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This chapter is from the book

The other essential panels illustrated*

Align panel align-panel-icon.jpg

The buttons on the top two rows of the Align panel align and/or distribute two or more objects along their centers or along their top, left, right, or bottom edges. Objects can be aligned to a selection, an artboard, or a key object (one of the selected objects). Buttons at the bottom of the panel redistribute (equalize) the spacing among three or more objects. See pages 105–106. This panel can also be used to align anchor points (see page 164). Align buttons also appear on the Control panel when multiple objects are selected.

Appearance panel appear-panel-icon.jpg

The appearance attributes of an object are its fill color, stroke color, Stroke panel settings, effects, and Transparency panel settings. The Appearance panel lists the specific appearance attributes and settings for whichever layer, group, or object is currently targeted on the Layers panel. You can use the panel to add extra fill or stroke attributes, edit or remove attributes, apply and edit effects, and edit individual attributes within an applied graphic style.

Using convenient in-panel features, you can edit attributes quickly. For example, you can click a link (blue underlined word) to open a dialog or a temporary panel: Click Stroke to open the Stroke panel, Opacity to open the Transparency panel, or the name of an effect to open its dialog. To open a temporary Swatches panel, click the Stroke or Fill color square, then click the thumbnail or arrowhead (or Shift-click the latter to open a temporary Color panel). See Chapter 14.

Artboards panel red-star.jpg artboards-panel.jpg

In addition to displaying a list of all the artboards in the current document, the Artboards panel lets you display, create, rename, and duplicate artboards; change their order; rearrange them in the document; choose options for them; change their orientation; and delete them. The Artboard Options dialog opens when you double-click the artboard orientation icon, which is located to the right of the artboard name. See pages 7–12 and 28.

Attributes panel attributes-panel-icon.jpg

The “catchall” Attributes panel lets you choose overprint options for an object (see page 403), show or hide an object’s center point (see page 101), switch the fill between color and transparency in a compound path, change an object’s fill rule (see page 338), choose a shape for an image map area, and enter a Web address for an object to designate it as a hot point on an image map. Click Browser to launch the Web browser that is currently installed on your system.

Brushes panel brush-panel-icon.jpg

There are five varieties of decorative brushes that you can apply to paths: Calligraphic, Scatter, Art, Bristle, and Pattern. This can be done either by choosing the Paintbrush tool and a brush and then drawing a shape, or by applying a brush to an existing path.

To personalize your brush strokes, you can create and edit custom brushes. If you modify a brush that’s being used in a document, you’ll be given the option via an alert dialog to update the paths with the revised brush. Brushes on the Brushes panel save with the current document. See Chapter 23.

To open a temporary Brushes panel, click the Brush Definition thumbnail or arrowhead on the Control or Appearance panel.

Character panel char-panel-icon.jpg

You will use the Character panel to apply type attributes: font (family), font style, font size, leading, kerning, tracking, horizontal scale, vertical scale, baseline shift, character rotation, underline, strikethrough, an anti-aliasing method, and a language to be used for hyphenation. See pages 255–258 and 272.

When a type tool or a type object is selected, the Control panel also provides some basic type controls. To open a temporary Character panel, click Character on the Control panel.

Character Styles panel char-styles-panel-icon.jpg

A character style is a collection of settings for type characters, including a font (family), font style, font size, leading, tracking, and kerning. Unlike paragraph styles, which apply to whole paragraphs, character styles are used to quickly format small bits of type (such as bullets, boldfaced words, italicized words, or large initial caps) to distinguish them from the main text. When you edit a character style, any text in which it is being used updates accordingly. Using the Character Styles panel, you can create, apply, edit, store, duplicate, and delete styles. See pages 266–269. (Compare this panel with the Paragraph Styles panel, which is shown on page 52.)

Color panel color-panel-icon.jpg

Use the Color panel to mix a global process color or set a tint percentage for a spot color, and apply that color to an object’s fill or stroke. Choose a color model for the panel, such as RGB or CMYK, from the panel menu. Quick-select a solid color or black, white, or None from the color ramp at the bottom of the panel. See page 117.

To open a temporary Color panel, Shift-click the Fill or Stroke color square or arrowhead on the Control panel or the Appearance panel.

Color Guide panel color-guide-p-icon.jpg

Use the Color Guide panel to generate color schemes from a base color by choosing a harmony rule and/or a variation type (Tints/Shades, Warm/Cool, or Vivid/Muted). You can click any variation swatch to apply it as a fill or stroke color to one or more selected objects. You can also save variations from the Color Guide panel as a group to the Swatches panel, or edit the current color group via the Edit Colors dialog. See pages 115 and 128–130.

Document Info panel doc-info-p-icon.jpg

The Document Info panel only provides information. It lists data about artwork in your document, based on which category is chosen on the panel menu: Document (all data), or all Objects, Graphic Styles, Brushes, Spot Color Objects, Pattern Objects, Gradient Objects, Fonts, Linked Images, Embedded Images, or Font Details. If Selection Only is selected on the menu, the panel lists only data pertaining to the currently selected object(s). See page 410.

