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Accessibility in Illustrator

  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. Learn faster with the Illustrator Discover panel
      3. Create documents
      4. Toolbar
      5. Default keyboard shortcuts
      6. Customize keyboard shortcuts
      7. Introduction to artboards
      8. Manage artboards
      9. Customize the workspace
      10. Properties panel
      11. Set preferences
      12. Touch Workspace
      13. Microsoft Surface Dial support in Illustrator
      14. Undo edits and manage design history
      15. Rotate view
      16. Rulers, grids, and guides
      17. Accessibility in Illustrator
      18. Safe Mode
      19. View artwork
      20. Use the Touch Bar with Illustrator
      21. 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
        11. Dimension
    4. Generative AI (not available in mainland China)
      1. Generate a vector graphic using a text prompt
      2. Recolor your artwork using a text prompt
    5. Quick actions
      1. Retro text
      2. Neon glow text
      3. Old school text
      4. Recolor
      5. Convert sketch to vector
  3. Illustrator on the web (beta)
    1. Illustrator on the web (beta) overview
    2. Illustrator on the web (beta) FAQ
    3. Troubleshooting issues FAQ
    4. Keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator on the web (beta)
    5. Create and combine shapes on the web
    6. Add and edit text on the web
    7. Apply colors and gradients on the web
    8. Draw and edit paths on the web
    9. Work with cloud documents on the web
    10. Invite collaborators to edit on the web
  4. 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
  5. Cloud documents
    1. Basics
      1. Work with Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Share and collaborate on Illustrator cloud documents
      3. Share documents for review
      4. Upgrade cloud storage for Adobe Illustrator
      5. Illustrator cloud documents | Common questions
    2. Troubleshooting
      1. Troubleshoot create or save issues for Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Troubleshoot Illustrator cloud documents issues
  6. Add and edit content
    1. Drawing and dimensioning
      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. Draw rectangular and polar grids
      7. Draw and edit flares
      8. Image Trace
      9. Simplify a path
      10. Symbolism tools and symbol sets
      11. Adjust path segments
      12. Design a flower in 5 easy steps
      13. Create and edit a perspective grid
      14. Draw and modify objects on a perspective grid
      15. Use objects as symbols for repeat use
      16. Draw pixel-aligned paths for web workflows
      17. Measure and plot dimensions
    2. 3D objects and materials
      1. About 3D effects in Illustrator
      2. Create 3D graphics
      3. Map artwork over 3D objects
      4. Create 3D Text
      5. Create 3D objects
    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. Copy and duplicate objects
      8. Rotate and reflect objects
      9. Intertwine objects
      10. Create realistic art mockups
    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. Convert text within images into editable text
      6. Add basic formatting to text
      7. Add advanced formatting to text
      8. Import and export text
      9. Format paragraphs
      10. Special characters
      11. Create type on a path
      12. Character and paragraph styles
      13. Tabs
      14. Find missing fonts (Typekit workflow)
      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. Spelling and language dictionaries
      23. Format Asian characters
      24. Composers for Asian scripts
      25. Create text designs with blend objects
      26. Create a text poster using Image Trace
    8. Create special effects
      1. Work with effects
      2. Graphic styles
      3. Appearance attributes
      4. Create sketches and mosaics
      5. Drop shadows, glows, and feathering
      6. Summary of effects
    9. Web graphics
      1. Best practices for creating web graphics
      2. Graphs
      3. SVG
      4. Slices and image maps
  7. 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. Document info panel
  8. 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
  9. Automate tasks
    1. Data merge using the Variables panel
    2. Automation with scripts
    3. Automation with actions
  10. Troubleshooting 
    1. Known issues
    2. Crash issues
    3. Recover files after crash
    4. File issues
    5. Supported file formats
    6. GPU device driver issues
    7. Wacom device issues
    8. DLL file issues
    9. Memory issues
    10. Preferences file issues
    11. Font issues
    12. Printer issues
    13. Share crash report with Adobe
    14. Improve Illustrator performance

Learn how to use accessibility features in Illustrator and how to create accessible designs using Illustrator.

Accessibility of software involves features in it that help people with visual, auditory, speech, motor, cognitive, and mobile disabilities use it with less difficulty. By extension, it also involves the usability of assistive technologies like screen readers and screen magnifiers with the software.

Illustrator has some tools and functionalities that are accessibility-friendly. It also lets you create accessible designs.


Illustrator isn't accessibility-friendly for people with full vision loss. It does partially support people with limited vision. Learn more about screen readers.

Native accessibility- friendly features of Illustrator

Explore the native accessibility-friendly features in Illustrator.

