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One of my favorite time-saving features inside of Illustrator is to utilize symbols, and this is something that not a lot of people use, and I'm really confused as to why. Basically, symbols allow you to take artwork that you create inside of Illustrator, and save it for later, for use in other projects, or whatever else you might be wanting to use it for. Symbols live in their own panel called the Symbols panel, and so I store things in the Symbols panel like commonly used logos, different types of icons, and all kinds of stuff. In this movie, we'll be taking a look at symbols; where they live, and how they can help us.
I'll go and create a new document, just so I have something up on screen; doesn't matter what size, or anything else. Once I get the new document created, I'm going to go over and find the Symbols panel, which should be next to your Brushes and Swatches in the Essentials Workspace. If you don't see symbols out on your screen, you can go to the Window menu, and find Symbols, or press Shift+Control+F11 on the PC; Shift+Command+F11 on the Mac. Once you find the Symbols panel, you can just drag it out. The Symbols panel has a few different symbols already inside of it.
Things like a Process Rectangle, Vector Grime, Illuminated Orange, Trim Marks, Ribbons, and of course, a Flower. And so you can utilize these symbols simply by clicking and dragging them out on to your artboard, and the symbols will just act as a piece of artwork. Symbols are a great way to save on file size in a document as well, because each time you drag a symbol out into your document, you're actually just referencing the original file that was created using that symbol, and therefore, inside the file, there's only technically that one particular file, as opposed to, let's say I had 50 of these flower symbols out there; it's only referencing the one flower that exists somewhere else.
Symbols can be updated, edited, and also changed in any way that you want. You can also access a huge library of preset symbols inside of Illustrator as well. We'll be exploring those in a future movie, but for now, let just see how we can get symbols out on to our artboard. When working with the Symbols panel here, all you have to do to get symbol out on your artboard is select it, and then drag it out. Once you get it out there, you can see, this is just a vector object that I can scale, and manipulate. It's almost like you're able to save shapes, like in Photoshop, but in this case, they're called Symbols. And they're always linked, so that any time they need to be updated, or anything like that, you can do so, and any document that's got those can automatically be updated as well.
In any case, like I said, symbols are a great timesaver, and if you take the time to build a great organizational structure of your symbols, you'll be able to use them in multiple projects, for multiple clients, and it's going to save you a ton of time.
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