Flattener Preview panel flat-pre-p-icon.jpg

Artwork that contains semitransparent objects must be flattened before it is printed. Using the Highlight menu options in the Flattener Preview panel, you can preview which objects in your document will be affected by flattening, adjust the flattening settings, then click Refresh to preview the effect of the new settings in your artwork. See page 406.

Glyphs panel glyphs-panel-icon.jpg

Using the Glyphs panel, you can find out which character variations (alternate glyphs) are available for any given character in a specific OpenType font, and insert glyphs from that font into your document (including glyphs that can’t be entered via the keyboard). See page 261.

Gradient panel gradient-panel-icon.jpg

The Gradient panel lets you create, apply, and edit gradients, which are soft, gradual blends between two or more colors. You can adjust the amount of a color by dragging its stop, choose a different color or opacity value for a selected stop, click below the gradient slider to add new colors, move a midpoint diamond to change the location where two adjacent colors are mixed equally, reverse the gradient colors, or change the overall gradient type or angle. For a radial gradient, you can also change the aspect ratio to make the gradient more oval or more round. See Chapter 24.

Graphic Styles panel grap-style-lib-menu-icon.jpg

The Graphic Styles panel enables you to store and apply collections of appearance attributes, such as multiple solid-color fills or strokes, transparency and overprint settings, blending modes, brush strokes, and effects. Using graphic styles, you can apply attributes quickly and create a cohesive look among multiple objects or documents (you can think of them as paragraph styles for type). See Chapter 16. To open a temporary Graphic Styles panel, click the Style thumbnail or arrowhead on the Control panel.

Info panel info-panel-icon.jpg

If no objects are selected in the current document, depending on the current tool, the Info panel lists the x,y (horizontal and vertical) location of the pointer in the document window. If an object is selected, the panel lists the location of the object relative to the ruler origin, its width and height, and data about its fill and stroke colors (the color components; or the name of a pattern or gradient; or a color name or number, such as a PANTONE number). While an object is being transformed, the panel lists pertinent information, such as a percentage value for a scale transformation or an angle of rotation. When a type tool and type object are selected, the panel displays type specifications. When the Measure tool is used, the Info panel opens automatically and lists the distance and angle the tool has just calculated.

Layers panel layers-panel-icon.jpg

The indispensable Layers panel lets you add and delete layers and sublayers in a document. You can also use this panel to select, target, restack, duplicate, delete, hide, show, lock, unlock, merge, change the view for, or create a clipping set for a layer, sublayer, group, or individual object. When your artwork is finished, you can use a command on the panel menu to flatten the document into one layer or release all the objects to separate layers for export as a Flash animation. See Chapter 13.

Links panel links-p-icon.jpg

When you place an image from another application, such as Photoshop, into an Illustrator document, you can opt to have Illustrator embed a copy of the image into the file (and thereby increase the file size but allow the program to color-manage it) or merely link the image to your document (and keep the file size to a minimum but require the original file to be available for print output). Using the Links panel, you can monitor the status of linked images, convert a linked image to an embedded one, open a linked image in its original application for editing, and restore the link to an image that is missing or modified. See pages 292–295.

Magic Wand panel magic-wand-panel-icon.jpg

The Magic Wand tool selects objects that have the same or a similar fill color, stroke color, stroke weight, opacity, or blending mode as the currently selected object. Using the Magic Wand panel, you choose attributes for the tool to select, and a tolerance value for each attribute. For example, if you were to check Opacity, choose an opacity Tolerance of 10%, then click an object that has an Opacity of 50%, the tool would find and select objects in the document that have an Opacity between 40% and 60%. See page 97.

Navigator panel nav-p-icon.jpg

The Navigator panel has two main functions. To move the current document in its window, drag or click in the proxy preview area (red outlined box). To change the document zoom level, use the zoom controls at the bottom of the panel. To both zoom to and bring a specific area of a document into view, Cmd-drag/Ctrl-drag in the proxy preview area.

OpenType panel opentype-panel-icon.jpg

Among the Roman OpenType font families that ship with Illustrator, the fonts that contain an expanded character set and a large assortment of alternate glyphs are labeled with the word “Pro.” By clicking a button on the OpenType panel, you can specify which alternate characters (glyphs) will appear in your text when you type the requisite key or keys. The special characters for a given font may include ligatures, swashes, titling characters, stylistic alternates, ordinals, and fractions. You can also use the panel to specify options for numerals, such as a style (e.g., tabular lining or oldstyle) and a position (e.g., numerator, denominator, superscript, or subscript). See page 262.

Paragraph panel para-panel-icon.jpg

Use the Paragraph panel to apply settings that affect entire paragraphs, such as horizontal alignment, indentation, spacing before or after, and automatic hyphenation. Via the panel menu, you can choose hanging punctuation and composer options and open a dialog for choosing justification or hyphenation options. See pages 259, 263–265, and 270.

The Align Left, Align Center, and Align Right buttons are also available on the Control panel when a type object is selected. To open a temporary Paragraph panel, click Paragraph on the Control panel.

