Handy Keyboard Shortcuts for Adobe Illustrator

Handy Keyboard Shortcuts in Adobe Illustrator
Drawing in Illustrator while continually clicking back and forth to your Toolbar to change your options is a drag. We strongly suggest that you take a few minutes to memorize keyboard commands: it’ll save time and help reduce strain on your mouse (or tablet!) hand.
Please note these commands were written for Mac. PC users can use the key ‘Control’ instead of ‘Command’.
Here are some commands I use most (in no particular order):
Tool Shortcuts
ADirect Selection Tool (white arrow)
VSelection Tool (black arrow)
PPen Tool
NPencil Tool
IEyedropper Tool
CScissors
XToggles between fill and stroke colors
Shift-XSwaps your fill and stroke colors
TType Tool
MShape Tool
Pen Tool
OptionConvert anchor point
SpacebarMove an anchor point as you’re drawing
OptionSwitch between your add and delete pen tools
CommandSwitch between your pen tool and direct select
ShiftDraw on 45˚, 90˚, 135˚ or 180˚ axis
Shape Drawing
OptionDraws from the center
SpacebarMove an object while you’re drawing
ShiftConstrains the proportions
Option ShiftConstrains the proportions while drawing from the center
Option and Mouse releaseCloses a path with the pencil or paintbrush tools as you’re finishing drawing
Copying and Moving Shapes
Command Shift [Move an object behind all other shapes
Command Shift [Move an object in front of all other shapes
Command Shift ]Move an object behind next shape
Command Shift ]Move an object in front of next shape
Command CCopy
Command VPaste
Command FPaste in front
Command BPaste behind
OptionCreates a copy when dragging from a shape
Arrow KeysMoves selected object
Shift and Arrow KeysMoves selected objects in larger increments
Option-ShiftMakes a copy on a 45˚, 90˚, 135˚ or 180˚ axis while dragging on a selected shape
Viewing and Guides
SpacebarBrings up your Hand Tool (but don’t use it when editing type!)
Command +Zoom in
Command -Zoom out
Command 0View full artboard
TabShow/hide your palettes
CommandShow and hide your guide lines
Command Option ;Lock and unlock your guide lines
Command-RShow and hide your page rulers
Command-NCreate a new document
There are, of course, TONS of other keyboard shortcuts if you want to play around! A complete list of shortcuts can be found here (http://www.nobledesktop.com/shortcuts-illustratorcs4-mac.html).

Drawing in Illustrator while continually clicking back and forth to your Toolbar to change your options is a drag. We strongly suggest that you take a few minutes to memorize keyboard commands: it’ll save time and help reduce strain on your mouse (or tablet!) hand.

Please note these commands were written for Mac; PC users can use the key ‘Control’ instead of ‘Command’.

Here are some commands I use most (in no particular order):

Tool Shortcuts

tools-direct-select-arrow

A: Direct Selection Tool (white arrow)

tools-select-arrow

V: Selection Tool (black arrow)

tools-pen-tool

P: Pen Tool

tools-pencil-tool

N: Pencil Tool

tools-eyedropper-tool

I: Eyedropper Tool

tools-slice-tool

C: Slice Tool

tools-fill-stroke

X: Toggles between fill and stroke colors

tools-fill-stroke

 

Shift X:Swaps your fill and stroke colors

tools-type-tool

T: Type Tool

tools-shape-tool

M: Shape Tool

Pen Tool Shortcuts

tools-pen-convert

Option: Convert anchor point

keys-spacebar

Spacebar: Move an anchor point as you’re drawing

tools-pen-addtools-pen-delete

Option: Switch between your add and delete pen tools

tools-pen-tooltools-select-arrow

Command: Switch between your pen tool and direct select

keys-option

Shift: Draw on 45˚, 90˚, 135˚ or 180˚ axis

Drawing Shapes

keys-option

Option: Draws from the center

keys-spacebar

Spacebar: Move an object while you’re drawing

keys-shift

Shift: Constrains the proportions

keys-optionkeys-shift

Option Shift: Constrains the proportions while drawing from the center

keys-option

Option and Mouse release: Closes a path with the pencil or paintbrush tools as you’re finishing drawing

