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  1. Illustrator User Guide
  2. Get to know Illustrator
    1. Introduction to Illustrator
      1. What's new in Illustrator
      2. Common questions
      3. Illustrator system requirements
      4. Illustrator for Apple silicon
    2. Workspace
      1. Workspace basics
      2. Create documents
      3. Toolbar
      4. Default keyboard shortcuts
      5. Customize keyboard shortcuts
      6. Introduction to artboards
      7. Manage artboards
      8. Customize the workspace
      9. Properties panel
      10. Set preferences
      11. Touch Workspace
      12. Microsoft Surface Dial support in Illustrator
      13. Recovery, undo, history, and automation
      14. Rotate view
      15. Rulers, grids, and guides
      16. Accessibility in Illustrator
      17. Safe Mode
      18. View artwork
      19. Use the Touch Bar with Illustrator
      20. Files and templates
    3. Tools in Illustrator
      1. Tools at a glance
      2. Select tools
        1. Selection
        2. Direct Selection
        3. Group Selection
        4. Magic Wand
        5. Lasso
        6. Artboard
      3. Navigate tools
        1. Hand
        2. Rotate View
        3. Zoom
      4. Paint tools
        1. Gradient
        2. Mesh
        3. Shape Builder
      5. Text tools
        1. Type
        2. Type on a Path
        3. Vertical Type
      6. Draw tools
        1. Pen
        2. Add Anchor Point
        3. Delete Anchor Point
        4. Anchor Point
        5. Curvature
        6. Line Segment
        7. Rectangle
        8. Rounded Rectangle
        9. Ellipse
        10. Polygon
        11. Star
        12. Paintbrush
        13. Blob Brush
        14. Pencil
        15. Shaper
        16. Slice
      7. Modify tools
        1. Rotate
        2. Reflect
        3. Scale
        4. Shear
        5. Width
        6. Free Transform
        7. Eyedropper
        8. Blend
        9. Eraser
        10. Scissors
  3. Illustrator on the iPad
    1. Introduction to Illustrator on the iPad
      1. Illustrator on the iPad overview
      2. Illustrator on the iPad FAQs
      3. System requirements | Illustrator on the iPad
      4. What you can or cannot do on Illustrator on the iPad
    2. Workspace
      1. Illustrator on the iPad workspace
      2. Touch shortcuts and gestures
      3. Keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator on the iPad
      4. Manage your app settings
    3. Documents
      1. Work with documents in Illustrator on the iPad
      2. Import Photoshop and Fresco documents
    4. Select and arrange objects
      1. Create repeat objects
      2. Blend objects
    5. Drawing
      1. Draw and edit paths
      2. Draw and edit shapes
    6. Type
      1. Work with type and fonts
      2. Create text designs along a path
      3. Add your own fonts
    7. Work with images
      1. Vectorize raster images
    8. Color
      1. Apply colors and gradients
  4. Cloud documents
    1. Basics
      1. Work with Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Share and collaborate on Illustrator cloud documents
      3. Upgrade cloud storage for Adobe Illustrator
      4. Illustrator cloud documents | Common questions
    2. Troubleshooting
      1. Troubleshoot create or save issues for Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Troubleshoot Illustrator cloud documents issues
  5. Add and edit content
    1. Drawing
      1. Drawing basics
      2. Edit paths
      3. Draw pixel-perfect art
      4. Draw with the Pen, Curvature, or Pencil tool
      5. Draw simple lines and shapes
      6. Image Trace
      7. Simplify a path
      8. Define perspective grids
      9. Symbolism tools and symbol sets
      10. Adjust path segments
      11. Design a flower in 5 easy steps
      12. Perspective drawing
      13. Symbols
      14. Draw pixel-aligned paths for web workflows
    2. 3D effects and Adobe Substance materials
      1. About 3D effects in Illustrator
      2. Create 3D graphics
      3. Map artwork over 3D objects
      4. Create 3D objects
      5. Create 3D Text
    3. Color
      1. About color
      2. Select colors
      3. Use and create swatches
      4. Adjust colors
      5. Use the Adobe Color Themes panel
      6. Color groups (harmonies)
      7. Color Themes panel
      8. Recolor your artwork
    4. Painting
      1. About painting
      2. Paint with fills and strokes
      3. Live Paint groups
      4. Gradients
      5. Brushes
      6. Transparency and blending modes
      7. Apply stroke on an object
      8. Create and edit patterns
      9. Meshes
      10. Patterns
    5. Select and arrange objects
      1. Select objects
      2. Layers
      3. Group and expand objects
      4. Move, align, and distribute objects
      5. Stack objects    
      6. Lock, hide, and delete objects
      7. Duplicate objects
      8. Rotate and reflect objects
    6. Reshape objects
      1. Crop images
      2. Transform objects
      3. Combine objects
      4. Cut, divide, and trim objects
      5. Puppet Warp
      6. Scale, shear, and distort objects
      7. Blend objects
      8. Reshape using envelopes
      9. Reshape objects with effects
      10. Build new shapes with Shaper and Shape Builder tools
      11. Work with Live Corners
      12. Enhanced reshape workflows with touch support
      13. Edit clipping masks
      14. Live shapes
      15. Create shapes using the Shape Builder tool
      16. Global editing
    7. Type
      1. Add text and work with type objects
      2. Create bulleted and numbered lists
      3. Manage text area
      4. Fonts and typography
      5. Format type
      6. Import and export text
      7. Format paragraphs
      8. Special characters
      9. Create type on a path
      10. Character and paragraph styles
      11. Tabs
      12. Text and type
      13. Find missing fonts (Typekit workflow)
      14. Update text from Illustrator 10
      15. Arabic and Hebrew type
      16. Fonts | FAQ and troubleshooting tips
      17. Create 3D text effect
      18. Creative typography designs
      19. Scale and rotate type
      20. Line and character spacing
      21. Hyphenation and line breaks
      22. Text enhancements
      23. Spelling and language dictionaries
      24. Format Asian characters
      25. Composers for Asian scripts
      26. Create text designs with blend objects
      27. Create a text poster using Image Trace
    8. Create special effects
      1. Work with effects
      2. Graphic styles
      3. Create a drop shadow
      4. Appearance attributes
      5. Create sketches and mosaics
      6. Drop shadows, glows, and feathering
      7. Summary of effects
    9. Web graphics
      1. Best practices for creating web graphics
      2. Graphs
      3. SVG
      4. Create animations
      5. Slices and image maps
  6. Import, export, and save
    1. Import
      1. Place multiple files
      2. Manage linked and embedded files
      3. Links information
      4. Unembed images
      5. Import artwork from Photoshop
      6. Import bitmap images
      7. Import Adobe PDF files
      8. Import EPS, DCS, and AutoCAD files
    2. Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator 
      1. Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator
    3. Save
      1. Save artwork
    4. Export
      1. Use Illustrator artwork in Photoshop
      2. Export artwork
      3. Collect assets and export in batches
      4. Package files
      5. Create Adobe PDF files
      6. Extract CSS | Illustrator CC
      7. Adobe PDF options
      8. File information and metadata
  7. Printing
    1. Prepare for printing
      1. Set up documents for printing
      2. Change the page size and orientation
      3. Specify crop marks for trimming or aligning
      4. Get started with large canvas
    2. Printing
      1. Overprint
      2. Print with color management
      3. PostScript printing
      4. Print presets
      5. Printer's marks and bleeds
      6. Print and save transparent artwork
      7. Trapping
      8. Print color separations
      9. Print gradients, meshes, and color blends
      10. White Overprint
  8. Automate tasks
    1. Data merge using the Variables panel
    2. Automation with scripts
    3. Automation with actions
  9. Troubleshooting 
    1. Crash issues
    2. Recover files after crash
    3. File issues
    4. Supported file formats
    5. GPU device driver issues
    6. Wacom device issues
    7. DLL file issues
    8. Memory issues
    9. Preferences file issues
    10. Font issues
    11. Printer issues
    12. Share crash report with Adobe
    13. Improve Illustrator performance

