Learn how to use the Properties panel to access contextual controls in Illustrator.

The Properties panel in Illustrator lets you view settings and controls in the context of your current task or workflow. This panel has been designed with ease of use in mind, ensuring that you have access to the right controls when you need them.

The Properties panel is available by default in the Essentials workspace. It is also available in Window > Properties.

The frequently used controls for each Properties panel area are displayed upfront. You can access additional controls either by clicking the ellipses in the lower-right corner of an area or clicking an underlined option.

Default controls when no object is selected

When no objects are selected in your document and the Selection tool is selected, the Properties panel displays controls related to the artboards, ruler, grids, guides, snapping, and some commonly used preferences. In this state, the Properties panel displays quick action buttons that let you open the Document Setup and Preferences dialog boxes and enter the artboard editing mode.

Controls for selected objects

For any selection, the Properties panel displays two sets of controls:

  • Transformation and appearance controls: Width, Height, Fill, Stroke, Opacity, etc
  • Dynamic controls: Additional controls, depending on the contents of your selection, may become available. For example, you can adjust the character and paragraph attributes of text objects. For image objects, the Properties panel displays crop, mask, embed or unembed, and Image Trace controls. If you select a text box, the controls related to text modification are displayed in the Properties panel.
  • Quick Actions: Quick action tasks, depending on the contents of your selection, becomes available.
A. Controls available for an image object B. Controls available for a path C. Controls available for a text object D. View more options 

Additional controls in Properties Panel

In the October 2018 Illustrator release, the Properties panel includes the following additional controls:

  • Width Profile option: When you select the Width tool or any path that has the variable width applied, the Width Profile drop-down list is displayed in the Properties panel. You can change the width profile by selecting a width from the drop-down list.
  • Corners option: When you click the Direct Selection Tool in the toolbar and select a corner of an object, the Corners drop-down list is displayed in the Properties panel. You can change the corner curve by selecting a value in the Corners list.
  • Blend Options: When you select a single blend object and click the Blend Tool in the toolbar, the Blend Options are displayed in the Quick Actions section of the Properties panel.
  • Merge button: When you select two or more live paint objects, the Merge Live Paint button is displayed in the Quick Actions section of the Properties panel.
  • New pop-up for variable fonts: When you select a text object with the variable font applied, the Variable Font icon is displayed in the Character section of the Properties panel. When you click this icon, a pop-up is displayed in which you can change the weight and optical size of the selected font.
  • Delete icon for single effect: When a single effect is applied on an object, a Delete icon is displayed in the Appearance section of the Properties panel. You can click this icon to delete the applied effect. However, when you apply more than one effect, the Delete icon disappears and you need to open the Appearance panel to delete the effects.