Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
After you open up a document for the first time in Illustrator, you might be a little confused as to how to navigate around it, and by this I mean how to look at the file in different ways or even know how to zoom in and zoom out to get a little bit more clarity on the composition. In this movie, I'll walk you through various navigational techniques that I use inside of Illustrator, including some keyboard shortcuts that will help you pan and zoom around your document like a pro. The basic navigation controls inside of Illustrator can be found inside of the Tools panel, over here on the left. You'll notice that you have two tools, a Hand tool and a Zoom tool.
The Zoom tool is pretty simple. Bring it out, click once to zoom, hold down the Option key on Mac, the Alt key on PC, and click to zoom out. You'll notice when I hold down the Option key or the Alt key on a PC, that the plus sign inside of the magnifying glass turns into a little minus sign, indicating that I'm about to zoom out. When you see the plus sign, that means we suit you're about to zoom in. You also have his Hand tool, which allows you to grab your document and move it around. Think of this in terms of your hand on the screen actually moving this document like you'd move a piece of paper on your desk.
So you're grabbing it and moving it to one side, grabbing it and moving it to another. It's a great way to pan around your document when you're zoomed in at higher magnification levels, so you can see what's going on in other areas. You can also utilize these as shortcuts as well. So for instance, if you double-click the Hand tool, it automatically displays your document in the full window. Meaning you can see the whole document here inside the window, regardless of the magnification level. So here, for instance, it's zoomed out to 76% because that's how far it had to zoom out in order to fit the entire document in the window.
You can double-click the Zoom tool to zoom in automatically to a 100%. That's going to zoom up your document to 100%. You may still have to grab the Hand tool to pan around it, because if the document is larger, it may not actually fit inside the window. That's the difference between Fit to Window and Zoom to a 100%. Now if you're really crafty, you can use your keyboard shortcuts and this is the easiest way to zoom in and zoom out on a document. Holding down the Command key on Mac, the Ctrl key on PC, you can press either the plus or minus sign on your keyboard and zoom in and out.
So Ctrl+Plus zooms in, Ctrl+Minus zooms out, and again that's the Command key for the Mac. So it would be Command++ or Command+- there. But that's a great way to zoom in and out of a document without having to go find a tool. You can also utilize some keyboard shortcuts like Command+0 or Ctrl+0 to return you to the Fit to Window, or Command+1 or Ctrl+1 to zoom automatically to a 100%. Now if you're not a keyboard cowboy and you don't like using the tools over on the left hand side, you can always use the old, trusty Navigation panel.
Let's go take a look at that now. You can go to the Window menu and go down and find the Navigator and it brings up a window like this. If you've ever used Photoshop before, chances are you've seen this Navigator panel. It's the same one that's inside of Photoshop, and it's very intuitive and very easy-to-use. Right here in the window, this big, red square indicates what area of your document you're currently viewing and you actually get a Hand tool when you move over it like this. If I click and move, I can move the square all around the document just like I was panning with the Hand tool.
I also have the ability to change the viewing percentage right here. It's set to a 100%, I can easily type in 200 and press Enter, and it zooms me up to 200%. The most basic control is right here in the middle, and I call this the big mountain-little mountain area, because you've got two mountains; a little mountain and a big mountain. Clicking the little mountain zooms out. Clicking the big mountain zooms in. You can also take this slider in the middle, and drag it towards the little mountain to zoom out, or towards the big mountain to zoom in.
This one is a little tough to nail down though because you don't get a real-time preview of the zooming. So I actually prefer to either hit the little mountain or the big mountain, because it jumps me to specified increments inside of this document window. Let's go and close this panel up and let's talk about the document window itself. You can actually use the document window as a great way to navigate your document as well. For instance, at the bottom here, you've this dropdown menu that shows you all the different levels of magnification that you can zoom to, and you can pick anything from 3.13%, all the way up to 6400%.
You can also choose Fit On Screen, which is the same thing as clicking the Hand tool or using Command+0 or Ctrl+0. Once you that, it automatically fits the artwork into the window like so. If you have multiple artboards on a document, you can actually switch to the different artboards by utilizing this jump menu here. Let's jump over into a document with two artboards for a second and take a look at this. Let's say for instance that I'm zoomed in, and I want to be on Artboard number 1.
If I go down here and pick Artboard number 2, it jumps me over to the same zoom and magnification level as Artboard 1. Clicking Artboard 1 again zooms me right back over to Artboard 1. Once you find the most comfortable way for you to navigate your documents, stick with it and practice it. Pretty soon you'll be able to do it without thinking about it, and that's the idea really. Navigation should be second nature and not something you've to think about. Once you've mastered it, you're well on your way to becoming faster and more efficient inside of Illustrator.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
120 Video lessons · 57897 Viewers
119 Video lessons · 67364 Viewers
84 Video lessons · 16715 Viewers
125 Video lessons · 29590 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.