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Quick Illustrator Tips


How to turn guides into vector lines

Go to View > Guides > Lock Guides to unlock guides if they are locked. Then go to View > Guides > Release Guides and the guides will turn into vector lines.

Changing the Default Illustrator File

Do you ever wish you could load certain symbols, swatches, brushes, or styles into Illustrator every time it opened?

CAUTION! This is only for advanced users, and make sure to make a backup copy of the file before altering it!

If you want a brush, symbol, swatch, or style to be available everytime you create a new document in Illustrator, for instance a logo you use a lot, you can edit the Illustrator Startup documents in the Illustrator plug-ins folder. Just open the file in Illustrator, add the content you want available, and save and close the document. The next time you create a new document in Illustrator it will be there.

Also be warned that unless you do cleanup on every final document you save (by deleting unused brushes, symbols, swatches, and styles), everything you add increases file size! For the same reason, you can also delete items you will never use from the startup file. Once again, this is NOT for the casual user. It's sort of like messing with the windows registry. If you aren't sure you know what you are doing, then don't do it.


Saving Symbol Sets

Symbols are graphics you might want to use later and not have to recreate. Even graphics with gradient fills or gradient meshes can be saved as a symbol for use later. To save a graphic as a symbol, simply grab it and drag it to the symbols palette and drop it. It's now a symbol and you can use any of the symbol tools on it. To save the symbol to be loaded later, however, there are a couple rules you have to follow.

Drag the symbol to the page from the Symbols palette to use it. Like the brush, it has to be used on the page to be saved.

Delete all unused symbols, graphic styles, brushes, and swatches as you did when you saved the brush.

Delete the symbol and any other artwork from the page.

Go to File > Save As and save the file. I recommend using the word 'symbol' (or something like sym that you know means 'symbol' in the file name ( so you know at a glance it's a symbol file. Save it in Illustrator/presets/symbols or anywhere on your hard drive or an external drive to be loaded later.

When you want to use them, symbol files are loaded in the same manner as brushes.

Because symbols are vector, they can be resized as desired with no loss of quality.


Keeping proportions when making a numerical transformation

Enter the new height or width value in the transform palette and hold down the command/control key and hit enter or return. The other value will be entered for you. More transform tricks here.



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