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Lesson 6. Transforming Objects > Working with symbols

Working with symbols

You'll complete the logo design by adding the flower artwork you created earlier in the lesson, and then convert the logo into a symbol. Symbols save you time and greatly reduce file size by letting you use the same artwork multiple times in a document.

Make the Letterhd.ai file active; or if you closed the file, choose File > Open, and open the Letterhd.ai file in the Lesson06 folder.

Using the selection tool, select the flower artwork you created. Then choose Edit > Copy.

Make the Buscards.ai file active. Choose File > Paste to paste the flower artwork into the file. Use the selection tool to position the artwork below and to the right of the lime artwork that you just distorted.

You'll convert the Citrus Bath and Soap logo, and the lime and flower artwork into a symbol.

Press Shift+Tab to hide the palettes and make your window less cluttered.

Choose Window > Symbols to display the Symbols palette.

You use the Symbols palette to create, store, and place symbols. A symbol is an art object—like the logo—that you store in the Symbols palette and reuse one or more times in a document. You can then add instances of that symbol as many times as you want to your artwork without actually adding the complex art multiple times.

Choose Select > All to select all of the objects on the business card. Then Shift-click to deselect the type and the border of the business card. Just the logo artwork should be selected.

At the bottom of the Symbols palette, click the New Symbol button. The logo selection appears in the Symbols palette, outlined to indicate that it's selected.

Symbols palette

Selected artwork

New symbol from selection

You can create symbols from any Illustrator art object, including paths, compound paths, text, raster images, gradient meshes, and groups of objects. (You can't use nonembedded placed art as a symbol.) If you include active objects, such as brush strokes, blends, effects, or other symbol instances in a symbol, Illustrator automatically expands the objects when the symbol is created, and you can no longer edit those objects independently.

Now you'll add the instance to your artwork and then delete your original artwork. You've finished revising the artwork, and no longer need the original.

In the Symbols palette, click the Place Symbol Instance at the bottom of the Symbols palette.

The symbol instance appears in the center of the document window. You can also place an instance by dragging it from the Symbols palette to your artwork.

Click Place Symbol Instance button.

Symbol instance is pasted in center of document window.

The symbol instance is selected and has a bounding box around it, similar to grouped artwork. Symbol instances placed using the Symbols palette are exact replicas of the original.

Choose Select > Deselect.

Using the selection tool, click the symbol instance of the logo again to select it. Use the pointer to try moving some of the logo elements.

The artwork is one unit; selecting the symbol instance is similar to selecting grouped artwork. Each symbol instance is linked to the symbol in the Symbols palette.

You've finished revising the logo artwork, so you no longer need the original. Now you'll replace your original logo artwork with its symbol.

Using the selection tool, drag a marquee to select the original logo artwork in the upper left corner. (If necessary, Shift-click to deselect the business card border). Press Delete to delete the logo.

Although you've deleted the original artwork, you can retrieve it by breaking the link to the symbol.

To make the selected artwork an instance of the newly created symbol, press Shift as you drag the selected artwork to the Symbols palette.

You'll use the Transform palette to place the symbol instance precisely at 1/4-inch from the top corner of the artwork.

In your artwork, select the symbol instance.

Selecting symbol instance

Choose Window > Transform to display the Transform palette.

In the Transform palette, click the top left reference point and then type 62 pt in the X text box and 745 pt in the Y text box. Press Enter or Return.

Save your work.



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