March 19, 2007

FreeHand Keyboard Shortcuts for Illustrator CS2

Most applications have the ability to redefine keyboard shortcuts. Meaning, if there's a certain feature that you use often, but there's no keyboard shortcut for it, you can very easily choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts (in AI, PS and ID for example), and assign one for that feature. In fact, if you scroll towards the bottom of the list of Menu Commands, you'll find that you can even assign keyboard shortcuts to some items that don't appear in menus at all.

And since it might be bad to mess up your keyboard shortcuts, you have the ability to save your own customized sets of keyboard shortcuts. In fact, InDesign ships with a keyboard shortcut set for QuarkXPress users. If you've just made the switch to InDesign and you are still used to all of the Quark shortcuts, you can switch to the keyboard shortcut set for Quark. This way, all of your familiar Quark shortcuts work in InDesign.

My personal opinion is that if you also use other Adobe apps, using a Quark set of shortcuts in InDesign isn't that much of a help in the long term. However, I do see value in the short term, when users first make the switch, to use familiar shortcuts as a "crutch" to prevent frustration and to help build familiarity in the new application. When I made the switch from Quark to InDesign, I used the Quark shortcuts for several days before I abandoned them for the (mostly) consistent set of shortcuts across all Adobe applications.

But I always did wonder why Adobe never supplied a FreeHand set of shortcuts for Illustrator. I made the switch from FreeHand to Illustrator way before Illustrator had the ability to assign custom keyboard shortcuts. But I know that at the time that I made the move, it would have helped to have that crutch to lean on.

So with that in mind, I've gone ahead and created a FreeHand MX set of shortcuts that you can load into Illustrator CS2. If you're a FreeHand user who recently made the transition to Illustrator (or if you're currently evaluating Illustrator CS2), feel free to download this file.

Once you've downloaded and unzipped the file, drop the file into the following folder on your computer (the file is cross-platform):

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CS2 Settings

Mac OS X:
username > Library > Preferences > Adobe Illustrator CS2 Settings

Then relaunch Illustrator, choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts and choose FreeHand MX from the Set pop-up menu.


The Geezer said...

This is interesting!
How did you make the .kys file?
I've been thinking for a while that it would be useful to have a set of keyboard shortcuts that I could use on Macs and PCs and take between home and work.
Also I teach and it would be useful to be able to get a class to load up a set in one go. For example, I find that assigning 'Shift A' to the Group Selection tool is a very helpful shortcut for many users and I would also like to define different sets for different classes and this would make this possible.

Unknown said...

Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. Make any adjustments you'd like. Then click Save and name your set. You'll find the .kys file located in the folders I've listed in the post.

Smoothfluid said...

thank you thank you thank you! Been holding off getting my teeth into Illustrator till CS3, and with the FH shortcuts it shouldn't be so stressful.

DarkSky said...

Thx for the tip. On the subject of keyboard shortcuts is an excellent site. They have literally thousands of shortcuts in their database searchable by program (Win, Mac and Linux). If you havent seen it already its worth having a look. I hope this is relevant. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

wondering, if this works with cs3 as well?

Unknown said...

Yes, this file works fine with CS3.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this! Most certainly will make FH > AI transition easier for a lot of people.