask – Command + 7

First, draw the shape of the mask over the objects you want to clip.

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Then select all the layers you want to clip, including the mask layer

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Finally, hold down Command (Mac) or Control (PC) and press 7. Anything selected below the clipping mask layer will be cut to that shape.

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3.  Eye Dropper – I

Just like the Selection Tool, if you press I while working in Illustrator,
your mouse will change to the Eye Dropper.

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4. Draw from Center – Alt

Holding down Alt while drawing a pre-made shape, like a rectangle, circle or star, will automatically cause it to be drawn form the center, growing outwards.

5. Text – T

T is for Text! Press T, click anywhere and you can start typing to your hearts content!

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6. Direct Selection Tool – A

The Direct Selection Tool short key doesn’t really make sense like the others kind of do. Unless you think of it as an A looking like the cursor. But press A and you’ll get that cute, little white cursor following you around.

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7. Lock Selected Item – Ctrl + 2

Instead of opening up the layers tab and searching for a specific object to lock down, just select that object and press Ctrl + 2. That object will be automatically locked and unable to be selected.

8. Shape Short Keys

Both the Rectangle and the circle tools have their own short keys. For the Rectangle Tool, it’s M; for the Circle Tool, it’s L.

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9. Reflect – R

It can get incredibly annoying having to go to Object>Transform>Reflect just to get a separate box come up to actually reflect the object. But if you just press R, then you can do some basic reflections instantly! It can be a bit hard to understand at first, but after a bit of practice, you’ll get the hang of it.

10. Resizing the Artboard – Shift + O

Ever started a project, then realized that you make the artboard to the wrong dimensions? I do all the time. But instead of opening the artboard tab, double clicking and having the popup come up, if you just press Shift + O, then you can drag the corner of the artboard to the size you want.

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