Keyboard shortcuts make you more productive in Illustrator. You can use the default shortcuts included with Illustrator, or add and customize shortcuts to suit your needs.

Illustrator lets you view a list of all shortcuts, and edit or create shortcuts. The Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box serves as a shortcut editor, and includes all commands that support shortcuts, some of which aren’t addressed in the default shortcut set.

You can define your own sets of shortcuts, change individual shortcuts within a set, and switch between sets of shortcuts. For example, you can create separate sets for different workspaces chosen from the Window > Workspace menu.

If you have previously saved a set of keyboard shortcuts other than the default, then the keyboard shortcuts are stored in a .kys file in Illustrator's preferences folder. You can copy this file into the same location (in Ai’s preferences folder) in the new computer. You can then choose this set from Illustrator’s Keyboard Shortcuts dialog.

You can use the same .kys file across platforms as long as the modified shortcuts are valid for the platforms.

Following are the locations where the custom Illustrator keyboard shortcuts are saved by default:

Mac OS:

user/Library/Preferences/Illustrator CC Settings/[language]/mycustomshortcut.kys


<rootdir>\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator
CC Settings\[language]\mycustomshortcut.kys


In addition to using keyboard shortcuts, you can access many commands using context-sensitive menus. Context-sensitive menus display commands that are relevant to the active tool, selection, or panel. To display a context-sensitive menu, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) in the document window or panel.

Define new keyboard shortcuts

  1. Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

  2. Choose a set of shortcuts from the Set menu at the top of the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box.
  3. Choose a shortcut type from the menu above the shortcut display.

    Menu Commands

    Lets you customize keyboard shortcuts for items in the menu bar and panel menus.

    Lets you customize keyboard shortcuts for items in the menu bar
    Lets you customize keyboard shortcuts for items in the menu bar


    Lets you customize keyboard shortcuts for tools in the toolbox.

  4. Do any of the following:
    • To activate the set of shortcuts, click OK.

    • To change a shortcut, click in the Shortcut column of the scroll list and type a new shortcut. If you enter a shortcut that is already assigned to another command or tool, an alert appears at the bottom of the dialog box. Click Undo to undo the change, or click Go To to go to the other command or tool and assign it a new shortcut. In the Symbol column, type the symbol that will appear in the menu or tool tip for the command or tool. You can use any of the characters that are allowed in the Shortcut column.

      Note: macOS does not allow you to assign Command+Option+8 as a menu shortcut.

    • To save changes to the current set of shortcuts, click OK. (You can’t save changes to the set named Illustrator Defaults.)

    • To save a new set of shortcuts, click Save. Enter a name for the new set, and click OK. The new key set will appear in the pop‑up menu under the new name.

    • To export the displayed set of shortcuts into a text file, click Export Text. In the Save Key Set File As dialog box, enter a filename for the current key set that you are saving, and click Save. You can use this text file to print out a copy of your keyboard shortcuts.

Example: Create a custom keyboard shortcut for Crop Image

  1. Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

  2. Choose Menu Commands.

  3. Click Object > Crop Image.

  4. Type a new shortcut.

    If the keyboard shortcut is already assigned to another command or tool in the set, an alert appears. Reassign a shortcut, click OK; and Go To Conflict to assign a new shortcut to the other command or tool.

  5. Enter a name for the saved keyset.

  6. Click OK.

Clear shortcuts from a command or tool

  1. Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

  2. In the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box, select the command or tool name whose shortcut you want to delete.

  3. Click Clear.

  4. Click OK to exit the dialog box.

Delete a set of shortcuts

  1. Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

  2. In the Set drop‑down list, choose the shortcut set that you want to delete.

  3. Click the Delete icon () and then click OK to exit the dialog box.