Keyboard support

  • Some Illustrator functionalities, such as menu options, can be operated through a keyboard interface. However, most functions can only be performed using the mouse. 
  • Illustrator offers many keyboard shortcuts. When you press a keyboard shortcut, it not only invokes the tool but also announces the name of the tool (while you use VoiceOver Utility in macOS).
  • Keyboard shortcuts can be remapped and removed, but Illustrator requires a mouse or touch to do so. Go to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts in the Illustrator workspace to remap keyboard shortcuts.

Users with limited manipulation cannot rely on a keyboard alone to interact with user interfaces. Though there are key combinations to perform certain functions, certain features cannot be accessed with the keyboard-only operation.

User interface customization


You can change the brightness of the Illustrator user interface to Dark, Medium Dark, Medium Light, or Light. 

Go to Edit Preferences > User Interface. Select the appropriate brightness icon next to Brightness and select OK.

Large Tabs

You can change the size of document tabs.

Go to Edit Preferences > User Interface. Check Large Tabs and select OK.

Selection & Anchor display

You can increase the size of selection handles, anchor points, and bezier controls.

Go to Illustrator > Preferences > Selection & Anchor display and move the slider of Anchor points, Handle and Bounding Box Display to its max value.

UI Scaling

Screens with larger resolutions have an option for UI scaling. 

Go to Edit > Preferences User Interface. Move the slider next to UI Scaling to select the required scaling and select OK.

Appearance of Black

You can set the appearance of black as Rich Black on RGB and grayscale devices for on-screen or printing/exporting appearance. 

Go to Edit Preferences Appearance of Black. Choose Rich Black for On Screen or Printing/ Exporting and select OK.

Color contrast


Most text meets minimum contrast requirements except when tools are highlighted, the light blue text on the light gray background lacks sufficient contrast.

Non-text elements

Most meaningful non-text content elements have sufficient contrast except in some functions, a control has a dark blue outline on a dark gray background.


Illustrator does not fully support high contrast mode on Windows. Illustrator does not respond to high contrast mode except for title bars and menus.

Text resize

Illustrator allows operating system display scaling to resize text up to 200 percent without loss of content or functionality for most functions. Exceptions include:

  • The opening video that can have its controls disappear at that zoom level.

Wacom support

Illustrator supports Wacom tablets. To enable Wacom, go to Edit > Preferences > Devices, and check Enable Wacom.

Support for assistive technologies

Explore the usability of assistive technologies in Illustrator.

Screen readers

Most non-text elements in Illustrator don't have correct text alternatives for use by screen readers. For example, icons that visually indicate the state and status of tool options. To use the screen reader, ensure that you've enabled VoiceOver (macOS) and installed JAWS Client (Windows).

Follow these steps to enable the screen reader:


  1. Go to System preferences > Accessibility

  2. Select VoiceOver > Enable VoiceOver > Open VoiceOver Utility

  3. Go to Navigation and select Move VoiceOver cursor from the Mouse pointer dropdown.

  4. Start Illustrator and open the New Document window. The VoiceOver cursor will be able to focus on the elements and announce their names.

A screen showing  how to access accessibility tab and then apply VoiceOver utility in macOS
VoiceOver Utility in macOS

  • When you press the keyboard shortcut to invoke the tool, the VoiceOver Utility announces the name of the tool.
  • It also announces the name of the artboard when you access it in the Presentation Mode (Shift + F).


  1. Launch JAWS

  2. Go to Utilities > Voice Assitant > Settings

  3. Scroll to the bottom and go to Mouse Echo and enable it.

  4. Start Illustrator and Create/ Open a New Document. JAWS will be able to announce the text associated with the hovered item.

JAWS in Windows
JAWS in Windows

The screen reader is supported on the following UI items:

  • Toolbar, status bar, properties panel, menu items, Dialog.
  • Panels are partially supported. 

Screen magnifiers

Illustrator works with screen magnifiers in general.

Create accessible content on Illustrator

You can create Color Blind Safe color themes for your design using Adobe Color. Once you create them, you can access them from Window > Libraries, or Window > Color Themes. To learn more, see Adobe Color | Accessibility tools.

To see how your design appears for people with Protanopia and Deuteranopia, go to View > Proof Setup and choose Color blindness - Protanopia-type and Color blindness - Deuteranopia-type respectively. You can adjust your design colors accordingly.


Illustrator does not provide you an option to add text alternatives to non-text elements in PDF documents. Text alternatives can be added using Adobe Acrobat.

Have a question or an idea?

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