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By Kyle Christensen

There are plenty of software choices out there to use to get the job done in this Golden Age of Graphic Design. So much so, we designers often use different applications for different projects. Sketch is best for web design, Lightroom is best for photography, Photoshop is best for mockups, After Effects is best for videography… the list goes on. But what about the famous Adobe Illustrator that’s best for vectors & logos? In this Design 101, I’ll share my 3 easy tips to increase productivity in Illustrator.

“Whenever you create vector art in Illustrator, simple tasks can become a hindrance to your workflow.”

– Aaron Kitney, Creative Bloq (@CreativeBloq)

Tip #1: Quickly Swap Images in Clipping Masks by Relinking

One thing I do incredibly often while working in Illustrator is swap or change imagery in designs. Especially in templatized work, such as updating a version of a file or formatting images contained in clipping masks. Instead of dropping a photo into Illustrator, scaling it down and drawing a new clipping mask, you can shortcut the process by using the Links panel to relink it. If it isn’t on your toolbar, simply go to Window > Links from the top menu bar. Next, click on the image or clipping mask you want to replace, click the link icon from the Links panel, then choose your image on your computer. In seconds it will be replaced.

Hack it even better! Don’t forget to hit that Embed button after you place it so the link won’t be broken the next time you or another designer opens your file up!

Tweet This: Work in @Illustrator? Here are 3 easy #productivity tips: #graphicdesign

Tip #2: Copy a Design & Paste on a Separate Artboard in the Exact Same Spot

How many times have you wanted either the entire artboard or single design element copied onto another artboard in the same exact spot? For me, it’s fairly frequently. The good news is this trick can save you an incredible amount of time and up your accuracy. The GIF above shows you the process. Click on the items you want to copy over, selecting Edit > Copy from the top menu bar, then click into the second artboard and select Edit > Paste in Place from the top menu bar to paste in place.

Hack it even faster! Select the items you want to copy, press the keys Command + C to copy, click in your second artboard, then press the keys Shift + Command + V to paste in place.

Tip #3: Duplicate ANYTHING by Holding Down a Single Key

If you ever needed to duplicate something and you’ve been using the ol’ copy and paste method, you’re doing it wrong! I’m happy to share with you the greatest tip of all time: Duplicate anything by holding down one, single key on your keyboard. That special key is the Option key. That’s right. You can duplicate any element in Illustrator by just holding down the Option key while clicking and dragging the object. That’s amazing!

Hack it even better! If you want to move the item in a straight line, hold down the Shift key while you’re holding Option and drag.

Tweet This: #DYK the ol copy+paste can be even more efficient in @Illustrator? See how:

There are a ton of amazing tools for graphic design out there, but there are always ways to make them work even better for you. These hacks should be added to your daily workflow and routine. Get lightning fast by introducing duplicate copy and paste and paste in place. Meanwhile, you’ll amaze your clients with the speed and accuracy of your work. In the end, it’s all about being better for you and your clients.

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