User Guide Cancel

Appearance attributes

  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

You can change the appearance of any object, group, or layer in Adobe Illustrator by using effects and the Appearance and Graphic Styles panels. In addition, you can divide an object into its essential parts to modify elements of the object independently.

About appearance attributes

Appearance attributes are properties that affect the look of an object without altering its underlying structure. Appearance attributes include fills, strokes, transparency, and effects. If you apply an appearance attribute to an object and later edit or remove that attribute, it does not change the underlying object or any other attributes applied to the object.

You can set appearance attributes at any level of the layer hierarchy. For example, if you apply a drop shadow effect to a layer, all objects in the layer take on the drop shadow. However, if you move an object out of the layer, that object will no longer have a drop-shadow because the effect belongs to the layer, not to each object within the layer.

The Appearance panel is the gateway to working with appearance attributes. Because you can apply appearance attributes to layers, groups, and objects—and often to fills and strokes too—the hierarchy of attributes in your artwork can become very complex. For example, if you apply one effect to an entire layer and another effect to an object in the layer, it may be difficult to determine which effect is causing the artwork to change. The Appearance panel shows you the fills, strokes, graphic styles, and effects that have been applied to an object, group, or layer.

Appearance panel overview

You use the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) to view and adjust the appearance attributes for an object, group, or layer. Fills and strokes are listed in stacking order; top to bottom in the panel correlates to front to back in the artwork. Effects are listed from top to bottom in the order in which they are applied to the artwork.

Appearance panel listing attributes of a grouped object
Appearance panel listing attributes of a grouped object

A. Path with stroke, fill, and drop shadow effect B. Path with effect C. Add New Stroke button D. Add New Fill button E. Add Effect button F. Clear Appearance button G. Duplicate Selected Item button 

Reveal additional items in the Appearance panel

When you select items that contain other items, such as a layer or group, the Appearance panel displays a Contents item.

  1. Double-click the Contents item.

List character attributes for a text object in the Appearance panel

When you select a text object, the panel displays a Characters item.

  1. Double-click the Characters item in the Appearance panel.


    To see individual character attributes for text with mixed appearance, select the individual character.

  2. Click Type at the top of the panel to return to the main view.

Turn an attribute on or off for selected object

  • To turn an individual attribute on or off, click the eyeball icon next to the attribute.

  • To turn all hidden attributes on, choose Show All Hidden Attributes from the Appearance panel menu.

Edit an attribute

  • Click in the attribute row to display and set values.

  • Click the underlined text and specify new values in the dialog box that appears.

Show or hide thumbnails in the Appearance panel

  1. Choose Show Thumbnail or Hide Thumbnail from the Appearance panel menu.

Specify how appearance attributes are applied to new objects

You can specify whether you want new objects to inherit appearance attributes or have only basic attributes.

  • To apply only a single fill and stroke to new objects, choose New Art Has Basic Appearance from the panel menu.

  • To apply all of the current appearance attributes to new objects, deselect New Art Has Basic Appearance from the panel menu.

Targeting items for appearance attributes

Before you can set an appearance attribute or apply a style or an effect to a layer, group, or object, you must target the item in the Layers panel. Selecting an object or group using any selection method also targets the object or group in the Layers panel, but layers can be targeted only by using the panel.

Shaded target icons in the Layers panel indicate which items contain appearance attributes.
Shaded target icons in the Layers panel indicate which items contain appearance attributes.

A. Targeting and appearance column B. Selection column C. Group with appearance attributes D. Layer with appearance attributes E. Object with appearance attributes 

The target icon indicates whether an item in the layer hierarchy has any appearance attributes and whether it is targeted:

  • Indicates the item is not targeted and has no appearance attributes beyond a single fill and a single stroke.

  • Indicates the item is not targeted but has appearance attributes.

  • Indicates the item is targeted but has no appearance attributes beyond a single fill and a single stroke.

  • Indicates the item is targeted and has appearance attributes.

    To target an item in the Layers panel, click the item’s target icon. A double ring  or  indicates that the item is targeted. Shift‑click to target additional items.

    Note: When an object or group is selected by any method, the item is also targeted in the Layers panel. In contrast, a layer can be targeted only by clicking its target icon in the Layers panel.

Manage appearance attributes

Edit or add an appearance attribute

You can open an appearance attribute, such as an effect, and change the settings at any time.

  1. In the Appearance panel, do any of the following:

    • To edit an attribute, click the blue underlined name of the attribute, and specify changes in the dialog box that appears.