About trapping

Where colors printed from separate plates overlap or adjoin one another, press misregistration can cause gaps between colors on the final output. To compensate for potential gaps between colors in artwork, print shops use a technique called trapping to create a small area of overlap (called a trap) between two adjoining colors. You can use a separate, dedicated trapping program to create traps automatically, or you can use Illustrator to create traps manually.

There are two types of trap: a spread, in which a lighter object overlaps a darker background and seems to expand into the background; and a choke, in which a lighter background overlaps a darker object that falls within the background and seems to squeeze or reduce the object.

Spread (object overlaps background) compared to choke (background overlaps object)

When overlapping painted objects share a common color, trapping may be unnecessary if the color that is common to both objects creates an automatic trap. For example, if two overlapping objects contain cyan as part of their CMYK values, any gap between them is covered by the cyan content of the object underneath.

Trapping type can present special problems. Avoid applying mixed process colors or tints of process colors to type at small point sizes, because any misregistration can make the text difficult to read. Likewise, trapping type at small point sizes can result in hard-to-read type. As with tint reduction, check with your print shop before trapping such type. For example, if you are printing black type on a colored background, simply overprinting the type onto the background may be enough.

Create a trap

The Trap command creates traps for simple objects by identifying the lighter-colored artwork—whether it’s the object or the background—and overprinting (trapping) it into the darker artwork. You can apply the Trap command from the Pathfinder panel or as an effect. The advantage of using the Trap effect is that you can alter the trap settings at any time.

A. Area of overprinting B. Area of knockout C. Background color D. Foreground color
What the Trap command does

A. Area of overprinting B. Area of knockout C. Background color D. Foreground color 

In some cases, the top and bottom objects may have similar color densities so that one color is not obviously darker than the other. In this case, the Trap command determines the trap based on slight differences in color; if the trap specified by the Trap dialog box is not satisfactory, you can use the Reverse Trap option to switch the way in which the Trap command traps the two objects.

