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My main reason for using symbols is to categorize and organize artwork that I'm going to use over and over again throughout many different projects. For instance, look at this document I have open here. I've got several little icons that I might want to use in various projects that I'm working on. However, I don't want to have to open up this document each and every time, copy, and then paste into another document. I want to be able to save these as their own Symbol library; that way, I can simply use them at any given time.
In this movie, I'm going to walk you through creating a new symbol, and also creating a new symbol library at the same time. So the first thing I need to do is I need to define a new symbol, and I'm going to do that for this little hat right here. So I'm going to select the graduation hat, and the easiest way to create a symbol is just to simply take this hat, click it, and drag it over to the Symbols panel. I'll drop it in, and it comes up with Symbol Options, and I'll just name this Graduation Cap.
The Type; this is if you're going to be utilizing this inside of Adobe Flash, or some other program. In this case, I'm just going to be using it in Illustrator, so I'm going to save it as a Graphic. If you are sending this to something like Adobe Flash, you might be interested in enabling 9-Slice Scaling, or even aligning it to the Pixel Grid, but in this case, I just want to save it as a Graphic, so I'm going to hit OK. Once I do that, you're going to see it pop up there in my Symbol library. And I'm going to do that for a few of these. So I'll select the pencil, drag it over, drop it in, call it Pencil, it's going to be a Graphic; hit OK.
Let's take the apple, drag it over, and finally, let's take these little notepads over here, and hit OK. Now, I could do this for each one of these, and in fact, if I was actually working on this file, and turning these into symbols, I would. I would take every one of these over there, and turn this into a full symbol library, but in this case, I'm only going to use these three.
I'm then going to come up here, and I'm going to select these unused icons that I had opened from when I was working before. And all I have to do here is just delete these symbols, and they'll go away. So now in my Symbols panel, I only have the symbols that I'm working on here. If I want to save these as their own symbol library, I can then go here, and I can choose Save Symbol Library. Once I do that, it automatically comes up with a section on the computer where my symbols are stored. And I'm going to call this scholastic, because they all have to do at school, and I'll hit Save.
Now this is called the scholastic symbol library. If I were to close this library, or open up another one, I could then open this up any time I wanted, in any other document. So let me create a new document here, and you'll notice when I create a new document, my Symbols panel switches back to the original. If I want those Scholastic icons, I go to the symbols library, I go down to User Defined, and I select Scholastic, and they pop up on screen.
I can then take these, and drag them out, and they're each an individual vector object, just like over here, but I didn't have to go find this document. I stayed within the current document I was working on, and loaded them up. So if you're constantly working with the same set of logos, or the same set of icons, or whatever it might be in your particular project, take some time to organize all of your reusable graphics into symbol libraries. You'll be glad you did, because then you can instantly use them in any project going forward.
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