Illustrator Quick Tip: Faster Gradient-Color Adjustments

by Jay Hilgert
on September 20, 2007

A reader recently asked me about using the eyedropper tool to adjust the (one of 2+) colors in an Illustrator gradient. If you’ve never witnessed this frustration, it is quite annoying. In Illustrator, when using the gradient palette, (Adobe should have figured this out by now) you can’t double-click on one of the gradient color sliders to bring up the color picker? Furthermore, if you click on one of the color sliders of your gradient, and then use the Eyedropper Tool to change that color, Illustrator replaces your gradient fill with a solid color. Every. Time. Although I don’t have a 100% fix for this, I do have a keyboard shortcut to ease your pain…

Illustrator Quick Tip: Faster Gradient-Color Adjustments

OK, like I said, not a 100% fix but . . . here’s another way to adjust your gradients in Illy. Here we go.

You have a gradient, and you need to change ONE of the colors in that gradient. (I’m only going to use a 2-color gradient in this quick example)

Illustrator Quick Tip: Faster Gradient-Color Adjustments

Here’s the 1-2-3 bam! quick tip… (see illustration below)

1. Select your shape/artwork.

2. In the gradient palette, click once on the color slider you want to adjust.

3. Hold the Option/Alt key and click on a (solid) color swatch, and only the selected gradient color will be changed!

Illustrator Quick Tip: Faster Gradient-Color Adjustments

The result:

Illustrator Quick Tip: Faster Gradient-Color Adjustments

This method is easy, but one of the drawbacks is that you must have your color in the swatches palette beforehand. It’s always nice to have another option, but hopefully our friends at Adobe will figure out how feature-bland the Gradient Palette is in Illustrator, and soon! (I want 360 degree click and drag angle-adjustment, like Photoshop!)

About Jay Hilgert

Formally trained at Oklahoma State, Jay Hilgert is a graphic and web designer, font designer (Link), software developer (Brush Pilotâ„¢), and the founder of BittBox.

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