  1. If the document is in RGB mode, choose File > Document Color Mode > CMYK Color to convert it to CMYK Mode.
  2. Select two or more objects.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To apply the command directly to the objects, choose Window > Pathfinder, and choose Trap from the panel menu.

    • To apply the command as an effect, choose Effect > Pathfinder >Trap. Select Preview if you want to preview the effect.

  4. Set trap options, and click OK.

Trap options


Specifies a stroke width between 0.01 and 5000 points. Check with your print shop to determine what value to use.


Specifies the trap on horizontal lines as a percentage of the trap on vertical lines. Specifying different horizontal and vertical trap values lets you compensate for on‑press irregularities, such as paper stretch. Contact your print shop for help in determining this value. The default value of 100% results in the same trap width on horizontal lines and on vertical lines. To increase the trap thickness on horizontal lines without changing the vertical trap, set the Height/Width value to greater than 100%. To decrease the trap thickness on horizontal lines without changing the vertical trap, set the Height/Width value to less than 100%.

Height/Width set to 50% (left) compared to 200% (right)
Height/Width set to 50% (left) compared to 200% (right)

Tint Reduction

Reduces the tint of the lighter color being trapped; the darker color remains at 100%. This option is useful when trapping two light-colored objects, where the trap line may show through the darker of the two colors, resulting in an unsightly dark border. For example, if you trap a light yellow object into a light blue object, a bright green border is visible where the trap is created. Check with your print shop to find out what percentage of tint is most appropriate given the type of press, inks, paper stock, and so on being used.

Tint reduction value
Tint reduction value of 100% (trap contains 100% of lighter color) compared to tint reduction value of 50% (trap contains 50% of lighter color)

Traps With Process Color

Converts spot-color traps to equivalent process colors. This option creates an object of the lighter of the spot colors and overprints it.

Reverse Traps

Traps darker colors into lighter colors. This option does not work with rich black—that is, black that contains additional CMY inks.

Precision (as effect only)

Affects how precisely an object's path is calculated. The more precise the calculation, the more accurate the drawing and the more time is required to generate the resulting path.

Remove Redundant Points (as effect only)

Removes unnecessary points.

Create a spread or choke

For more precise control of trapping and for trapping complex objects, you can create the effect of a trap by stroking an object and setting the stroke to overprint.

  1. Select the topmost object of the two objects that must trap into each other.
  2. In the Stroke box in the Tools panel or the Color panel, do one of the following:
    • Create a spread by entering the same color values for the Stroke as appear in the Fill box. You can change the stroke’s color values by selecting the stroke and then adjusting its color values in the Color panel. This method enlarges the object by stroking its boundaries with the same color as the object’s fill.

    Object stroked with fill color
    Object stroked with fill color

    • Create a choke by entering the same color values for the Stroke as appear in the lighter background (again, using the Color panel); the Stroke and Fill values will differ. This method reduces the darker object by stroking its boundaries with the lighter background color.

  3. Choose Window > Stroke.
    Object stroked with background color
    Object stroked with background color

    A. Overprinted stroke creates choke trap B. Fill creates knockout C. Area of trap D. Area of knockout 

  4. In the Weight text box, enter a stroke width of between 0.01 and 1000 points. Check with your print shop to determine what value to use.

    For example, a stroke weight of 0.6 point creates a trap of 0.3 point. A stroke weight of 2.0 points creates a trap of 1.0 point.

  5. Choose Window > Attributes.
  6. Select Overprint Stroke.

Trap a line

  1. Select the line to be trapped.
  2. In the Stroke box in the Tools panel or the Color panel, assign the stroke a color of white.
  3. In the Stroke panel, select the desired line weight.
  4. Copy the line, and choose Edit >Paste In Front. The copy is used to create a trap.
  5. In the Stroke box in the Tools panel or the Color panel, stroke the copy with the desired color.
  6. In the Stroke panel, choose a line weight that is wider than the bottom line.
  7. Choose Window > Attributes.
  8. Select Overprint Stroke for the top line.
    Copy of stroke used for spread trap
    Copy of stroke used for spread trap

    A. Overprinted top stroke creates spread trap B. Bottom stroke creates knockout C. Area of knockout D. Area of trap 

Trap a portion of an object

  1. Draw a line along the edge or edges that you want to trap. If the object is complex, use the Direct Selection tool  to select the edges to be trapped, copy them, and choose Edit > Paste In Front to paste the copy directly on top of the original.
    Drop shadow with a trap (left) is based on the line drawn where the object and its drop shadow meet (right).
    Drop shadow with a trap (left) is based on the line drawn where the object and its drop shadow meet (right).

  2. In the Stroke box in the Tools panel or the Color panel, select a color value for the Stroke to create either a spread or a choke.
  3. Choose Window > Attributes.
  4. Select Overprint Stroke.
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