23 Adobe Illustrator Shortcuts for Fashion Designers (with animated gifs!)

When you’re learning Adobe Illustrator for fashion design, it can feel like you have to know EVERYTHING! And that’s OVERWHELMING. 

Which is why you don’t need another printable PDF with every. single. shortcut. in the world.

So, I decided to give you just what you need, and no more:

23 of my “can’t live without” Adobe Illustrator shortcuts!

Because here’s the thing with AI that I talk about in my Ultimate Guide to Illustrator for Fashion:

You don’t have to know it all! Not now, not ever.

So when I got the idea to put this piece of content together for you, I decided to only give you the best of the best.

And the best place to start was by combing through my Illustrator Masterclass. Why?

Because one of the things Masterclass students tell me ALL the time is how much they love all the quick tips and shortcuts.

It used to surprise me (because AI shortcuts are second nature to me) but then I realized:

  • How useful the shortcuts are
  • How many designers don’t know many of them
  • How tedious the “manual” methods can be

So, here you go, my best and top 23 Adobe Illustrator shortcuts that you can implement TODAY to save HOURS. YASS!

Quick disclaimer about the GIFs! Turns out, the internet doesn’t LOVE 23 animated GIFs on ONE page. #SLOWLOADINGTIME! For all the GIFs, click through the links below!

OH! And I also put together a cheatsheet for you to download (YASS!). Get the printable download here.


(see all the Workspace GIFs)

  1. Tab to hide / show all the panels

  2. Cmd/Ctrl + 0 (zero) to fit CURRENT artboard in the window

  3. Cmd/Ctrl + Opt/Alt 0 (zero) to fit ALL artboards in the window
    Adobe Illustrator shortcuts for fashion designers by Sew Heidi

  4. Cmd/Ctrl + Opt/Alt + Shift + V to Paste on All Artboards (a great option if you need to add a logo or heading to ALL the pages of your linesheet!)

  5. Spacebar (while using any tool) for quick access to the Hand Tool to move around your workspace
    Adobe Illustrator shortcuts for fashion designers by Sew Heidi

  6. Shift + up/down arrow to adjust a value (ie stroke width) by 10x increments

  7. Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts to create custom shortcuts (I have one for Live Color and the Pattern Tool, two must haves for fashion designers!)


(see all the Drawing GIFs)

  1. Opt/Alt while drawing or resizing any shape (ellipse, rectangle, etc) to scale from the center

  2. Opt/Alt to make a copy of an object

  3. Cmd/Ctrl + D (Object > Transform > Transform Again) to replicate a transformation (works great for a line of buttons)

  4. Cmd/Ctrl + F (Object > Paste in Front) to paste an object exactly in front of where you copied it from

  5. Cmd/Ctrl + Opt/Alt + Shift + J to Average and Join at the same time (there’s no menu option for this, the keyboard shortcut is the only way!)
    Adobe Illustrator shortcuts for fashion designers by Sew Heidi

  6. Spacebar to move an object while drawing it (works for shapes OR individual Anchor Points with the Pen Tool)

  7. Shift to constrain proportion while drawing a shape (ellipse, rectangle, etc) or scaling any object

  8. Shift to draw a perfectly horizontal, vertical or 45° line with the Pen or Pencil tool

  9. Shift to rotate an object in 45° increments
    Adobe Illustrator shortcuts for fashion designers by Sew Heidi

  10. Shift + any arrow key to move an object in 10x increments

  11. Shift click (with the Selection Tool, black arrow) on an object to add or subtract it from a selection


(see all the Color + Pattern GIFs)

  1. D to change any object to the default fill / stroke (white fill / black 1pt stroke)
    Adobe Illustrator shortcuts for fashion designers by Sew Heidi

  2. X to switch whether the stroke or fill is active on the toolbar

  3. Shift + X to swap the fill and stroke color of a selected object

  4. Tilde (~) + Scale Tool to resize a pattern inside an object (Pro tip! If you have a German keyboard, use ^ + >)
    Adobe Illustrator shortcuts for fashion designers by Sew Heidi

  5. Opt/Alt to overwrite an existing pattern with a new one when dragging it into the Swatches panel (works with brushes too!)

I hope you love these shortcuts as much as I do! And one thing to keep in mind: don’t get overwhelmed with learning ALL of them right now. Tackle a couple at a time, and before you know it, they’ll be second nature for you too.

The best thing you can do? Grab that printable PDF and tape it above your workspace. The visual will help TONS!

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