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Panels in Illustrator CS4

Using the panels

Panels are small windows that are similar to dialog boxes. Panels can float or be docked. To make the following discussion a little more readable. I’ll refer to both as panels; they’re mostly interchangeable terms when discussing how they work and the contents of each of them.

Panels allow you to control virtually every aspect of the Illustrator drawing environment. Illustrator has 34 standard panels and an unlimited number of library panels (for swatches, symbols, brushes, styles and more), all of which can remain open while you work on your document panel.

Technically speaking a Panel is a modeless window. The big difference between a modeless window and a dialog box is that you don’t have to close the modeless window to perform other tasks. Therefore, you can work with the features on one panel without having to close another panel.

Panels are like regular windows in many ways. Each panel has a title bar that you can click and drag to move it. The title bar also has buttons for minimizing a regular panel or zooming (back to regular size) a minimized one and closing the panel. Each panel also has a tab with the name of the panel within it.

Some Available Panels:

ActionsUse this panels to record a sequence of events to play at a time
AlignThis panel lets you align objects (Shift+F7)
AppearanceUse this panel to check the attributes of a selected object (Shift+F6)
AttributesUse this panel to view the overprinting and any URLs associated with the selected object (Ctrl+F11)
BrushesUse this panel to choose a brush type (F5)
ColorThe panel lets you apply color to your illustrations(F6)
Color GuideThis panel lets you access the Live Color feature (Shft+F3)
ControlThis is the panel along the top edge of the document window.
Document InfoThis Panel shows information about the document such as color mode, Artboard dimensions, and other options.
Flattener PreviewUse this to see certain areas of flattened artwork. You can also adjust the Flattener options here.
GradientThis panel is used for changing and applying gradients (Ctrl+F9)
Graphic  StylesThis panel lists the default graphic styles and let you save the graphic styles (Shift+F5)
InfoThis panel displays information on the selected objects. It is used for measuring objects or distance (F8), among the things.
LayersThis panel lets you put the objects on the different layers for easier organization (F7)
LinksThis lists the placed objects that are linked to the document
Magic WandUse this to adjust the settings for the Magic Wand Tool.
NavigatorUse this to quickly move around a large document
PathfinderUse this to combine, split, divide, and do more to multiple paths (Shift+Ctrl+F9)
Separations PreviewUse this to view the individual printing plates in your document  
StrokeThis panel let’s you adjust the width and style of the stroke (Ctrl+F10)
S V G InteractivityUse this panel to set options for Scalable Vector Graphics
SwatchesThis panel houses preset colors, gradients, and patterns
SymbolsThis panel houses presets symbols and lets you define new symbols (Shift+Ctrl+F11)
ToolsThis panel contains all of Illustrator’s tool
TransformThis panel let you move, scale and apply other transformations (Shift+F8)
TransparencyUse this panel to adjust the opacity of objects (Shift+Ctrl+F10)
TypeUse this panel to adjust a variety of type options, Including;
– Character (Ctrl+T)
– Character styles
– Glyphs
– Open Type (Alt+Shift+Ctrl+T)
– Paragraph (Alt+Ctrl+T)
– Paragraph Styles
– Tabs (Shift+Ctrl+T)
VariablesThis panel is used to set the options for the data-driven graphics