Navigate the Illustrator Work Area with Zoom Controls

You can navigate the work area of Adobe Creative Suite (Adobe CS5) Illustrator efficiently by using the Hand tool and the various zoom controls. You can change the magnification of the artboard in several ways, including using menu items, the Zoom tool, and keyboard commands. Choose the method you feel most comfortable with:

  • Hand tool: Scroll around the Document window by using the scrollbars or the Hand tool. The Hand tool lets you scroll by dragging. You can imagine that you’re pushing a piece of paper around on your desk when you use the Hand tool.

    Hold down the spacebar to temporarily access the Hand tool while any tool (except the Type tool) is selected. Holding down the spacebar while the Type tool is selected gives you only spaces!

  • View menu: Using the View menu, you can easily select the magnification you want by using Zoom In, Zoom Out, Fit in Window (especially useful when you’re lost in the scratch area), and Actual Size (provides a 100 percent view of your artwork).

  • Zoom tool: Using the Zoom tool, you can click the Document window to zoom in; to zoom out, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac). Double-click with the Zoom tool to quickly resize the Document window to 100 percent. Control which elements are visible when using the Zoom tool by clicking and dragging over the area you want zoomed into.

  • Keyboard shortcuts: If you aren’t the type of person who likes to use keyboard shortcuts, you may change your mind about using them for magnification. They make sense and are easy to use and remember. The keyboard shortcuts require a little coordination to use, but they give you more control in your zoom.

    While holding down the keys, drag from the upper left corner to the lower right corner of the area you want to zoom to. A marquee appears while you’re dragging; when you release the mouse button, the selected area zooms to the size of your window. The Zoom Out command doesn’t give you much control; it simply zooms back out.

Illustrator Magnification Keyboard Shortcuts
Command Windows Shortcut Mac Shortcut
Actual Size Ctrl+1 Command+1
Fit in Window Ctrl+0 (zero) Command+0 (zero)
Zoom In Ctrl++ (plus) Command++ (plus)
Zoom Out Ctrl+– (minus) Command+– (minus)
Hand tool Spacebar Spacebar
Illustrator Zoom Keyboard Shortcuts
Command Windows Shortcut Mac Shortcut
Zoom In to Selected Area Ctrl+spacebar+drag Command+spacebar+drag
Zoom Out Ctrl+Alt+spacebar Command+Option+spacebar
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