About graphic styles

A graphic style is a set of reusable appearance attributes. Graphic styles allow you to quickly change the look of an object; for example, you can change its fill and stroke color, alter its transparency, and apply effects in one step. All the changes you apply with graphic styles are completely reversible.

You can apply graphic styles to objects, groups, and layers. When you apply a graphic style to a group or layer, every object in the group or layer takes on the attributes of the graphic style. For example, assume you have a graphic style that consists of 50% opacity. If you apply the graphic style to a layer, all objects in or added to that layer will appear 50% opaque. However, if you move an object out of the layer, the object’s appearance reverts to its previous opacity.

For a video on using the Appearance panel and the Graphics Styles panel, see www.adobe.com/go/lrvid4022_ai .

Note:

If you apply a graphic style to a group or layer, but the style’s fill color doesn’t appear in the artwork, drag the Fill attribute above the Contents entry in the Appearance panel.

Graphic Styles panel overview

You use the Graphic Styles panel (Window > Graphic Styles) to create, name, and apply sets of appearance attributes. The panel lists a default set of graphic styles when you create a document. Graphic styles that are saved with the active document appear in the panel when that document is open and active.

If a style doesn’t have a fill and stroke (for example, an effect-only style) the thumbnail appears in the shape of the object with a black outline and white fill. In addition, a little red slash appears, indicating the absence of a fill or stroke.

If you’ve created a style for type, choose Use Text For Preview from the Graphics Styles panel menu to see a thumbnail of the style applied to a letter rather than a square.

To see any style more clearly, or to preview the style on a selected object, right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) the style’s thumbnail in the Graphic Styles panel and view the large pop-up thumbnail that appears.

For a video on using the Appearance panel and the Graphics Styles panel, see www.adobe.com/go/lrvid4022_ai .

Right-clicking style thumbnail to view large pop-up thumbnail
Right-click style thumbnail to view large pop-up thumbnail. Selected style is an effect-only style.

Change how graphic styles are listed in the panel

  • Do any of the following:

    • Select a view size option from the panel menu. Select Thumbnail View to display thumbnails. Select Small List View to display a list of named styles with a small thumbnail. Select Large List View to display a list of named styles along with a large thumbnail.

    • Select Use Square For Preview from the panel menu to view the style on a square or the shape of the object on which it was created.

    • Drag the graphic style to a different position. When a black line appears in the desired position, release the mouse button.

    • Select Sort By Name from the panel menu to list the graphic styles in alphabetic or numeric order (Unicode order).

    • Select Use Text For Preview from the panel menu to view the style on the letter T. This view provides a more accurate visual description for styles applied to text.

       

    Graphic style for type using text for the preview
    Graphic style for type using text for the preview

Create graphic styles

You can create a graphic from scratch by applying appearance attributes to an object, or you can base a graphic style on other graphic styles. You can also duplicate existing graphic styles.

Create a graphic style

  1. Select an object and apply any combination of appearance attributes, including fills and strokes, effects, and transparency settings.

    You can use the Appearance panel to adjust and order the appearance attributes and create multiple fills and strokes. For example, you can have three fills in a graphic style, each with a different opacity and blending mode that defines how the various colors interact.

  2. Do any of the following:

    • Click the New Graphic Style button  in the Graphic Styles panel.

    • Select New Graphic Style from the panel menu, type a name in the Style Name box, and click OK.

    • Drag the thumbnail from the Appearance panel (or the object from the illustration window) into the Graphic Styles panel.

    • Alt‑click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the New Graphic Style button, enter the name of the graphic style, and click OK.

    Drag the thumbnail from the Appearance panel to the Graphic Styles panel to save the attributes.
    Drag the thumbnail from the Appearance panel to the Graphic Styles panel to save the attributes.

Create a graphic style based on two or more existing graphic styles

  • Ctrl‑click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) to select all the graphic styles you want to merge, and then choose Merge Graphic Styles from the panel menu.

    The new graphic style contains all the attributes of the selected graphic styles and is added to the end of the list of graphic styles in the panel.

