Tutorial: Illustrator CC Basics – Getting Started


When learning a new software program it is a good idea to become familiar with the user interface. In this tutorial I will be walking you through the Adobe Illustrator user interface as well as teaching you how to create documents within Illustrator.

At the top of the user interface you will find the Menu Bar. In the Menu Bar you will find various menu items and within each of these menu items there will be a series of sub-menu items.

Next to the Menu Bar is the Title Bar. The Title Bar has multiple options such as a quick link to Adobe Bridge and the Arrange Documents Panel.

Directly underneath the Menu Bar and Title Bar is the Control Panel. This Panel gives you the ability to control the different tools and items that you are currently using. This Panel will change depending upon the tool you have selected.

On the left side of the user interface you have the Tools Panel. There are several different tools within this panel with many of them also containing sub-tools.

To the right of the Tools Panel is the Document Window. This is where you will perform all of your work.

At the bottom of the Document Window you will see information for how zoomed in you are to an Artboard. You can also choose which Artboard you wish to focus upon.

On the right side of the user interface you have the Panel System. By default these icons are collapsed into small icons but they can be expanded simply by clicking on them.


Now that we have an idea of where everything is on the user interface, let’s start creating new documents. Go to File and choose New to open up the New Document dialog box.

At the top of the New Document dialog box you have the option of naming your document. You can name it now of simply wait until you save the document.

Directly underneath the Name field you will find the Profile drop-down menu. This menu refers to the type of work you are doing such as print or web.

Underneath the Profile drop-down menu you will find the option for the number of Artboards you wish to use. If you are not sure how many Artboards you need you can always add more Artboards later so you don’t need to specify a number at this point. If you are using more than one Artboard you will have the option to choose the Spacing between the Artboards and the number of Columns for the Artboard layout.

Underneath the Artboard option you will find the Size drop-down menu. This menu allows you to choose the type of document you want to create. If you want to make your own custom size document you can simply type in height and width properties – in pixels, points, picas, inches, centimeters, or millimeters. You can also select the orientation of the document.

Underneath the Size drop-down menu you will find the Bleed options which are only applicable to print design. The Bleed is used to extend the content of the document so the printer can cut off the excess portion of the document without damaging the document’s content.

At the bottom of the New Document dialog box you will find the Advanced section. In this section you can choose the color mode. If you want to print the document you should choose CMYK and if you are going to use the document on a screen then choose RGB. The Raster Effects setting allows Illustrator to rasterize certain elements if it is unable to reproduce these elements in vector form for the printing process. The Preview Mode allows you to see what the document will look like in pixels and as an overprint. The Align New Objects to Pixel Grid ensures that none of your objects fall halfway between a pixel or two which helps with anti-aliasing.