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Lesson 1. Getting to Know the Work Area > Using the Illustrator tools

Using the Illustrator tools

The Illustrator toolbox contains selection tools, drawing and painting tools, editing tools, viewing tools, and the Fill and Stroke color selection boxes. As you work through the lessons, you'll learn about each tool's specific function.

For an overview of the toolbox, see figure 1-1 in the color section.

To select a tool, either click the tool in the toolbox or press the tool's keyboard shortcut. For example, you can press M to select the rectangle tool from the keyboard. Selected tools remain active until you click a different tool.

If you don't know the keyboard shortcut for a tool, position the pointer over the tool to display the tool's name and shortcut. (All keyboard shortcuts are also listed in the Quick Reference section in online Help. You'll learn to use online Help later in the lesson.)

Some of the tools in the toolbox display a small triangle at the bottom right corner, indicating the presence of additional hidden tools.

Name and shortcut

Hidden tools

Select hidden tools in either of the following ways:

  • Click and hold down the mouse button on a tool that has additional hidden tools. Then drag to the desired tool, and release the mouse button.

  • Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), and click the tool in the toolbox. Each click selects the next hidden tool in the hidden tool sequence.


When you click a viewing tool to change the screen display of a document, you must return to the Standard screen mode to see the default work area displayed.

Standard screen mode

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