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Using the Control panel

From: Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

Video: Using the Control panel

While there are plenty of panels inside of Illustrator, perhaps the most important one is called the Control panel. The Control panel, which appears across the top of your screen here, may not look the same as the other panels, but it does behave in the same way in that you can click and drag on this little line over here on the far left to reposition it. Now it's in a floating state. And you can even bring it to the bottom and dock it towards the bottom of your screen. However, I like it towards the top. It's really kind of round where my eye level is, which I like about it, and the most important aspect of the Control panel itself is that it's context-sensitive.

Using the Control panel

While there are plenty of panels inside of Illustrator, perhaps the most important one is called the Control panel. The Control panel, which appears across the top of your screen here, may not look the same as the other panels, but it does behave in the same way in that you can click and drag on this little line over here on the far left to reposition it. Now it's in a floating state. And you can even bring it to the bottom and dock it towards the bottom of your screen. However, I like it towards the top. It's really kind of round where my eye level is, which I like about it, and the most important aspect of the Control panel itself is that it's context-sensitive.

In fact, most of the information that appears in the Control panel is simply duplicated in the other areas of the user interface. For example, in this area I can specify the stroke weight for a path, but that same value also appears here inside of the Stroke panel directly. Since, adjusting the stroke weight is one of the most common things that you'd do to a path, Adobe took this setting and brought it up over here in to the Control panel to make it easier to find. It also means you don't have to have the Stroke panel open all the time, and while there certainly are times when you need additional functions that are available only inside of the Stroke panel, if you look at the Control panel, you'll see the word Stroke appears underlined.

That means that you can click on it. If I move my cursor over the word Stroke, I can click and that temporarily brings up the entire Stroke panel right here in context. I'll be able to access other stroke settings, for example, Dashed Lines or Activate Arrowheads, and as soon as I click away, that panel disappears. Now as I said before, the Control panel itself is context-sensitive. That means when I make a certain selection on my artboard or I choose a different tool inside of my Tools panel, I will see different settings that are commonly attributed to those functions. For example if I choose my Type tool, you'll see the Character and Paragraph Settings up here and I can bring up those entire panels just by clicking on those words.

But here is the interesting thing. You see when you click on the Type tool on your screen, you may not see the exact same things that I do here on my screen. That's because the Control panel is also aware of the resolution that your monitor is set to. Depending on how much room you have on your screen, you may see additional options. If Illustrator finds that there isn't enough room to display all the settings, it collapses them to these little blue underlined words, which you can click on to get the full functionality of those panels. You can achieve some level of control by specifying which types of functions are available to you inside of the Control panel at any time.

To do that, move your cursor all the way to the far right of the panel and click on the icon up here. This listing provides all the possible functions that can be displayed inside the Control panel and a checkmark next to it means that will currently appear if there's room for it and if the context that you're in calls for that kind of function. For example, if I don't really care much about the Transparency settings, because maybe I hardly ever use that setting, I can uncheck it from this list. Notice now that option disappears. If you have a high-resolution monitor though, you may want to leave all those options checked, giving you access to a full range of functionality in the Control panel.

Overall what the Control panel really does is put certain functions at your fingertips and relieves you from having to have many other panels open. It gives you more room to work with and that makes it easier for you to focus on the work that you're doing.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

