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Exploring the panels

From: Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

Video: Exploring the panels

After you have created a new document inside of Illustrator or if you've opened up a piece of artwork for the first time, you might be a little lost as to where exactly you go next. Well I already covered the Tools panel in the previous movie, but now I am going to walk you through some of the other panels inside of Illustrator, over here on the right-hand side, to give you a better idea of how to find the tools you need while you're working inside of Illustrator. Now the panel system itself is actually pretty cool. You can work with panels in a lot of different ways and I am going to show you how to do that first. When you first see the panels inside of Illustrator, they will be collapsed in what's called Icon Form over here on the right.

Exploring the panels

After you have created a new document inside of Illustrator or if you've opened up a piece of artwork for the first time, you might be a little lost as to where exactly you go next. Well I already covered the Tools panel in the previous movie, but now I am going to walk you through some of the other panels inside of Illustrator, over here on the right-hand side, to give you a better idea of how to find the tools you need while you're working inside of Illustrator. Now the panel system itself is actually pretty cool. You can work with panels in a lot of different ways and I am going to show you how to do that first. When you first see the panels inside of Illustrator, they will be collapsed in what's called Icon Form over here on the right.

Hovering over the icons will show you exactly what panel you are hovering over, like Color, Color Guide, Swatches, Brushes and Symbols. Anytime you hover over a panel it automatically shows you in a tooltip the name of the panel that you're hovering over. If you want to access that panel, simply click on it and it automatically brings that panel to the forefront for you to use temporarily. When you're finished with that panel, simply click here to collapse it. If you want to see all of the panels expanded all the time, come up to the top and click this little arrow.

Once you do that, all of the panels will be in their full expanded form and you have access to all of them at once. This does take up about 10% of your screen real estate though, so I actually prefer, especially when I am working on a laptop, to have those collapsed in the Icon Form. But I understand that people like to see all of the tools available to them so if you want to leave them expanded that's totally up to you. If you wanted to maneuver these panels around inside of your document window, it's very easy to do that as well. For instance, if I need the Color panel to be undocked and over on the left, I can just grab the tab that says Color, click and drag it out and it goes right there.

If I want to resize that panel, I can resize it and all the options correspond to my resizing, making the spectrum little bit bigger for me to choose from. Same holds true for Color Guide. If I need that out here to, I can drag that over and notice when I hover over this box, I get a blue outline around the edges, indicating that I am about to doc this panel with that one. If I want them to be together, I will let go of the mouse and it automatically docks it in. You will notice over here on the right, that everything shifts up because I no longer have those two panels at the top.

If I want to move these panels back over, I can click, drag them over and I wait for that small blue line to appear. When I let go, it drops the panel right back in and we are right back to normal. If you don't want to take the time to replace every single panel that you drag out while you are working in Illustrator, you can always go up to the dropdown menu for workspaces, and then choose Reset whatever workspace you are using. So let's say that I had all these panels out here and I will just make a big mess of my interface really, quickly.

As you can see, I have created quite a clutter. If I want to, I can just go right here, choose Reset Essentials, and everything is right back to the way it was when I first started working in Illustrator. Now since this particular workspace had the panels collapsed in the Icon Form, when I choose to reset it, it automatically goes back in the Icon Form. I can then go back over and expand it if I want to. You will notice that the panels are arranged into groups that make sense, for instance Color and Color Guide are together. Swatches, Brushes and Symbols which allow you to create things are grouped together.

Strokes, Gradients and Transparency, things that change certain appearances of objects are grouped together. Appearance and Graphic Styles, two things that kind of go hand-in-hand with each other are right there together and then finally, Layers and Artboards are also there as well. You'll find as you're working throughout the panel system that you're able to do certain things, like make in line edits and things like that. That's very easy to do, for instance, if you wanted to change the layer name. You double-click, make your change and hit Enter. You can do that in many different panels including the Actions panel and Variables panel as well.