Paragraph Styles panel par-styles-panel-icon.jpg

A paragraph style is a collection of paragraph specifications (including horizontal alignment, indentation, spacing before or after, word spacing, letter spacing, hyphenation, and hanging punctuation) and character attributes, such as the font family, font style, and font size. When you apply a paragraph style to one or more selected paragraphs, the type is reformatted with the specifications in that style. When you edit a paragraph style, the type it’s assigned to updates accordingly. Using paragraph (and character) styles, you can typeset text more quickly and with less effort. Styles also enable you to keep the formatting consistent among multiple type objects in the same document or among multiple documents. This panel lets you create, apply, edit, store, duplicate, and delete paragraph styles for the current document. See pages 266–269.

Pathfinder panel pathfinder-p-icon.jpg

Depending on how they are applied, the Shape Mode commands on the top row of the Pathfinder panel combine selected, overlapping objects into one or more standard paths or into a compound shape. The Expand button converts a compound shape into either a path or a compound path (the latter if the command originally produced a cutout shape). The Pathfinder buttons on the bottom row of the panel produce flattened, cut-up shapes from multiple selected objects. See pages 334–336. Be sure to also learn about the new Shape Builder tool, which we give instructions for on pages 327–331.

Separations Preview panel separations-preview-panel.jpg

The Separations Preview panel gives you an idea of how the individual C, M, Y, and K color components in a CMYK document will separate to individual printing plates during the commercial printing process. You can use the panel to check that a color is properly set to knock out colors beneath it in your artwork, or to check whether a color is properly set to overprint on top of the other colors. Other uses for the panel are to monitor the use of spot colors in the artwork, to verify that any spot color is set to knock out colors beneath it, and to determine whether a specific black is a rich black (a mixture of C, M, Y, and K inks) or a simple black that contains only the K component. See pages 402–403.

Stroke panel stroke-panel-icon.jpg

The stroke attributes affect the appearance of an object’s path (edge). By using the Stroke panel, you can choose a stroke weight (thickness), a cap (end) style, and a corner (join) style, and control how the stroke aligns to the path. You can also use the panel to create a dashed (or dotted) line or border; apply an arrowhead and/or tail style; and change the stroke width profile. See pages 120–122, page 156, and page 158. To open a temporary Stroke panel, click Stroke on the Control or Appearance panel.

Swatches panel swatches-panel-icon.jpg

Use the Swatches panel to choose, store, and apply solid colors, patterns, gradients, and color groups. If you click a swatch, it becomes the current fill or stroke color (depending on whether the Fill or Stroke square is active on the Tools panel and Color panel), and it is applied to all currently selected objects.

Double-clicking a swatch opens the Swatch Options dialog, in which you can change the swatch name or change its type to global process, nonglobal process, or spot. Via commands on the panel menu, you can merge swatches and perform other tasks. See pages 114, 116, 118, 124–127, and 132. To open a temporary Swatches panel, click the Fill or Stroke square or arrowhead on the Control or Appearance panel.

Symbols panel symbols-pal-icon.jpg

Symbols are Illustrator objects that are stored on the Symbols panel and save with the current document. Using symbols, you can quickly and easily create a complex collection of objects, such as a bank of trees or clouds. To create one instance of a symbol, you simply drag from the Symbols panel onto the artboard; to assemble multiple instances quickly into what is known as a symbol set, you use the Symbol Sprayer tool.

The other symbolism tools let you change the position, stacking order, proximity, size, rotation angle, or transparency of multiple instances in a set, or gradually apply a color tint or graphic style—while maintaining the link to the original symbol on the panel. If you edit the original symbol, all instances of that symbol in the document update automatically. See Chapter 28.

Tabs panel tabs-panel-icon.jpg

The only way to accurately align columns of text is by using tabs and the Tabs panel. Using the panel, you can insert, move, and change the alignment of custom tab markers (tab stops), specify a leader (such as a period character, to produce a dotted line), and specify a character for your text to align to (such as a decimal point). See pages 270–271.

Transform panel transform-panel-icon.jpg

The Transform panel lists the location, width, height, rotation angle, and shear angle of the currently selected object, and can be used to change those values. By clicking a point on the Reference Point locator, you can control what part of the object the transformations are calculated from. The panel can also be used to align selected objects to the pixel grid. Via commands on the panel menu, you can control whether just the object, the object and a fill pattern, or just the fill pattern is transformed. See pages 142–143.

To open a temporary Transform panel, click the X, Y, W, or H link on the Control panel (or click the word “Transform,” if those fields aren’t showing). A reference point icon and X, Y, W, and H fields also appear on the Control panel when one or more paths are selected.

Transparency panel trans-panel-icon.jpg

You can use the Transparency panel to change the blending mode or opacity of a layer, group, or individual object. See Chapter 27. The Make Opacity Mask command on the panel menu generates an editable opacity mask, which hides parts of a layer or group (that technique isn’t covered in this book).

To open a temporary Transparency panel, click the Opacity link on the Control or Appearance panel. You can also change the opacity of an object via the Control panel.

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