Learning shortcuts is an excellent way to improve the efficiency of your workflow. Rather than provide a long list of all the Illustrator shortcuts, I have picked out a useful selection that you can learn as a starting point. Try to practice with a couple of these every week, and you’ll be knocking out your vector graphics in no time!

For further reading, I have written companion posts for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and macOS.

General Tricks

magic wand icon

Action Mac Win
Paste in Front Cmd + F Ctrl + F
Paste at Back Cmd + B Ctrl + B
Paste onto all Artboards Option + Shift + Cmd + V Alt + Shift + Ctrl + V
Place file Shift + Cmd + P Shift + Ctrl + P
Temp. select Hand Tool Spacebar Spacebar
Cycle through open documents Cmd + Tab Ctrl + Tab
Duplicate Hold Option + Drag Hold Alt + drag

Tools

cursor icon

Action Mac Win
Artboard Shift + O Shift + O
Selection V V
Direct Selection A A
Pen P P
Blob Brush Shift + B Shift + B
Increase/Decrease Blob size ] / [ ] / [
Add Anchor Point + +
Delete Anchor Point
Type T T
Line \ \
Rectangle M M
Ellipse L L
Paintbrush B B
Pencil N N
Rotate R R
Scale S S
Gradient G G
Eyedropper I I
Blend W W
Hand H H
Zoom Z Z

Working with Guides

guide line icon

Action Mac Win
Hide Guides Cmd + ; Ctrl + ;
Lock Guides Option + Cmd + ; Alt + Ctrl + ;
Make Guides Cmd + 5 Ctrl + 5
Release Guides Option + Cmd + 5 Alt + Ctrl + 5
Show Grid Cmd + ‘ Ctrl + ‘
Snap to Grid Shift + Cmd + ‘ Shift + Ctrl + ‘
Toggle Smart Guides Cmd + U Ctrl + U

Working with Objects

object icon

Action Mac Win
Select all Cmd + A Ctrl + A
Select all in active artboard Cmd + Option + A Ctrl + Alt + A
Group Cmd + G Ctrl + G
Ungroup Shift + Cmd + G Shift + Ctrl + G
Lock Cmd + 2 Ctrl + 2
Unlock Option + Cmd + 2 Alt + Ctrl + 2
Move selection x1 unit Arrow keys Arrow keys
Move selection x10 units Shift + Arrow keys Shift + Arrow keys
Shuffle object forward Cmd + ] Ctrl + ]
Shuffle object back Cmd + [ Ctrl + [
Move to front Shift + Cmd + ] Shift + Ctrl + ]
Move to back Shift + Cmd + [ Shift + Ctrl + [

Working with Type

type icon

Action Mac Win
Bold Shift + Cmd + B Shift + Ctrl + B
Italic Shift + Cmd + I Shift + Ctrl + I