Anytime you have the ability to name something, basically you can change the name right there inside the panel without having to do anything else. You also have the ability to navigate certain panels using the keyboard, so if I were to open up the Type panel for instance by going to the Window menu and finding Type, you will notice that I can click here and use my Tab key to go all through the dialog box. So anytime you want to stay inside of a panel without having to move your mouse all over the place, just use your Tab key or your arrow keys on your keyboard to get you where you need to go.

If you wish to close a panel that's open here on your artboard, you simply click the little x right here on the top right corner and that panel will temporarily go away. You haven't deleted it from Illustrator per se, but it is just hidden from view. Anytime you want to get it back, just go to the Window menu, find it and open it up. Most of the panels over on the right are the ones that you are going to use most often, but in the Window menu, there are a bunch of panels that are out here by default. Anything you see with a check mark is already on your screen somewhere. Anything without a check mark is not currently being displayed.

So if you need to find a panel, and you don't know whether it's out in your document window or not, just go to the Window menu and see if there is a check mark next to it. If it is, chances are you should be able to find it. If there is no check mark, you can put a check mark beside it like let's say Image Trace and that panel automatically pops up. Let's close that up. The last thing that I want to show you about panels is something that's very important and it changes for every panel that you're working with. Let me bring out the Color panel to show you exactly what I'm talking about. Inside the Color panel, there is a little button right here on the right hand side.

This is called the panel menu and depending on what panel you have selected, the name of this actually changes. So for instance, when I have the Color panel selected, this is the Color panel menu. When I have the Layers panel selected, it would be the Layers panel menu. Clicking this is going to show a variety of different options which will be different for each panel. So in this case, I get the option to Show Options which will expand out to show me all the options in the dialog box. I can also hide the options, if the options are being shown and there are also various other operations that I can perform.

Again, this is going to be different for each panel that you work with. So take the time to explore this little menu item, and see exactly what you're able to do. I will bring this back up and doc it back in. Hopefully now you have a better understanding of where to find some of the more common panels inside of Illustrator and also a clearer picture of what they're used for and how they can help you in your workflow. No matter what though, take the time to go through each and every one of the panels inside of Illustrator, learn them, see what you are able to do with them and see how they fit into your workflow.