Duplicate a graphic style

  • Choose Duplicate Graphic Style from the panel menu, or drag the graphic style onto the New Graphic Style button.

    The new graphic style appears at the bottom of the list in the Graphic Styles panel.

Apply a graphic style

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

  2. To apply a single style to an object, do either of the following:

    • Select a style from the Styles menu in the Control panel, the Graphic Styles panel, or a graphic style library.

    • Drag the graphic style onto an object in the document window. (The object does not have to be selected first.)

  3. To merge a style with an object’s existing style attributes, or apply multiple styles to an object, do either of the following:

    • Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) the style from the Graphic Styles panel to the object.

    • Select the object, and then Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the style in the Graphic Styles panel.

    Note:

    To preserve the color of type when applying a graphic style, deselect Override Character Color in the Graphic Styles panel menu.

Use graphic style libraries

Graphic style libraries are collections of preset graphic styles. When you open a graphic style library, it appears in a new panel (not the Graphic Styles panel). You select, sort, and view items in a graphic style library the same as you do in the Graphic Styles panel. However, you can’t add items to, delete items from, or edit the items in graphic style libraries.

Open a graphic style library

  • Select a library from the Window > Graphic Style Libraries submenu or the Open Graphic Style Library submenu in the Graphic Styles panel menu.

Note:

To automatically open a library when you start Illustrator, choose Persistent from the library’s panel menu.

Create a graphic style library

  1. Add the graphic styles you want to the Graphic Styles panel, and delete any graphic styles you don’t want.

    Note:

    To select all graphic styles that aren’t used in a document, choose Select All Unused from the Graphic Styles panel menu.

  2. Choose Save Graphic Style Library from the Graphic Styles panel menu.

    You can save the library anywhere. However, if you save the library file in the default location, the library name will appear in the User Defined submenu of the Graphic Style Libraries and Open Graphic Style Library menu.

Move graphic styles from a library to the Graphic Styles panel

  • Drag one or more graphic styles from the graphic styles library to the Graphic Styles panel.

  • Select the graphic styles you want to add, and select Add To Graphic Styles from the library’s panel menu.

  • Apply a graphic style to an object in the document. The graphic style is automatically added to the Graphic Styles panel.

Work with graphic styles

In the Graphic Styles panel, you can rename or delete graphic styles, break the link to a graphic style, and replace graphic style attributes.

Rename a graphic style

  • Choose Graphic Style Options from the panel menu, rename the file, and then click OK.

Delete a graphic style

  • Choose Delete Graphic Style from the panel menu and click Yes, or drag the style onto the Delete icon.

    Any objects, groups, or layers that used the graphic style retain the same appearance attributes; however, these attributes are no longer associated with a graphic style.

  1. Select the object, group, or layer that has the graphic style applied to it.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose Break Link To Graphic Style from the Graphic Styles panel menu, or click the Break Link To Graphic Style button  in the panel.

    • Change any appearance attribute of the selection (such as a fill, stroke, transparency, or effect).

      The object, group, or layer retains the same appearance attributes and is now independently editable. However, these attributes are no longer associated with a graphic style.

Replace graphic style attributes

  • Alt‑drag (Windows) or Option‑drag (Mac OS) the graphic style you want to use onto the graphic style you want to replace.

  • Select an object or group (or target a layer in the Layers panel) that has the attributes you want to use. Then Alt‑drag (Windows) or Option‑drag (Mac OS) the thumbnail at the top of the Appearance panel onto the graphic style you want to replace in the Graphic Styles panel.

  • Select the graphic style you want to replace. Then select artwork (or target an item in the Layers panel) that has the attributes you want to use, and choose Redefine Graphic Style “Style name” from the Appearance panel menu.

    The replaced graphic style keeps its name but takes on new appearance attributes. All occurrences of the graphic style in the Illustrator document are updated to use the new attributes.

Import all graphic styles from another document

  1. Choose Window > Graphic Style Libraries > Other Library or select Open Graphic Style Library > Other Library from the Graphic Styles panel menu.

  2. Select the file from which you want to import graphic styles, and click Open.

    The graphic styles appear in a graphic style library panel (not the Graphic Styles panel).

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