Posts tagged "opacity slider"

Illustrator CS6 | Use your mouse to work faster!

How do you usually change the value of an Illustrator artwork object’s attribute? For example, how do you traditionally change the opacity of an object in your artwork?

In Illustrator CS5.1 (three steps):

  1. Select the object, and click the arrow of the Opacity field in the Control Panel
  2. Click and hold the Opacity slider control, move the slider, and release slider to view the new opacity of the object
  3. If the opacity is not exactly the one you need, repeat the previous step until you get the right opacity.

In Illustrator CS6 (one step):

  • Select the object, position the mouse pointer over the Opacity field in the Control Panel, and scroll your mouse wheel.

That’s it! It really is that simple. The artwork is modified as you scroll, and you can keep scrolling until you get the desired effect. You will notice an amazing advantage right away – you don’t have to take your eyes off the artwork while you are modifying it!

Check out this video, for a short demo of the feature that I just described…


  • One step at a time too slow for your workflow? Press SHIFT while you scroll, and the value of the opacity increases or decreases in steps of ten.
  • Missing the slider? The opacity field now has a pop-out list, with increments in the tens (10%, 20%, etc.). It is much faster to set these values it with a pop-out list than with a slider. Pop-out lists containing standard increments are available for popular controls like font size or stroke weight. You’re not going to be missing that slider for too long :-).
  • Prefer your keyboard to get the right value, right away? While this is a departure from what you have experienced in Illustrator earlier (the slider not being available), in addition to the two new ways of changing the value (scrolling and the pop-out list), the previous two methods of changing the opacity have been retained:
    • You can still manually type the exact value of the opacity you want
    • You can click the opacity field, and use your keyboards up and down arrow keys to change the value.

All fields in Illustrator CS6 that have numeric values, or have lists with standard values, can be manipulated with just your scroll mouse.

There actually is a lot more! Adobe Illustrator CS6 is different from previous versions in many ways. While the team has toiled away at making it faster, providing native 64-bit support, and adding and fine-tuning features, there are quite a bit of smaller changes that have been made it into this version. Many of these are GUI-related value-adds and tweaks that make it easier and faster to work with the Illustrator CS6 interface. While we compile a comprehensive list of the rest of the changes in Illustrator CS6, I wanted to draw attention to this one useful aspect of the GUI.

Watch out for the entire list – coming soon!