Get Faster with Graphic Styles

Graphic Styles in Illustrator are great way to store Appearance settings so they can be re-used within a single document, across several documents or even shared with others when working on collaborative projects.

Today’s post is a Quick-Tip aimed at those already familiar with the process of using Graphic Styles but I’ll briefly outline the process below.

creating a new graphic style

The normal work-flow for creating Graphic Styles is menu driven. You create a shape, style it with fill, stroke, gradient, FX etc then go to the Panel Menu icon in the Graphic Styles menu and selects New Graphic Style…

Your settings are now stored and can be applied to any selected shape by simply clicking on the Graphic Style thumbnail.

graphic styles thumbnails illustrator

Working from menus is fine but can be a little slow, especially when editing and updating an existing Style.

Thanks to the wonders of drag’n’drop technology I’m about to shave valuable seconds off of your day – yep, it really is that easy!

editing and updating graphic styles in illustrator

With your shape selected drag it over the Graphic Styles Panel and you’ll see the familiar copy cursor appear.

A vertical blue line indicates where your new style will be dropped within the current library.

Release and the style is created – if you want to name the style simply double-click the icon.

create a new graphic style in illustrator

To update an existing style you simply drag your object over the current style whilst holding Opt (Mac) or Alt (PC).

You’ll see a black keyline around the thumbnail indicating it will be updated rather than a new instance being added. Release to update the Style.

updating an illustrator graphic style

Since objects retain a parent/child relationship with Graphic Styles this is a really quick way to change the appearance of multiple iterations of graphic elements within a design.

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There are plenty of time-saving gems like these peppered through-out Adobe products – if you ever think “What will happen if I do this?”, try it! You never know!

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