Before we do anything in Adobe Illustrator, we first need to open either a new or an existing document.
To start up the program first go to the Start menu (PC) or the Applications folder (Mac). Then choose All Programs and Adobe CC (Creative Cloud) folder, and Adobe Illustrator CC.
When we first boot up the program the Welcome Screen opens. This is a handy feature in the form of a dialog box which shows us our most recent Illustrator documents, as well as allowing us to browse our hard drive or server for existing documents, or indeed create a new Illustrator document from scratch, or from a preset template. If it doesn’t open, simply go to the top Help menu and choose Welcome Screen. We also find various links to handy features here, like the Getting Started tips, the New Features tour, the Resources folder, and Illustrator Exchange.
Next click on the Open button at the bottom left of the dialog box, or choose Open from the top left File menu. As we can see, there are always a few methods of doing anything in Adobe software. Select an Illustrator file (AI) and click Open on the bottom right – after a few seconds the selected file will open.
Note that several Illustrator files may be opened at any one time. The first selected will be fully visible whilst the others are stacked behind, and can be accessed from the visible tabs at the top of the screen. Simply click on a tab to make each visible. In the example of opening four files, for instance, we may wish to see them side by side in order to compare and contrast the imagery. To do so go to the top Window drop-down menu and choose Arrange, and any of the Tile options. Tile Horizontally will display the files horizontally, one above the other, whilst the option of Tile Vertically will display them vertically, side by side. The Cascade option will show the images overlapping; all options are useful in different contexts, especially when we wish to copy a graphic element from one file to another.
A set of three Screen Mode viewing options are also available at the bottom of the Toolbox on the left of the interface. The first option shows the images side by side, the second option shows the selected image only, whilst the third option shows the selected image on a black background with all the tools hidden. This last option is useful to see the image in a type of Print Preview. These three screen modes can also be viewed by hitting the F key three times on the keyboard.
By default the Rulers will be visible at the top and left-hand side of the screen. If not, these can be accessed from the top View menu. To check which units of measurements have been employed in the document, or to change them, simply right-click on either ruler.
In previous versions of Illustrator checking or changing the file size could be done via the File menu and Document Setup. Since the introduction of art-boards in Illustrator version CS4, however, this is now done by clicking on the Art-board tool in the tool box, and viewing the various file parameters in the top Control panel.
We are now ready to begin illustrating!
Ripple My Eyes Out
Image by mark leichliter