Oh Illustrator, Where Is Your Control Panel?

Welcome to the first Deke’s Techniques of the new year and our newly redesigned site. In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques episode, Deke takes on the new Properties panel in Illustrator CC 2018.

The Properties panel is Illustrator’s new context-sensitive panel that changes offerings as you change tools. Deke and I sometimes call it the Panels panel. But if the former description sounds familiar, yes, it is (at this point) a vertical screen space—hogging variation on the 20-year-old, unassuming Control panel that used to sit at the top of the interface by default.

The new Properties panel in Adobe Illustrator CC 2018

So, in the name of fairness, Deke takes you on a brief tour of one incarnation of the Properties panel, even pointing out one nice feature that it displays when you have the Black Arrow tool at hand (namely, you can change your keyboard increment settings without having to bring the Preferences dialog box).

And then, he shows you how to efficiently return the Control panel to the top of the screen, so you can designate your screen property as you see fit (hint: try the Layers panel).

The Control panel in Adobe Illustrator CC 2018

If you’re a member of Lynda.com or LinkedIn Learning, Deke’s got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to downsize the massive Properties panel and generally set up a workspace that lets you see everything you need.

Deke’s Techniques, keeping your Illustrator property under control.

Next entry:Customizing a QR Code in Photoshop

Previous entry:Welcome to the New, Improved deke.com


  • When I first opened AI CC 2018, my first reaction was: What is this weird thing taking up all this room? My second reaction was: Where did my favorite, everyday panels go? Then: Why does Adobe think I want this? . The Properties Panel seems like Adobe is copying the old Properties Inspector in Macromedia software (that was placed horizontal across the bottom and with its 4 rows of options, it never seemed to get in the way of my workflow.) This hideous monster (I am sure it will be improved… fingers crossed) seems obtrusive to me. . Anyway, thank you for the valuable tips/reminders on how to remedy the situation. I am back to using my favorite workspace which I have named “My Happy Place”

  • Also, orcas rule. Sounds like you and @deke are on the same page here. (Even re: orcas.)

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