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How to Set Up and Customize the Tool Boxes in Adobe Illustrator

written by: Amanda Presley•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 2/24/2009

In this tutorial, I will show you how to set up and customize the Tool Boxes in your Adobe Illustrator window.

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    When you open your Adobe Illustrator program, chances are, your tool boxes are all over the place. In this tutorial I will show you how to setup your tool boxes and how to customize them. You are not going to use all of the tool boxes that are opened, so you can close some of them. Others you may use often, so you will want to keep those opened.

    Your Main Toolbar

    Your main toolbar you will use often. This is the long toolbar on the left side of your screen. You will need to leave it opened. If it is kind of in the center of your Illustrator window, you can drag it to the left side. Place it close to the left side. To move the toolbar, click the top of it with your mouse and drag it to where you want it.

    Appearance Tool Box

    This tool box you will not use very often. If you are a beginner using Illustrator, you will probably not use this box for a while. So, until you get familiarized with Illustrator, you can close this box out. You can open it later by clicking Window > Appearance.

    Styles/Swatches/Brushes/Symbols Tool Box

    This tool box you will need. This is the box that you will use to apply colors, brushes, styles, and symbols. Leave this box open. You can slide it to the top right of your window.

    Color/Attributes Tool Box

    This is another tool box that you will want to leave open. This tool box has your gradient tool, stroke size, and transparency options. You can slide this box right below the Styles box.

    Layers Tool Box

    Being a beginner, you are not going to use the layers box. So, you can close the layers box for the time being. To open it back up, go to the top of your window and click Window > Layers.

    Customizing the Tool Boxes

    You can line the tool boxes up the way that you want them. If you are not using a tool box, you can minimize it. To minimize it, click the straight line at the top of the box. To expand the box when you are ready to use it, click the square button at the top. Minimizing the tool boxes is a great way to make room in your window.