Copying and Moving Shapes

keys-commandkeys-shiftkeys3

Command Shift [: Move an object behind all other shapes

keys-commandkeys-shiftkeys3

 

Command Shift [:Move an object in front of all other shapes

keys-commandkeys-shiftkeys5

Command Shift ]: Move an object behind next shape

keys-commandkeys-shiftkeys5

 

Command Shift ]: Move an object in front of next shape

keys-commandkeys-c

Command C: Copy

keys-command

keys-v

Command V: Paste

keys-command

keys-f

Command F: Paste in front

keys-command

keys-b

Command B: Paste behind

keys-option

Option: Creates a copy when dragging from a shape

keys-arrow-upkeys-arrow-down1keys-arrow-rightkeys-arrow-left

Arrow Keys: Moves selected object

keys-shiftkeys-arrow-upkeys-arrow-down1keys-arrow-rightkeys-arrow-left

Shift and Arrow Keys: Moves selected objects in larger increments

keys-optionkeys-shift

Option Shift: Makes a copy on a 45˚, 90˚, 135˚ or 180˚ axis while dragging on a selected shape

Viewing and Guides

keys-spacebar

Spacebar: Brings up your Hand Tool (but don’t use it when editing type!)

keys-commandkeys

Command +: Zoom in

keys-commandkeys1

Command –: Zoom out

keys-commandkeys-0

Command 0: View full artboard

keys-tab

Tab: Show and hide your palettes

keys-command

Command: Show and hide your guide lines

keys-commandkeys-optionkeys2

Command Option ;: Lock and unlock your guide lines

keys-commandkeys-r

Command R: Show and hide your page rulers

keys-commandkeys-n

Command N: Create a new document

There are, of course, TONS of other keyboard shortcuts if you want to play around! A complete list of shortcuts can be found here (http://www.nobledesktop.com/shortcuts-illustratorcs4-mac.html).

© 2009 Jennifer Borton

16 thoughts on “Handy Keyboard Shortcuts for Adobe Illustrator

  1. bevouliin says:

    Hello, Great Post! I am a CorelDraw user, and now still learning adobe illustrator.
    This guide help me to understand more about keyboard shorcuts in adobe illustrator. Thank you very much 🙂

  2. SP says:

    Super helpful article! Is there any way to move from the Move (V) tool to the Path Eraser tool? Pressing N always switches back to pencil; there seems to be no apparent shortcut to the Path Eraser tool, but I use it all the time and would love to be able to switch back without having to do mouse work.

    Thanks for any reply.

  3. Yar says:

    Very Helpful.
    Thanks

  4. scott says:

    Ugh! I some how turned off my keyboard short cut for the “hand tool”!!! Anyone know how to get it back? I know it’s something easy. Help!!!! thanks

    • bortonia says:

      The hand tool, as in the one that helps you navigate around your file? I hold the space bar and click on the artboard to move about. Hopefully this is what you were referring to!

  5. Beth says:

    Anyone know of a handy way to flip from actually using the Type tool (T) to the select tool (V) effectively ceasing the typing and taking focus of the object in a select mode? I am still trying to figure out if that can be done using keys instead of moving back and forth between the canvas and tool pallet with my cursor.

    • bortonia says:

      Hi Beth, I know what you mean, super frustrating! Believe me, I’ve often added unwanted ‘V’s to my text when trying to change to my select tool. The workaround I use is if I’m in the middle of typing into a text box, I will hit ‘Command’ (‘Control’ on PC I believe) on my keyboard and with it held down I’ll click outside of my text area. This will deselect my text box and from there I can hit ‘V’ to bring up my selection arrow. If anyone else has any suggestions we’d LOVE to hear them!

    • Jami says:

      While typing and wanting to move quickly to another tool or keyboard shortcut, I will Ctrl Shift A to quickly deselect and then press whatever key I want next.

      If you’re fast with the keys as I am, sometimes my fingers will deselect a bit fast and the order will get off and you here and there get left with a “Av” on the end of your text, but it’s minimal when that happens as it saves a move with your mouse.

    • Anonymous says:

      Use Command+Option+shift+m to switch to Type Pallete while you are still typing smthing…
      Regards,

      Satish

  6. ◄IVAN► says:

    helpful ! thanQ 🙂

  7. […] Handy Keyboard Shortcuts for Adobe Illustrator […]

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