A few of the settings in Adobe Illustrator can really frustrate beginners. So if you ever get stuck in Illustrator, check out the list below and you may find the answer you're looking for. Even if you're not stuck, these settings can be incredibly useful, once you learn to master them:
Double Click to Isolate
Clicking around and suddenly your screen turns gray? You're now in Isolation Mode. Hit ESC to leave Isolation Mode (and remember the ESC key will get you out of other jams too). Now, go to Preferences, (command/control K) and uncheck this option on the General pane. Recheck it when you need it, this is a helpful feature that lets you work on a single path even when it's well nested within groups and hard to get at.
H is for Hide
And it's right next to G (command/control G for grouping) on your keyboard. Sometimes you intend to group and instead you hit command/control H and instead you Hide Edges. Next time you click on your path the anchor points are gone! It's great to use Hide Edges when you really want to see selected objects without the path highlight and anchor points obstructing your view. Just hit command/control H again and they reappear.
B is for Bounding Box
While we are on the subject of hiding and showing, you can hide the bounding box too. The command is command/control shift B to Hide/Show Bounding Box. You're less likely to hit this one by accident but it's a good shortcut to know. Both the Hide Edges and Hide Bounding Box commands live in the View Menu.
Object Selection by Path Only
Ever find yourself trying to select an object, it has a solid fill, it's staring you in the face, you're clicking on it, and yet you can't select it or move it and you know it's not locked? Or you manage to select it, but you can't move it? It's rare that this option gets checked by accident, but it happens. Go to Preferences, (command/control K) and uncheck Object Selection by Path Only on the Selection and Anchor Display pane. Having this option checked in Preferences makes it impossible to select an object by it's fill. You can turn it on again if you ever want to narrow your ability to access an object to the actual path outline only and not the fill.
Paste Remembers Layers
This one is oh-so-helpful when you need it, and a real pain when you don't. You'll find the command in the Layers Panel Options Menu. If you ever find yourself selecting Layer 1 to paste objects on from another file, and mysteriously they paste on to Layer 2, this could be the problem. When this option is turned on, anything you paste from another file retains the layer structure of the original file. When it's off, objects will paste onto the layer you have selected.
Align to Artboard
I adore this option, but it has flummoxed many a beginning student. Ever try to align a selection of objects using the Align icons on the top control bar, only to find your objects flung from one end of your screen to the other? You may have inadvertently selected Align to Artboard. Here's how to master that setting: go to the control bar (you must have multiple objects selected) and just to the left of the Align and Distribute icons is a button with a drop-down menu that modifies those Align and Distribute functions. Click on the down arrow on the button and you can set the button to Align to Selection (the default), Align to Key Object or Align to Artboard. make friends with these settings, they open up lots of possibilities.