If you’ve ever created art in Illustrator, you might find yourself using a specific collection of shapes or a small piece of art numerous times. Whether copying and pasting your artwork, or recreating it from scratch whenever you need it, reusing art can sometimes be time consuming. Symbols can help you save some time as you make artwork in Illustrator!
What are symbols?
Symbols, in Illustrator, are pieces of art that you can save and easily reuse as many times as needed. Some examples of symbols that you might encounter include logos, button shapes, and small graphics that may be repeated a number of times in an Illustrator file. Each time you add a symbol to your Illustrator document, that’s referred to as an instance of that symbol.
In Illustrator CC 2015, Adobe introduced Dynamic Symbols, which allow you to have one master shape saved as a symbol, but you can make changes to the specific instances of the symbol without changing every instance. Plus, if you need to make changes to every instance of your symbol, you can edit the master symbol and all the changes will be made to each instance of the symbol. You’ll still retain all the changes you made to any individual instances, which can be incredibly useful as you work.
How can they help me in Illustrator?
Symbols can help you save time, especially if you’re using a graphic a number of times in a specific document – eliminating the need to copy and paste numerous times. Dynamic Symbols can also come in handy if you have similar graphics that need to be created, but one or two things might be different – for example, one shape may need to be different colors in different locations in your document, and this can be achieved with dynamic symbols.
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