Learn what's new in the latest release of Illustrator CC.
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The October 2018 release of Illustrator CC (version 23.0) rolls out exciting new features for designers and illustrators. Read on for a quick introduction to these features and links to resources offering more information.

 


Freeform gradient

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Illustrator now offers a new gradient type called Freeform, which provides new color blending capabilities to create richer and photorealistic gradients that look more natural.

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Freeform gradient provides you the flexibility to create color stops at any place in your object. You can add, move, and change the color of color stops to seamlessly apply gradients to objects. Creating a freeform gradient fill is a simple and efficient way to create a smooth color gradation.

The Freeform gradient type can be applied in two modes:

  • Points: Use this mode to create color stops as independent points in the object.
  • Lines: Use this mode to create color stops over a line segment in the object.

For more information, see Gradients.

Global editing

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Illustrator now provides a new Global Edit option, which lets you edit all similar objects globally in one step. This feature comes handy in situations when multiple copies of an object, such as a logo, are present in the documents. To manually edit all such objects one-by-one can be difficult and time-consuming task, and may lead to errors. The Global Edit option helps you edit them globally in a simple and easy manner. You can also use this option to edit similar groups. 

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Selecting the objects for global editing and changing the shape of all selected objects.

For more information, see Global Editing.

Visual font browsing

The Character panel now includes the following new and enhanced options:

  •  A new tab Find More is provided to let you browse thousands of fonts from hundreds of type foundries from within Illustrator, activate them instantly, and use them in your artwork. Activated fonts are available for use in all Creative Cloud applications.
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Finding more fonts from Adobe Fonts

A. Show Activated Fonts filter B. Activate fonts icon C. Deactivate fonts icon D. Activation in-progress icon 
  • More sample text options are now available in the drop-down list. You can also select a text on the artboard to use as sample text. You can control the size of sample text by selecting the sample text size options.
  • The Show Similar Fonts and Add to Favorites options are available inline for every font. These are displayed when you hover over a font.
  • The Fonts Classification filter is now a drop-down list that shows a sample of the font types, instead of just the font type name.
  • A new Apply Recently Added filter is provided to filter all fonts that are added in the last 30 days.
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Fonts tab in Character panel

A. Apply Classification filter  B. Favorites filter  C. Show Recently Added filter  D. Show Activated Fonts filter E. Sample text options  F. Sample text size options  

For more information, see Fonts.

Customizable toolbar

Illustrator now provides two toolbars – Basic and Advanced. The Basic toolbar contains a set of tools that are commonly used while creating illustrations. All other tools are available within the toolbar drawer that you can open by clicking the Edit Toolbar button (...) at the bottom of the toolbar. 

The Advanced toolbar is a full-fledged toolbar that you can open by choosing Windows > Toolbars > Advanced or select Advanced in the drop-down menu of the drawer.

You can also create your own custom toolbars. In any toolbar, you can add, remove, group, or re-order tools according to your requirements.

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Customizing a toolbar by adding more tools

For more information, see Tools.

Presentation mode

You can now display the current Illustrator document in a full-screen presentation mode. In this mode, the application menu, panels, guides, grids, and selections are hidden. It is a non-editable mode, in which you can only view and browse through artboards using the arrow keys. Use this mode to present your design ideas.

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Artboard contents in full-screen presentation mode

For more information, see View artwork in presentation mode.

Trim view

Illustrator now provides a new view mode called Trim View, which is useful for previewing how a design would look without guides, grids, or elements that extend beyond the edge of the artboard. In this mode, any artwork falling outside the artboard is clipped and all non-printing objects on the canvas, such as grids and guides is hidden. You can continue to create and edit your artwork in this mode.  

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The original artwork and the trimmed artwork

For more information, see Preview artwork in final output medium.

Scalable user interface

You can now scale the user interface of Illustrator based on your screen resolution. When you launch Illustrator with updated preference settings, it identifies your screen resolution and adjusts the application scale factor accordingly. You can scale the user interface on your screen using the user interface preferences dialog. 

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Changing the UI scaling through User Interface preferences

For more information, see Scale the user interface.

Faster zoom

The overall zoom performance in Illustrator has been significantly improved. For complex artworks, a temporary raster is now used to enable a faster zooming and panning experience.

Content-Aware Crop

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(Only on Windows 64-bit and macOS) When you select the Crop Image option to crop an image on the artboard, Illustrator now identifies the visually significant portions of the selected image. A default cropping box is then displayed based on this identified portion of the image. You can adjust the dimensions of this cropping box if needed. Once you are done, you can click Apply in the Properties panel or press Enter (Windows) or Return (macOS) to crop the image.

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Illustrator identifying the visually significant portions of the image for cropping

For more information, see Crop images.

Actual size preview

When you choose View > Actual Size, Illustrator now sets the actual size of the display elements irrespective of your monitor size and resolution. When you perform a 100% zoom for a document, the size of every object in the document is the actual representation of the physical size of the object. For example, if you open a new artboard of A4 size and click Actual Size, the artboard size is changed to an actual A4 sheet.

For more information, see Change the view area.

Puppet Warp enhancement

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Illustrator now identifies the best areas to transform your artwork and automatically add pins to the artwork. You can also add or delete pins if you want. This feature is enabled by default when the Puppet Warp tool is selected. To disable this feature, deselect the Enable Content Aware Defaults option by choosing Edit > Preferences > General.

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Illustrator identifying the best areas and adding pins

For more information, see Puppet Warp.

Home screen

When you launch Illustrator, it now displays a Home screen, which includes the following:

  • A wide range of tutorials to help you quickly learn and understand the concept, workflow, tips, and tricks 
  • Popular presets to get you started with the new documents quickly
  • Display and access to your recent documents
  • Create New button to create a new document and Open button to open an existing document

The contents of the Home screen are tailored based on your familiarity with Illustrator and your Creative Cloud membership plan. 

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Illustrator Home screen

For more information, see Workspaces.

Enhanced Properties panel

The Properties panel now includes the following new controls:

  • Variable font options
  • Delete icon for single effects
  • Width Profile option to set width profiles
  • Corner option to change the curve of anchor points
  • Blend Option for blending objects
  • Merge Live Paint button to merge Live Paint groups
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A glimpse of new controls in Properties panel

For more information, see Properties panel.

Animated zoom in Outline mode

In the previous Illustrator versions, when you viewed your artwork as outlines or paths, Illustrator automatically switched from the GPU Preview mode to the CPU Preview mode.

Now, the Outline mode is GPU enabled. Viewing artwork in the GPU Outline mode displays smoother paths and reduces the time it takes to redraw the complex artwork on high-density display screens.

For more information, see Preview artwork as outlines.

License Stock images

You can now search for an image in the Libraries panel and send a request to get the licensed version of an image. Choose the image and do the following:

  1. In the Libraries panel, iIn the Search Adobe Stock box, type a search string for the image.
  2. In the search results, if you place the pointer on the selected image, the License and Save to downloads icon is displayed. Click this icon to get the licensed version of the image. 
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Licensing an Adobe Stock image

For more information, see Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator.

Support for South East Asian scripts

Illustrator now includes the support for five new South East Asian languages, so your documents can include text composed in these scripts: Thai, Burmese, Lao, Sinhalese, and Khmer.

For more information, see Composer for Asian scripts.

Other enhancements

In the Asset Export panel, new buttons are provided to let you generate single or multiple assets from a selection.

For more information, see Asset Export panel.

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