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Using keyboard shortcuts and recording actions will help make routine tasks easier in Illustrator. It'll allow you to work faster, because you won't have to memorize complex key commands or pulldown menus as you build. But the absolute best part of customizing your keyboard shortcuts and using recorded actions is the ability to create your own personal workflow of functions that Adobe Illustrator doesn't provide. Here the nine custom keyboard commands I use everyday to make vector building easier.
The F1 key which I used to make Clipping Mask. The F2 key which releases Clipping Mask. It will allow us to turn a multi-step process into a one-button push, all the while avoiding any pulldown menus. I use the F3 key to Clone Shapes. Adobe Illustrator doesn't have a Clone command. So I created my own using recorded action and assign it to a keyboard shortcut. The F4 key sends vector objects to back of my design.
I use the F5 key to bring vector objects to the front of my designs. I use F6 key to Ungroup vector shapes. I use the F7 key to create Compound Paths with my vector shapes. There are certain behaviors in Adobe Illustrator that are at best annoying. When I do certain tasks over and over again that annoyance can be compounded. To remedy this situation I created my own command using a recorded action and assigned it to a keyboard shortcut.
I use the F8 key to Deselect my vector shapes when I'm zoomed into a design and don't want to zoom out to click the background to deselect. And I use the F9 key to punch out vector shapes like a cookie cutter this allows me to bypass the Pathfinder palette. Remember to save your shortcuts. Otherwise, you will lose them once you close out of the program. Keyboard customization is a great way to tailor fit Illustrator's functionality so it aligns with your own workflow preferences.
The more you're able to set up a personalized environment, the easier it will become.
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