If you don't find the panel you need out on screen immediately, go to the Window menu, locate it, and then integrate it into your workspace by docking it over on the right-hand side. Remember panels are where you do the heavy lifting inside of Illustrator. So you need to have the ones you use most often at your disposal at all times.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 71168 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 15s
    1. What is Illustrator?
      1m 15s
  2. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
  3. 41m 25s
    1. Understanding vector graphics
      5m 0s
    2. Setting preferences
      9m 24s
    3. Touring the interface
      9m 41s
    4. Exploring the panels
      6m 54s
    5. Working with the Control panel
      4m 25s
    6. Creating and saving workspaces
      6m 1s
  4. 43m 42s
    1. Creating files for print
      4m 42s
    2. Creating files for the web
      3m 36s
    3. Managing multiple documents
      3m 25s
    4. Navigating within a document
      5m 21s
    5. Using rulers, guides, and grids
      6m 59s
    6. Changing units of measurement
      1m 50s
    7. Using preview modes
      3m 10s
    8. Creating and using custom views
      3m 12s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 43s
    10. Creating and using artboards
      7m 44s
  5. 1h 1m
    1. Setting your selection preferences
      5m 57s
    2. Using the Direct Selection and Group Selection tools
      4m 6s
    3. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 45s
    4. Using the Lasso tool
      4m 9s
    5. Selecting objects by attribute
      6m 48s
    6. Grouping objects
      3m 7s
    7. Using isolation mode
      4m 48s
    8. Resizing your artwork
      3m 55s
    9. Rotating objects
      2m 10s
    10. Distorting and transforming objects
      6m 26s
    11. Repeating transformations
      5m 6s
    12. Reflecting and skewing objects
      4m 54s
    13. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 38s
  6. 29m 27s
    1. RGB vs. CMYK
      1m 46s
    2. Adjusting Illustrator color settings
      5m 10s
    3. Process vs. global swatches
      5m 6s
    4. Creating spot colors
      3m 40s
    5. Using the swatch groups
      2m 33s
    6. Working with color libraries
      3m 17s
    7. Importing swatches
      4m 4s
    8. Using the Color Guide panel
      3m 51s
  7. 57m 36s
    1. Understanding fills and strokes
      4m 18s
    2. Working with fills
      4m 58s
    3. Working with strokes
      8m 46s
    4. Creating dashes and arrows
      8m 1s
    5. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 3s
    6. Using width profiles
      3m 31s
    7. Outlining strokes
      3m 51s
    8. Creating and editing gradients
      5m 45s
    9. Applying gradients to strokes
      3m 8s
    10. Applying and editing pattern fills
      4m 52s
    11. Creating your own pattern fill
      6m 23s
  8. 20m 20s
    1. Understanding paths
      2m 41s
    2. Understanding anchor points
      4m 20s
    3. Working with open and closed paths
      5m 28s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      4m 9s
    5. Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool
      3m 42s
  9. 37m 56s
    1. Understanding drawing modes
      4m 23s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 15s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      4m 11s
    4. Working with the Shape Builder tool
      6m 32s
    5. Working with the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      5m 26s
    6. Working with the Paintbrush and Pencil tools
      7m 8s
    7. Smoothing and erasing paths
      5m 1s
  10. 35m 53s
    1. Exploring the Pen tool
      2m 39s
    2. Drawing straight lines
      5m 12s
    3. Drawing simple curves
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding the many faces of the Pen tool
      6m 10s
    5. Converting corners and curves
      1m 46s
    6. Your keyboard is your friend
      2m 14s
    7. Tracing artwork with the Pen tool
      12m 29s
  11. 35m 33s
    1. Adjusting your type settings
      4m 10s
    2. Creating point and area text
      3m 36s
    3. Basic text editing
      2m 14s
    4. Creating threaded text
      4m 59s
    5. Using the type panels
      9m 48s
    6. Creating text on a path
      5m 11s
    7. Converting text into paths
      1m 43s
    8. Saving time with keyboard shortcuts
      3m 52s
  12. 27m 25s
    1. Exploring the Appearance panel
      4m 44s
    2. Explaining attribute stacking order
      1m 40s
    3. Applying multiple fills
      3m 1s
    4. Applying multiple strokes
      4m 20s
    5. Adjusting appearance with live effects
      4m 46s
    6. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      8m 54s
  13. 20m 44s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 18s
    2. Creating and editing layers
      3m 27s
    3. Targeting objects in the Layers panel
      3m 3s
    4. Working with sublayers
      3m 0s
    5. Hiding, locking, and deleting layers
      4m 14s
    6. Using the Layers panel menu
      2m 42s
  14. 46m 0s
    1. Placing images into Illustrator
      2m 53s
    2. Working with the Links panel
      6m 5s
    3. Embedding images into Illustrator
      3m 12s
    4. Cropping images with a mask
      5m 8s
    5. Exploring the Image Trace panel
      12m 14s
    6. Tracing photographs
      8m 6s
    7. Tracing line art
      4m 33s
    8. Converting pixels to paths
      3m 49s
  15. 19m 21s
    1. What are symbols?
      2m 45s
    2. Using prebuilt symbols
      3m 3s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      4m 19s
    4. Creating new symbols
      3m 50s
    5. Breaking the symbol link
      3m 19s
    6. Redefining symbols
      2m 5s
  16. 12m 9s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      4m 29s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      3m 49s
    3. Applying artwork to the grid
      3m 51s
  17. 35m 7s
    1. Printing your artwork
      6m 16s
    2. Saving your artwork
      2m 2s
    3. Saving in legacy formats
      3m 0s
    4. Saving templates
      4m 18s
    5. Creating PDF files
      5m 23s
    6. Saving for the web
      4m 46s
    7. Creating high-res bitmap images
      3m 58s
    8. Using Illustrator files in Photoshop and InDesign
      5m 24s
  18. 56s
    1. Next steps
      56s

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