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Getting around your illustration

From: Up and Running with Illustrator

Video: Getting around your illustration

In this exercise I will introduce you to Illustrator's navigation functions which allow you to get around your document that is you can zoom in, you can zoom out and you can pan as well. Along the way, I'm going to be mentioning quite a few keyboard shortcuts. Now you don't absolutely have to know them if you don't want to, but if you assign a few of them to memory, it's going to save you an awful lot of effort and time and you'll be getting around your document that much more quickly. I have saved my progress as Clothing on artboards.ai found inside the Exercise Files folder.

Getting around your illustration

In this exercise I will introduce you to Illustrator's navigation functions which allow you to get around your document that is you can zoom in, you can zoom out and you can pan as well. Along the way, I'm going to be mentioning quite a few keyboard shortcuts. Now you don't absolutely have to know them if you don't want to, but if you assign a few of them to memory, it's going to save you an awful lot of effort and time and you'll be getting around your document that much more quickly. I have saved my progress as Clothing on artboards.ai found inside the Exercise Files folder.

The first options are these commands under the View menu. You have got the Zoom In command and the Zoom Out command, but notice that they have keyboard shortcuts, so you don't constantly have to reference the menu and they are Ctrl+Plus or Command+Plus on the Mac to zoom-in or CTRL+Minus or Command+Minus on the Mac to zoom-out. Let me show you how those work. I will go ahead and press Ctrl+Plus in order to zoom in incrementally like so and notice that I'm zooming in on the center of the document that is the central point I was looking at when I started zooming.

If I press Ctrl+Minus or Command+Minus I will zoom-out from that central point as well. What if you want to zoom in on a specific location? In other words, you want a controlled zoom, or you could grab the Zoom tool down here at the bottom of the toolbox, but the easier thing to do is to access the tool from the keyboard, and here's how that works. This is a strange shortcut, but it's really handy. You press the Ctrl and spacebar keys at the same time. That would be the Command and spacebar keys on the Mac, and then you click on the area that you want to zoom.

I have still got control on spacebar down, by the way, Command and spacebar on the Mac. Now let's say you want to zoom-out, you press Ctrl+Alt+spacebar or Command+Option+spacebar on the Mac, and then you click to zoom-out from your artwork. Another thing you can do -- and this is really super useful in my opinion, you can control the location and the size of your zoom in one operation by pressing the Ctrl and spacebar keys at the same time, that would be Command+spacebar on the Mac and then just drag around it like so, that you want to zoom in on and release and you will radically zoom into your illustration.

Now of course, it's great to be zoomed way in, because you can see your artwork on a granular basis and you can check out and fix problems as well, but it also means you can see a very small portion of your illustration at a time, which means you'll need to scroll or if you prefer pan around. You can do that of course using the scrollbars if you want to, but they are pretty clumsy tools as you see. What you're better off doing is taking advantage of the Hand tool here inside the toolbox, but again, you can get to the hand on the fly by pressing and holding the spacebar and then dragging the illustration.

So this is a spacebar drag in order to move your entire document inside of the illustration window. All right! That takes care of the most essential options, but there are a few more that I want to make you aware of. Under the View menu, you've got this command right here, Fit Artboard in Window, which is going to fit the contents of the active artboard inside the document window. You can also get to it by pressing Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac. In my case my first artbaord was active, so I end up centering that artboard, if you want to zoom all the way out, so that you take in all f the artboards inside your document, then you choose Fit All in Window, which has a shortcut of Ctrl+Alt+0 or Command+Option+0 on the Mac, and you end up getting this effect here.

And then if you want to zoom the active artboard to 100%, click on the artboard that you want to zoom. Let's say I want to zoom-in on the black shorts there. I'll go ahead and click on that artboard to make it active, and then I will go to the View menu and choose Actual Size, Ctrl+1 here on the PC or Command+1 on the Mac. Finally, Illustrator takes advantage of a few scroll wheel tricks. Now if you've got a track pad on your laptop, whatever special gestures work with that track pad will be supported by Illustrator and that goes for specialty mice as well.

Mice that either have scroll buttons that let you move up down and sideways or mice that have no buttons, whatsoever, such as the Apple mice, which allow you to do gestures on the mouse surface. Let's say you're stuck with your standard everyday average scroll wheel. While then moving the wheel up will scroll you up inside the Illustration, moving the wheel down will scroll you down. If you press the Ctrl+key and scroll up, you will move to the left. If you press the Ctrl key and scroll down, you will move to the right. And then finally this works no matter what kind of mouse you have, I am going to switch over to the third artboard and center it inside the document window as well.

If you press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and scroll up, you will zoom-in. If you press Alt or Option on the Mac and scroll down, you'll zoom out. And that friends, is how you get around your document here inside Illustrator.

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Up and Running with Illustrator

26 video lessons · 19936 viewers

Deke McClelland
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