    • To edit a fill color, click the fill row and choose a new color from the color box.

    • To add a new effect, click Add New Effect .

    • To delete an attribute, click the attribute row, and then click Delete .

Duplicate an appearance attribute

  1. Select an attribute in the Appearance panel, and do one of the following:

    • Click the Duplicate Selected Item button  in the panel, or choose Duplicate Item from the panel menu.

    • Drag the appearance attribute onto the Duplicate Selected Item button in the panel.

Change the stacking order of appearance attributes

  1. Drag an appearance attribute up or down in the Appearance panel. (If necessary, click the toggle triangle next to an item to display its contents.) When the outline of the appearance attribute you are dragging appears in the desired position, release the mouse button.

    Drop Shadow effect applied to stroke (top) compared to same effect moved to fill (bottom)
    Drop Shadow effect applied to stroke (top) compared to same effect moved to fill (bottom)

Remove or hide appearance attributes

  1. Select the object or group (or target a layer in the Layers panel).

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To temporarily hide an attribute applied to your artwork, click the Visibility icon  in the Appearance panel. Click it again to see the attribute applied again.

    • To remove a specific attribute, select the attribute in the Appearance panel, and click the Delete icon . Alternatively, select Remove Item from the panel menu, or drag the attribute to the Delete icon.

    • To remove all appearance attributes except a single fill and stroke, choose Reduce To Basic Appearance from the panel menu. Alternatively, drag the target icon for an item in the Layers panel onto the Delete icon in the Layers panel.

    • To remove all appearance attributes, including any fill or stroke, click the Clear Appearance button  in the Appearance panel or choose Clear Appearance from the panel menu.

Copy appearance attributes between objects

You can copy or move appearance attributes by dragging or by using the Eyedropper tool.

Copy appearance attributes by dragging

  1. Select the object or group (or target the layer in the Layers panel) whose appearance you want to copy.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Drag the thumbnail at the top of the Appearance panel onto an object in the document window. If a thumbnail isn’t showing, choose Show Thumbnail from the panel menu.

    • Alt‑drag (Windows) or Option‑drag (Mac OS) the target icon in the Layers panel onto the item to which you want to copy appearance attributes.

    • To move appearance attributes instead of copying them, drag the target icon in the Layers panel from any item that has the desired attributes onto the item to which you want to apply it.

Copy appearance attributes using the Eyedropper tool

You can use the Eyedropper tool to copy appearance attributes from one object to another, including character, paragraph, fill, and stroke attributes between type objects. By default, the Eyedropper tool affects all attributes of a selection. To customize the attributes affected by this tool, use the Eyedropper dialog box.

  1. Select the object, type object, or characters whose attributes you want to change.

  2. Select the Eyedropper tool .

  3. Move the Eyedropper tool onto the object whose attributes you want to sample. (When you’re correctly positioned over type, the pointer displays a small T.)

  4. Do one of the following:

    • Click the Eyedropper tool to sample all appearance attributes and apply them to the selected object.

    • Shift‑click to sample only the color from a portion of a gradient, pattern, mesh object, or placed image and apply the color to the selected fill or stroke.

    • Hold down the Shift key and then the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key while clicking to add the appearance attributes of an object to the selected object’s appearance attributes. Alternatively, click first, and then hold down Shift+Alt (Windows) or Shift+Option (Mac OS).

      note: You can also click an unselected object to sample its attributes and Alt‑click (Windows) or Option‑click (Mac OS) an unselected object to which you want to apply the attributes.

Copy attributes from the desktop using the Eyedropper tool

  1. Select the object whose attributes you want to change.

  2. Select the Eyedropper tool.

  3. Click anywhere on the document and continue to hold down the mouse button.

  4. Without releasing the mouse button, move the pointer over the object on your computer desktop whose attributes you want to copy. When directly over the object, release the mouse button.


    The Eyedropper tool samples only the RGB color from the screen when sampling anywhere outside the current document. The Eyedropper tool indicates it is sampling RGB color from the screen by displaying a black-colored square to the right of the tool.

Specify which attributes you can copy with the Eyedropper tool

  1. Double-click the Eyedropper tool.

  2. Select the attributes you want to copy with the Eyedropper tool. You can sample appearance attributes including transparency, and various fill and stroke properties, as well as character and paragraph properties.

  3. Choose the sample size area from the Raster Sample Size menu.

  4. Click OK.

More like this


Get help faster and easier

New user?

Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online