126 video lessons · 81958 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
      31s
  2. 12m 37s
    1. What are vector graphics?
      6m 3s
    2. Path and appearance
      3m 42s
    3. Stacking
      2m 52s
  3. 32m 6s
    1. The Welcome screen
      2m 23s
    2. Creating files for print
      6m 7s
    3. Creating files for the screen
      2m 55s
    4. Using prebuilt templates
      2m 40s
    5. Adding XMP metadata
      4m 18s
    6. Exploring the panels
      6m 33s
    7. Using the Control panel
      3m 11s
    8. Using workspaces
      3m 59s
  4. 43m 44s
    1. Navigating within a document
      9m 15s
    2. Using rulers and guides
      7m 26s
    3. Using grids
      3m 6s
    4. Using the bounding box
      3m 37s
    5. Using Smart Guides
      5m 56s
    6. The Hide Edges command
      3m 22s
    7. Various preview modes
      3m 47s
    8. Creating custom views
      4m 3s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 12s
  5. 28m 46s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      8m 50s
    2. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 22s
    3. Using the Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    4. Selecting objects by attribute or type
      3m 37s
    5. Saving and reusing selections
      2m 15s
    6. Selecting artwork beneath other objects
      2m 13s
    7. Exploring selection preferences
      4m 1s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 52s
    2. Drawing closed path primitives
      11m 38s
    3. Drawing open path primitives
      5m 47s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      3m 43s
    5. Drawing straight paths with the Pen tool
      7m 37s
    6. Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool
      9m 47s
    7. Drawing freeform paths with the Pencil tool
      5m 33s
    8. Smoothing and erasing paths
      3m 8s
    9. Editing anchor points
      7m 21s
    10. Joining and averaging paths
      10m 9s
    11. Simplifying paths
      4m 55s
    12. Using Offset Path
      2m 17s
    13. Cleaning up errant paths
      2m 32s
  7. 48m 26s
    1. The Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes
      7m 34s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 56s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      8m 0s
    4. Using the Shape Builder tool
      10m 28s
    5. Using Pathfinder functions
      8m 6s
    6. Splitting an object into a grid
      1m 16s
    7. Using the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      7m 6s
  8. 49m 5s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 2s
    2. Creating area text
      8m 13s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      7m 44s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 28s
    5. Creating text threads
      8m 25s
    6. Setting text along an open path
      6m 29s
    7. Setting text along a closed path
      6m 24s
    8. Converting text into paths
      3m 20s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Create a logo mark
      11m 26s
    2. Add type to your logo
      7m 29s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      8m 21s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      4m 42s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      4m 25s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      5m 18s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 42s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      4m 33s
    7. Copying appearances
      4m 51s
    8. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      5m 50s
  11. 34m 0s
    1. Applying color to artwork
      5m 57s
    2. Creating process and global process swatches
      8m 54s
    3. Creating spot color swatches
      3m 19s
    4. Loading PANTONE and other custom color libraries
      4m 49s
    5. Organizing colors with Swatch Groups
      3m 31s
    6. Finding color suggestions with the Color Guide panel
      4m 24s
    7. Loading the Color Guide with user-defined colors
      3m 6s
  12. 50m 23s
    1. Creating gradients with the Gradient panel
      8m 12s
    2. Modifying gradients with the Gradient Annotator
      4m 37s
    3. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      5m 33s
    4. Defining your own custom pattern fills
      9m 13s
    5. Applying basic stroke settings
      5m 22s
    6. Creating strokes with dashed lines
      3m 41s
    7. Adding arrowheads to strokes
      2m 45s
    8. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 35s
    9. Working with width profiles
      2m 36s
    10. Turning strokes into filled paths
      3m 49s
  13. 32m 46s
    1. Creating and editing groups
      8m 18s
    2. Adding attributes to groups
      12m 17s
    3. The importance of using layers
      5m 9s
    4. Using and "reading" the Layers panel
      7m 2s
  14. 12m 13s
    1. Creating and using multiple artboards
      7m 52s
    2. Modifying artboards with the Artboards panel
      2m 2s
    3. Copy and paste options with Artboards
      2m 19s
  15. 31m 10s
    1. Moving and copying artwork
      3m 55s
    2. Scaling or resizing artwork
      6m 47s
    3. Rotating artwork
      2m 44s
    4. Reflecting and skewing artwork
      2m 34s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 15s
    6. Repeating transformations
      3m 39s
    7. Performing individual transforms across multiple objects
      2m 10s
    8. Aligning objects and groups precisely
      4m 27s
    9. Distributing objects and spaces between objects
      2m 39s
  16. 35m 40s
    1. Placing pixel-based content into Illustrator
      5m 14s
    2. Managing images with the Links panel
      4m 49s
    3. Converting pixels to paths with Live Trace
      8m 44s
    4. Making Live Trace adjustments
      6m 9s
    5. Controlling colors in Live Trace
      6m 4s
    6. Using Photoshop and Live Trace together
      4m 40s
  17. 14m 42s
    1. Managing repeating artwork with symbols
      4m 38s
    2. Modifying and replacing symbol instances
      3m 8s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      6m 56s
  18. 16m 57s
    1. Cropping photographs
      1m 59s
    2. Clipping artwork with masks
      3m 22s
    3. Clipping the contents of a layer
      3m 31s
    4. Defining masks with soft edges
      8m 5s
  19. 26m 2s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 28s
  20. 25m 8s
    1. Printing your Illustrator document
      3m 26s
    2. Saving your Illustrator document
      6m 39s
    3. Creating PDF files for clients and printers
      7m 30s
    4. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Microsoft Office
      1m 4s
    5. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Photoshop
      2m 31s
    6. Exporting artwork for use on the web
      3m 3s
    7. Exporting high-resolution raster files
      55s
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye
      42s

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