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This chapter is from the book

The Tools panel

Using the Tools panel

The Tools panel contains 81 tools that are used for creating and editing objects, as well as color controls, a menu or icons for choosing a drawing mode, and a menu for choosing a screen mode. If the panel is hidden, choose Window > Tools to display it. To convert its layout from single-column to double-column, or vice versa, double-click the dark gray bar at the top or click the arrowheads icon. To move the panel, drag the gripper bar or the dark gray bar.

Click once on a visible tool to select it, or click and hold on a tool that has a tiny arrowhead to choose a related tool from a fly-out menu. You can cycle through tools on the same menu by Option/Alt clicking the visible tool.

To create a standalone tearoff toolbar,A–B press and hold on the arrowhead for the current tool, then release the mouse when it’s over the vertical tearoff bar on the far right side of the tool menu. To move a tearoff toolbar, drag the top bar. To restore a tearoff toolbar to the Tools panel, click its close button.

To access a tool quickly, use the letter shortcut that is assigned to it. The shortcuts are listed in parentheses on the next two pages, and also in the tool tips onscreen.* C

Some tools can also be accessed temporarily via a toggle key. For example, pressing Cmd/Ctrl turns the current tool into a temporary selection tool. You’ll learn other tool toggles as you proceed through this book.

To turn the tool pointer into a crosshairs icon for more precise positioning, go to Illustrator/Edit > Preferences > General and check Use Precise Cursors. Or if you prefer to keep that preference off, you can turn the pointer into a crosshairs icon temporarily by pressing the Caps Lock key.

You can choose options for the current tool from the Control panel (see page 42). Some tools, such as the Paintbrush and Pencil tools, have a related options dialog, which opens when you double-click the tool or when you click the tool and then press Return/Enter.

The Tools panel illustrated

The tearoff toolbars*

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