Right-click (or control-click) the link to download a handy one-page PDF of Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts. This is an essential set of shortcuts, rather than an encyclopedic list, so you can memorize and master them quickly. Get these shortcuts under your fingertips, and you’ll be working faster in Adobe Illustrator.
Tips for Learning Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts
command/control and option/alt
I use these Mac and PC abbreviations throughout the list. If you are working on a Mac, the shortcut will start with the command or option key. On a PC, use the control or alt keys. Control-clicking on a Mac is the equivalent of right-clicking on a PC.
Arrow Tool Toggle
When using a tool (shape drawing tools, Pen Tool, Eyedropper Tool, etc.) use the command/control key to toggle to the Black or White Arrow Tool. Which arrow you get is determined by the last Arrow Tool that was active. The official Illustrator name for these tools is the Selection Tool (Black Arrow) and the Direct Selection Tool (White Arrow).
Nudging with the Arrow Keys
This is probably one of my most often used Illustrator keyboard shortcuts. I memorized the shortcut for Preferences, command/control K. This allows me to quickly change the keyboard increment as I’m working. Sometimes I set it to 1px, or 1 pt for fine-tuning. If I’m working on artwork for print, I’ll set the keyboard increment to .25″ or .5″. Then, I can use the up, down, left and right arrow keys on my keyboard to nudge objects precisely by the distance I set for the keyboard increment.
Hold the shift key as you nudge to jump the keyboard increment x 10.
Hold the option/alt key to make a copy of the selected object and nudge it simultaneously.
Nudging objects precisely allows you to move them aside, make edits and them back into place. This way, you can re-register the object perfectly with the existing artwork.
What are your favorite Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts? Leave a comment and weigh in! Soon, I’ll have a video tutorial posted to demonstrate the tilde key (~) shortcut, my new favorite from my Pattern Power class.