Simplifying your workspace in Adobe Illustrator CC can streamline your creative process. And now you can work faster with easy access to your most-used features and controls in the handy new Properties panel.

Note: You’ll need the latest version of Illustrator CC to use this feature.

Get to know the Essentials workspace

Start by selecting the Essentials workspace at the top. This trim, uncluttered workspace makes it easy to find and use the right controls when you need them.

Find your tools in the Tools panel on the left, create artwork on the artboard in the middle, and access three docked panels on the right — Properties, Layers, and Libraries. These three panels put the controls and features you’re most likely to need in one convenient place.


Meet the smart Properties panel

Use the context-aware settings in the Properties panel to change the appearance of artwork and text objects. When no object is selected and the Selection tool is active, you can set up your document and apply any global settings. Change units, edit artboards, add a grid, and set up commonly used tool preferences.


When an object, such as a rectangular shape, is selected, you’ll see relevant options to transform it (scale, rotate, and so on), change the appearance (apply a different fill or stroke), add a drop shadow effect, and more.


You’ll find many commonly used actions within easy reach. For example, when multiple objects are selected, you can click Group, or click Recolor to explore ways to quickly change their colors while maintaining color harmony. Use Pathfinder functions to create a unique compound shape from overlapping objects or align the selected objects in various ways.


With selected text, you can easily change the font, style, and other type attributes, and then transform the text object completely by altering its size, aspect ratio, rotation angle, and more. Color the text, change its opacity (make it more transparent), and apply other effects. Click Create Outlines to instantly convert the text to a shape to use it in other creative ways.


Try clicking the More Options button (…) to quickly access advanced features or panels with additional settings.


When you place an image, you can transform, crop, and change its colors. Alternatively, click Image Trace to convert it to vector art with minimal effort.


Go ahead and try the Essentials workspace in Illustrator — with your most-used features, options, and tasks at your fingertips, you won’t hunt for them in menus or labor to remember shortcut keys anymore. For more, read about the Properties panel.

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