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Touch Workspace

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Workspace layout and basics

The Touch workspace is an all-new reimagined, intuitive, and simplified workspace, designed to work with your Windows 8 -powered touch-enabled device. The workspace is optimized for easy, quick, and efficient touch-based interactions.

The new Touch workspace in Illustrator CC (October 2014)
The new Touch workspace in Illustrator CC (October 2014)

A. App bar B. Tool bar C. Control panel bar D. Document bar 

The layout has a cleaner interface that allows you to comfortably use a stylus or your finger tip to access the tools and controls of the Touch workspace. Some important notes while working with the Touch workspace:

  • Compared to the classic workspaces, panels are consolidated and reimagined to make using them easy
  • Annotator sizes are larger to eliminate issues related to accuracy. This makes it easier to work with widgets, control points, and handles
  • Drawing tools use a precise cursor to help pinpoint the exact origins and endings of paths
  • Panels like the Align panel have been redesigned and recreated for an intuitive approach to drawing and repositioning of objects
  • Illustrator-native gestures and Operating System gestures are supported

Switching between workspaces

Switching to the Touch workspace or back to a classic workspace is similar to switching between any of the previous workspaces. However, the interface has additional options to switch quickly, and some special conditions under which workspaces switch automatically.

Switch to the Touch workspace

Do one of the following while working in a classic workspace (for example, Essentials, Typography) in Illustrator CC 2014.1:

  • Tap in the App bar
  • From the Workspaces menu, choose Touch
  • Tap Window > Workspace > Touch
  • If attached, detach the keyboard for the device

Exit the Touch workspace

When you exit the Touch workspace, the last used workspace is activated. Do one of the following in the Touch workspace:

  • Tap in the app bar
  • From the workspaces menu, choose a different workspace.
  • If detached, attach a keyboard to the device

App bar

App bar in Illustrator
App bar in the Touch workspace

The App bar provides information and options related to the active Illustrator document:

  • File dropdown: Tap to create, close, save, or share documents.
  • Save As / Save button: Tap to save the open document.
  • Filename: Tap to view a list of open documents or close the current document.
  • Previous workspace: Tap to switch the previously used workspace
  • Workspace dropdown: Tap to view a list of available workspaces. Choose a workspace to switch to that workspace.
  • Help overlays icon: Tap to view the Help Overlays that describe various parts of the Touch workspace and the gestures supported in this workspace.

Tool bar

The Toolbar lists the various tools and basic editing actions (undo, redo, delete) available. Tap any tool to use it. 

Tool bar in Illustrator
The Tool bar in the Touch workspace

When you tap a Tool group, a drawer opens to display all the tools belonging to the group. Tap a tool in the group to select it.

Tools and Tool groups

Tools available in the Touch workspace are consolidated to best suit touch-enabled workflows:

  • Selection tool
  • Selection tools group: Direction Selection tool, Group selection tool.
  • Pen tools group: Curvature tool, Pen tool, Anchor Point tool.
  • Type group: Type tool, Touch Type tool.
  • Shaper tool: The Shaper tool. More about Shaper tool.
  • Shapes group: Rectangle tool, Rounded Rectangle tool, Ellipse tool.
  • Drawing tools group: Brush tool, Pencil tool, Stencil tool, Join tool.
  • Shape Builder tool
  • Free Transform tool
  • Undo, Redo, Delete buttons

Control panel

Control panel in Illustrator
The Control panel in the Touch Workspace

The Control panel consists of other panels that are available for the selected tool or object. Available panels are:

  • Color panel: Modify fill and stroke proxies using the RBG, CMYK, or Color picker tabs.
  • Stroke panel: Specify the weight or profile of a stroke.
  • Transparency panel: Choose blending modes or specify the opacity of an object.
  • Transform: Modify the shape of an object, or manipulate corners in Rounded Rectangles.
  • Align panel: Select objects and specify how they must align using this intuitive panel.
  • Context menu: Choose from various actions you can perform on a selected object.
  • Text panel: Specify font, font families, or the alignment of text in this panel.

Document bar

Document bar in Illustrator

The Document bar provides information and options about the currently open Illustrator document:

  • Artboard: Tap to view available artboards and tap an artboard name to switch to the artboard.
  • Artboard controls: Navigate between artboards or create an artboard.
  • View controls: View artboards, all at once, fitted to screen, or zoomed in at 100% magnification.


The Touch workspace provides gesture support to enable you to quickly work with objects drawn on your artboard:

  • Zoom in (increase magnification): Pinch outward to zoom in on the artboard.
  • Zoom out (reduce magnification): Pinch inwards to zoom out of the artboard.
  • Pan: Drag across to screen with two fingers to pan across the artboard.
  • Context widget: Tap and hold an object to bring up the Context widget.
  • Select objects (Selection tool): Tap an object, or Tap on the artboard and drag across objects to select.
  • Switch Selection / Drawing modes: Tap with two fingers to toggle between selection and drawing modes.

 Illustrator also supports Touch Bar, the multitouch display at the top of the MacBook Pro keyboard. For more information about Touch Bar fundamentals, see this Apple documentation page.

Related resources

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