Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Touring the Illustrator interface, part of Illustrator CC Essential Training (2015).
- Before you start using any new software application it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the user interface that we'll be using. So in this movie, I'll be walking you through the Illustrator CC User Interface so that you have a good idea of where everything is and what it does. Let's start at the top and work our way down. At the top here we have something called the Menu Bar. Throughout this course you're going to hear me say things like, "Go to the File Menu, or the Type Menu, or the Effect Menu." Every time I say something like that you're going to move your mouse to the top of the screen, find that word, and click on it.
Inside of each one of these menus you will also see a series of Menu Items. If the Menu Item has a triangle out to the right side of it, that means that there are more options inside of that particular Menu Item. So for instance, if I were to tell you to go to Effect, 3D, and select Rotate, you would go through the menus just the way that you see me doing it here onscreen. If you want to close these menus, move your mouse out the the side and simply click, that will close them and you can continue working. Directly underneath the Menu Bar is a Title Bar.
And the Title Bar has things inside of it like a Quick Link to Adobe Bridge, the ability to search the Adobe Stock service, the Arrange Documents Panel, so if you have more than one document open you can rearrange them. We'll talk about that a little bit later on in the course. And also, something called GPU Performance. When this is enabled it allows you to do something really, really cool. Let me show you exactly what I'm talking about. First off though, let's go down over here and click on the Zoom Tool. It looks like a little magnifying glass. When you're out in the document with the Zoom Tool just click and drag with your mouse.
You'll notice it starts to drag out a box. What I want you to do is just click and drag out a box as big or as small as you want it to be and then release the mouse. What happens there is it zooms in automatically to that specified area that you drew a box around. Now, I'm going to come over here and double click the Zoom Tool and that's going to return me back to 100% magnification. Now let's go and turn on the GPU Performance button, right here. When I click that it's going to open up the Preferences Panel. Now this is going to depend heavily on whether or not your particular computer setup supports this or not.
If your computer is compatible with this you will see Compatible GPU detected. That means that you're able to enable this GPU Performance checkbox and also the Animated Zoom. If you do not see this that means that your computer does not support this particular type of GPU enabled Performance and that's okay. It's basically just an easier way for you to zoom in and interact with your document. Let me show you exactly how it works. I'll go down here and hit OK. Now with my Zoom Tool I'll click and I'll drag and as I drag it zooms me in.
And I can drag back and forth and it zooms in and out, just like so. Now that of course is tied to the GPU of your computer. So if you don't have a compatible GPU it's just not going to work and that's okay. For now, I'm going to go back in and turn this off. We'll talk about this a little bit more later when we talk about using the Zoom Tool for navigating your documents. Directly underneath the Title Bar you'll see this series of options and drop-down menus. This is called the Control Panel. In other applications it's also known as the Options Bar because there are several different options that you have the ability to control here.
But in Illustrator we call it the Control Panel, I say, because you have the ability to control all of the different tools and things that you're using at any given time. This bar will actually change and show new things based on the tool that you have selected at any given time. So for instance, right now, I have this Selection Tool selected. You'll notice all of these options correspond to if I had an object selected on my screen. I could change the Fill, the Stroke. I could change the Opacity, etcetera. I can switch to something like the Type Tool.
And when I switch to the Type Tool I still have those abilities but also tacked onto the end over here I have the Character and Paragraph options, as well as the ability to Left Align, Center Align, and Right Align my paragraphs. All of this information is going to change based on the tool you have selected. And it's also going to show or hide certain things based on how big or how small your screen size is. So in your case you may actually see a Character and Paragraph drop-down menu. In my case, my monitor's a little bit smaller so they changed into these little yellow links.
I can still access the panel by clicking on those links and I have full access to that panel just by clicking that little button. I can go back and click it again and it will close it up. You can control what shows up in your Control Panel by coming right over here clicking this little icon. This will show you a check mark next to everything that is going to show up inside of the Control Panel. If you see things that you're not going to use on a regular basis you can turn those off. That's going to create more room and allow you to see more things easier inside of the Control Panel.
