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How to Customize Adobe Illustrator for Making Infographics

Adobe Illustrator is the most preferred program for making infographics. Getting used to working in Adobe Illustrator is a bit like moving into a new neighborhood. You slowly learn who likes to chat, who likes to keep to herself, who keeps his yard nice, and who practices opera at 6 a.m.

Imagine if you could move into a new neighborhood and customize your neighbors. Well, that’s pretty much what you’re doing with Illustrator’s workspace customization. Here’s how to make this program livable for you:

  1. Choose Window→Workspace→New Workspace.

  2. In the New Workspace dialog box that appears, name your workspace.

  3. Open the Window menu at the top and select the palettes you’d like to add to this custom workspace.

    Those palettes will appear on the artboard.

  4. Drag any palettes to the right side of your artboard. You can repeat this addition with as many palettes as you can fit.

After you arrange your customized workspace, you can always switch to it from any other workspace by choosing it from the workspace switcher, found under the Essentials button.

As an example of Illustrator’s tools and palettes, look at how you can put together an information graphic on personal finance. This figure is a sketch for a client of a graphic dealing with financial matters.

Starting with a sketch.
Starting with a sketch.

The graphic uses a fitness theme to show how the U.S. economy was beginning to inch back to life after a dismal few years. As a theme, Uncle Sam (representing the U.S. economy) is training for the fight of his life (recovery from economic recession) by running on a treadmill (charts showing recovering economy). This figure shows the finished infographic.

Finished Uncle Sam infographic.
Finished Uncle Sam infographic.
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