Knowing how to use the panels in Adobe CS5 can help boost your creativity and make your job easier. Adobe panels offer information and tools to help you add color, align objects, and generally transform your Adobe files (and yes, there is a Transform panel).

Have some fun by exploring these panels:

  • Color: Use the Color panel to select or mix colors for use in the current document. Choose different color modes, such as RGB (Red, Green, Blue) and CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black), from the panel menu (the arrow in upper-right corner).

  • Info: The Info panel shows you information about the document itself or a particular selection you’ve made. The Info panel includes information on the size, positioning, and rotation of selected objects. You can’t enter data into the Info panel. It only displays (not accepts) information, so use the Transform panel to make modifications.

  • Swatches: You can use the Swatches panel to create a library of color selections, which you can save and import into other documents or other programs. You can store colors and gradients that you use repeatedly in the Swatches panel.

  • Tools: Though the Tools panel (or toolbar) isn’t available in all Creative Suite programs, it’s an extremely important panel in the programs it’s in. A program’s toolbar contains the tools used in that program.

  • Layers: The Layers panel is used to display and select layers. You can also use it to change the layer order and to help select items on a particular layer.

  • Align: Use the Align panel to align selected objects to each other or to align them in relation to the document itself. This panel makes it easy to do precise alignment with multiple objects.

  • Stroke: The Stroke panel allows you to select strokes and change stroke attributes, such as color, width/weight, style, and caps (ends). The program you’re using determines which attributes you can change.

  • Transform: The Transform panel is used to display and change the shear (skew), rotation, position, and size of a selected object in the document. You can enter new values for each of these transformations.

  • Character: The Character panel is used to select fonts, font size, character spacing, and other settings related to using type in your documents.

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