Adobe Illustrator is a powerful vector graphics software, but to harness its full potential, understanding its settings is crucial. This tutorial will guide you through every general preference in Illustrator, ensuring you have the optimal setup for your design needs.

Navigating to General Preferences

To access the general preferences:

  • On a Mac, go to the Illustrator drop-down > Preferences.
  • On a PC, navigate to Edit > Preferences.

Key General Preferences Explained

  1. Keyboard Increment: This determines how far objects move when you use arrow keys. By default, it’s set to one pixel, and holding shift increases the increment tenfold.
  2. Constraint Angle: This alters the default x and y axis in Illustrator, allowing you to create artwork at specific angles.
  3. Corner Radius: This sets the default radius for the rounded rectangle tool.
  4. Disable Auto Add/Delete: This relates to the pen tool. By default, Illustrator lets you add or remove anchor points by clicking on a path. Disabling this requires you to use specific tools or shortcuts.
  5. Use Precise Cursors: This changes the cursor to a simple crosshair, regardless of the tool you’re using.
  6. Show Tool Tips: This displays a brief description when you hover over a tool.
  7. Anti-aliased Artwork: This smoothens the edges of your artwork, making curves appear more natural.
  8. Select Same Tint Percentage: When using the “Select Same” feature, only objects with the exact tint percentage will be selected if this is enabled.
  9. Show Home Screen: This displays the home screen with templates and recent projects when no documents are open.
  10. Use Legacy File New Interface: This reverts to the older interface when creating a new file.
  11. Double Click to Isolate: This allows you to enter isolation mode by double-clicking on a group of objects.
  12. Use Japanese Crop Marks: This is for specific design requirements that need Japanese crop marks.
  13. Transform Pattern Tiles: This ensures that when you scale an object with a pattern, the pattern scales with it.
  14. Scale Corners and Scale Strokes & Effects: These settings ensure that when you scale an object, the corners, strokes, and effects scale proportionally.
  15. Enable Content Aware Defaults: This allows Illustrator to make automatic suggestions based on content-aware features, like puppet warp pins or cropping suggestions.
  16. Zoom with Mouse Wheel: If enabled, you can use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out.

Resetting Preferences

At the bottom of the preferences panel, there are options to:

  • Reset all warning dialog boxes.
  • Reset all preferences to default.


Understanding and configuring the general preferences in Adobe Illustrator can significantly enhance your design workflow. By tailoring the settings to your needs, you can ensure a smoother and more efficient design experience.