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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
As you continuously work on a file, open it and save it, make changes, open it and save it, so on and so forth, you may find that the file starts to get a little bit messy. I think you'll find that as you'll learn to Illustrator more and more you'll want to keep your documents as clean and neat as possible. Let me explain exactly what I'm talking about here. You see right now this document looks pretty neat, but if I press Command+Y to go into Outline mode, I'll see that I've some other errant objects around my document. For example, there are some stray anchor points right over here and over here.
These can be created by accidentally just clicking with the Pen tool somewhere or by creating these blank text objects by just clicking somewhere on the artboard with the Type tool. I also have certain objects here, for example this rectangle and this rectangle. While they aren't visible, their fill and stroke attributes are both set to None, they can certainly get in the way as I edit my artwork. For example, when I want to marquee something I may click and drag, not realizing that this actually artwork over here that's going to be selected. This can affect things like bounding area and can throw off things like alignment for example.
If I had an empty text object somewhere, even though no characters appear inside of my document that text object may still reference a certain typeface. In other words, if I give that file now to somebody else they may get a font error that that font is missing even though really that font isn't being used to generate characters. It's simply an empty text frame somewhere in my document. In general, stray objects floating right in your document can only serve to make things more hazardous as you continue to work in your artwork. Perhaps more importantly in my experience I found that documents that become corrupt over time are those that aren't kept clean.
Now, I know cleaning a room is never fun. However, with Illustrator there is a single simple command that can clean up your document and make things a whole lot easier to work with. To use this command you actually don't need to have any artwork selected. In fact, you don't even have to know where these errant objects actually appear. You could simply go over to the Object menu, choose Path, and then choose this option at the bottom called Clean Up. Illustrator offers the ability to clean up stray points, unpainted objects, in other words, objects with no fill and no stroke, and also empty text paths.
I'll click OK and now if I go into Outline mode you'll see that all those other elements now have been removed from my document. The two rectangles are gone, and the stray anchor points are also gone. So with a simple command I was able to clean up my document, which not only makes it easier for me to work. It also helps prevent potential problems later on down the line.
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