To exit this menu just click away. Let me switch back to my Selection Tool. On the left-hand side of your screen you have the Tools Panel which we'll work with extensively throughout this course. You have several different types of tools, over here in this section and they're basically grouped by things like Selection, Drawing and Type, Modification. You have, what I call the Information and Color Panel here so you can do Gradients, do Meshes, work with the Eyedropper Tool, Blend objects together.
You've got the Symbol Sprayer and Charts Tool. You've also got some Navigational Tools down here, the Hand Tool, the Zoom Tool, the Artboard Tool. And then something called the Slice Tool which is mainly used in web design workflows. Underneath that you have the Color Controls where you'll target the Fill and the Stroke of your objects. If you're not sure what those mean, that's okay, we cover that extensively in the color section of this course. Then underneath there you have the ability to say I want a Solid Color, Gradient Color, or No Color at all.
You can also change the different Drawing Modes which we'll cover later on. Then you can also change the Screen Mode that you're viewing your document in at any time by clicking this button. At the bottom of the Document Window, which is this gigantic window here in the middle, you will see bits and pieces of information like the Level that you're zoomed into. Right now I'm at a 154.22%. I can click this arrow and change that very quickly. So let's say I want to go to 100%, I click that, and it automatically zooms me to that Level. You can also change to the Artboard that you want.
In this case, we only have one Artboard so there's only one to select. You can also see here at the top, these tabs that will show up as you have multiple documents open inside of Illustrator. Right now we only have one document open so there's only one tab up here at the top. When we talk about navigating multiple documents a little bit later on, I'll show you how to switch easily between these. You also see a ruler that goes around the outside of this particular document. This is all dependent on whether or not the document had this turned on and whether or not your previous Illustrator Preferences had this turned on as well.
I'll show you how to work with rulers, how to change the units, and how to hide the rulers, a little bit later on in the course as well. Finally, over here on the right-hand side we have the Panel System in Illustrator. By default they're all collapsed into these small icons here. If you hover over them it explains to you what these panels are. Color, Color Guide, Color Themes, Swatches, Brushes, Symbols, etcetera. If you want to see these panels you can expand them by clicking this little arrow, over here, on the right.
Once you do that that's going to expand them out that way you can see them. They'll be in tabs like this so you can switch to their tabs just by clicking on them. Same thing here at the bottom and also down here as well. You'll notice at times that they will resize based on the amount of information that is contained within the panel and the amount of space Illustrator thinks they need to take up. If you open up other panels underneath them they will adjust accordingly. You can also stretch and shrink these panels by clicking in-between them when you see this little double arrow.
And then clicking and dragging just like so. A little bit later on we'll talk about customizing the Illustrator work space to suit your needs. In the mean time though, you can explore these drop-downs right here which have different work spaces that correspond to different tasks like Layout, Painting, Printing and Proofing, Tracing, Typography, and Web. If you make a mistake, or you get one of your panels accidentally closed, or you just rearrange them to the point where it's frustrating, you can always go and choose Reset and then it will list whatever work space you're currently working in.
So in this case, if I wanted to Reset the Essentials work space, I click that, and everything is just going to snap back into its original spot. If you have a panel open, like this panel that opens automatically when I Reset the work space, you can close it by clicking the icon, just like that. All right, hopefully by now you have a better understanding of where everything is, here inside of the Illustrator Interface. Throughout this course we're going to be working with just about every single tool and panel that you have seen in this movie. So, if you get stuck or you don't know where something is you can come back and watch this movie anytime for a refresher.
- Changing the size and shape of artboards
- Creating and editing layers
- Drawing basic shapes
- Scaling and rotating objects
- Adding color fills and strokes
- Working with spot colors and color swatches
- Applying multiple fills and strokes from the Appearance panel
- Creating compound paths and shapes
- Using the brush tools
- Drawing with the Pen tool
- Creating type
- Placing and embedding images
- Printing and exporting artwork
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 06/21/2016. What changed?
A: We updated three tutorials to cover the June 2016 updates to Illustrator CC, including the workflow for exporting artboards and web assets.