Illustrator Terms – Computer Skills Guide

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Adobe Illustrator Terms – Computer Skills

This chapter covers Illustrator Terms – Computer Skills.


Printable portion of the work area, where illustrations can be finalized.


properties of an object that change its appearance without changing its underlying structure.

Bezier Curve

a mathematically generated curve that has two endpoints and control points to specify curve direction.

Bitmap Images

Images created using a grid of small squares called pixels. Also called raster images or pixel images.

Bounding Box

A temporary frame around a selected object that shows the object’s outer dimensions. Eight hollow white squares that show an object is selected.

Brush Library

a collection of brushes related to a particular theme or type of brush that you can add to the default Brushes panel.


The color model used for printed output. Cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y) and black (K) inks are combined to create the desired colors.

Color Mode

Determines the color model used to display and print the Illustrator file.


To force an object to take a certain form. Use modifier keys to constrain objects.

Context Menu

A menu that displays when you right-click the screen, displaying commands that relate to your current task.

Corner Point

An anchor point where a path changes direction in an angle rather than smoothly.

Dialog box

can change size width, height page orientation and unit of measure color.

Direct selection tool

selects individual anchor points or single paths of an object.

Direction Line

line extending from anchor point that shows the direction of a curve.


Space objects evenly, either vertically or horizontally.


A location in the application window where a panel or panels are secured so they do not float.

docking panels

allows you to arrange multiple panels or panel groups verticalluy.

Drop Shadow

an object, filter, or effect that creates a shadow behind an image

ellipsis tool

the tool for drawing oval or circle shapes or paths.


place a file or object in a file so that it becomes part of the file.


Characteristics of the inner area of an object, such as the color, pattern, style, etc., inside an object.


A design of type.

Font Style

Appearance changes to a font such as bold or italic.


objects allows you to move many objects as 1 to group go to object.


Nonprinting lines that can be used to create boundries or guidelines in a drawing. They help you work with precision

Hand tool

allows you to move art board.

Hold spacebar

allows you to move art board.

Isolation Mode

a view mode that allows you to focus on a group or sublayer by locking and dimming other objects.


a single level in the stacking order that can hold any number of objects.


Rectangle drawn around an object with a tool, to select an area.

Menu bar

includes all of the illustrator menus.

Outline view

shows the skeleton of your work lines and curves.


windows containing features for modifying and manipulation illustrator objects arranged in groups or A group of related commands and options.

Parent Layer

layer in which one or more sublayers are stored.


The line that forms the shape of an object.


Measurement system frequently used in graphic design. There are six picas to an inch and is usually 12 points.


Term that stands for picture element, a single point on a computer monitor screen.


is 1/72 of a inch.

Point of Origin

The point on which an object rotates or transforms. The point of origin may be within the object or outside it.


Measurement system frequently used in graphic design. A point is 1/72nd of an inch.


Any object with three or more straight sides.


is a key to good design can get better precision using points and picas.


use to set units of measure in edit menu.


shows complete work ctrl Y toggle key.

Reflect tool

to flip an object over an imaginary axis.


The number of dots or pixels per linear unit of output. For example 72 dots per inch.

Resolution dependent

pixels must be small enough to create an image with the illusion of continous tone.

Resolution independent

Regardless of how much the image is enlarged or reduced, the image definition and quality remain the same.


The color model used for illustrations to be viewed on computer monitors. Red (R), green (G), and blue (B) values are combined to create the final color.


resizing an object horizontally, vertiaclly, or proportionally in both directions to a percentage of its original size.

Scratch area

area outside the artboard where you can store objects before placing them on artboard will not print.

Smart guides

temporary guides that can be turned on and off in view menu and help you to align objects do not print.

Smooth Point

An anchor point that connects path segments in a smooth curve.


An open shape that consists of a number of winds around a central point.

Status bar

contains a list arrow menu from which you can choose a status line with info about current tools.


Characteristics of the outline of an object, such as its weight, color, style, etc.


a layer within a layer that can have its own name and its own settings

Tab key

hides and shows panels.


object that is dimmed and unavailable for modification but can be used as a guide for creating objects.


a small illustration in a dialog box or panel displayed to help you choose an option.


an object containing a pattern that can be arranged to fill an object or applied to a brush path

Tiny black triangle

indicates hidden tools behind that tool

Title bar

contains the name of your document, magnification level and color mode.

Tools panel

contains tools that let you create, selct, and manipulate objects.

Transform tools

scale rotate and reflect tools are the fundamental.

Vector graphics

Drawing created from mathematical equations to create lines and curvesthat are defined by vectors. Are often used to create logos or line art.


Complete revolutions around the center point in a spiral. Each wind consists of four segments.


A saved set of panel arrangements and tool settings.


switches between fill and stroke mode.



zoom out


zoom text box

displays current magnification level.