How to add a Drop Shadow in Adobe Illustrator

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Drop shadows add depth and give your designs a unique look. Using a drop shadow effect in Adobe Illustrator will help you refine the details and make your designs pop.

You can add drop shadows to text or any object in Adobe Illustrator. Adding it to your text is a great way to make it stand out from its background.

How to Add a Drop Shadow Using the Effects Menu


Select the object you want to apply the drop shadow.

Step 2:

Go to the Effect menu from the top toolbar. Choose the Stylize option and from the extended menu, select Drop Shadow.

How to Add a Dropshadow in Adobe Illustrator

Note: While selecting the ‘Stylize' option, make sure you choose the one under the submenu of Illustrator effects, not Photoshop effects

Step 3:

When you click on this drop shadow, you'll get a setting options window/box where you can customize your drop shadow. Initially, a default drop shadow setting will be applied to your object, which you can change from the options in the box.

Drop shadow settings in Illustrator

Note: Make sure to turn on the preview option. That way, you'll see the changes you make instantly.

Step 4:

In the box, you'll see options such as Mode, Opacity, X Offset, Y Offset, Blur, Color, and Darkness, where you can change the shadow patterns, clarity, blurriness, and also color. When you reach your desired drop shadow in the preview, click OK.

Note: In the color option, you can choose any color for the drop shadow, but in the Darkness option, the shadow will pick the same color as the object.

Adjusting Drop Shadow Settings in Adobe Illustrator


This option lets you choose how you want the drop shadow to be applied to your object. When you click on this option, you get a dropdown menu where you'll find a wide range of blending modes for your drop shadow. you can select each of them to see the effect on the preview and finalize the best one that suits your design.


Opacity determines the visibility of the drop shadow. Not all shadows need to have a 100% opacity. Creating less visibility for your shadow makes it look more realistic.

Heavy opacity
Lighter opacity

X Offset/Y Offset

Offsets are used to decide the placement of the drop shadow. Through the X Offset, the shadow moves horizontally, and Y Offset moves it vertically.


This option controls the details of the sharpness or blur. The less blur you choose, the more details it will show. Or, if you like to have a more blended shadow without hard lines, you can increase the blur effect.

Drop shadow with 2 point blur
Drop shadow with 5pt blur


The color option will let you choose a color for the drop shadow. Usually, the color of the drop shadow is black by default, but you can have some fun by choosing a different color for it. By clicking on the Color option, you will open a color picker box to choose any color you want for your drop shadow.

Color setting for drop shadow


Unlike the color option, the Darkness option will not let you choose any color for the drop shadow manually. However, it will automatically pick the fill color of the selected object but more of a darker shade. You can choose the darkness by changing the percentage of it.

drop shadow in Illustrator with 10% darkness
Drop shadow in Illustrator with 100% darkness

How to Edit Your Drop Shadow in Illustrator

  • Select the object you applied the drop shadow
  • Go to the Window from the toolbar
  • select the Appearance from the dropdown menu
  • When you select Appearance, there will be an Appearance menu on the screen. Place the appearance menu on the right toolbar to keep it handy.
  • In the Appearance menu, you'll see the Drop Shadow option. Clicking on it will open the drop shadow box.
  • You can make changes to the drop shadow from this window any time.
Getting to the Appearance settings
Drop shadow in the appearance panel

How to Delete a Drop Shadow in Adobe Illustrator

  • You can delete a drop shadow within the same menu titled Appearance.
  • Select the object you want to remove the shadow from and go to the Appearance menu.
  • You will find a little trash icon at the bottom of the appearance menu. Click on this and your drop shadow will be removed from the object.
How to delete a drop shadow in Illustrator

Final Thoughts on Drop Shadows in Illustrator

Adding a drop shadow will help your design object or text to be more eye-catching to the viewers. I hope you got all you needed to know about adding a drop shadow in Adobe Illustrator.

For more Illustrator tutorials, please see: