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Five Quick Tips for Adobe Illustrator

Alignment, document defaults, manipulating curves and adding to open paths By Dave Nagel
Our tutorials on Adobe Illustrator tend toward either large, project-based scenarios or complex processes for creating effects or manipulating objects. But it's also good to step back sometimes and present some more simple tips that you might not know about, especially things that might just help you get your work done more quickly. So I've decided to launch a new series of quick tips for just this purpose, starting off with a fairly random assortment of five workflow timesavers.

1. Aligning to center
It's easy to align objects or groups of objects tot he center of your page, if you know where to look. Select your objects, and open up the Align palette (Window > Align). In the top right corner of the palette, you'll see a flyaway menu. Select this, and then choose "Align to Artboard" from the list of available options.

Then just click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons to center your object(s).

Note that if you select multiple objects, this process will stack all of the objects together in the center of your document window. If you wish to align multiple objects by their absolute centers, rather than as individual objects, group them before performing this action (Object > Group).

2. Manipulating curves without handles
It's possible in Illustrator to manipulate the curve of path segments without actually switching tools and without fiddling with anchor point handles. FOr this example, we'll start with a straight line that we draw with the Bezier Pen tool. After you've drawn the two end points, you can either add another point in the middle of the line by mousing over it, or move on to the next step. (This will depend on what sort of curve you want to create.)

Now hold down the Option key (Mac) or Alt key (Windows), which temporarily enables the Convert Anchor Point tool. Mouse it over one of your anchor points, and then click and drag to add handles to the anchor point.

Finally, hold down the Command key (Mac) or Control key (Windows) to enable the Direct Selection tool temporarily. Click on a line segment and drag to manipulate your curve without touching tangent handles.

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Related Keywords:adobe illustrator, workflow, tips, quick tips, copying, adding points, default settings

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