Whether you're new to Illustrator, or a seasoned professional, you should constantly be looking to improve how efficiently you work.
It's jam packed with customisable features to help you make the workspace work perfectly for the way you work.
But the thing that shocks me, is when i see designers who haven't got to grips with even the basic keyboard shortcuts.
Every time you move the mouse, trackpad or stylus over to the toolbar to select the pen tool, direct select or eyedropper tool, you are wasting time and energy.
Both of these are finite resources, so you can retain far more of each of them if you invest a little time into learning the following shortcuts.
I'll preface by saying this isn't every one I use, but I use these dozens of times in every job I work on, so I can't even begin to imagine how much time this frees up... These are the ones I use the most, and are the bare minimum you should know.
- Selection Tool (V)
- Direct Selection tool (A)
- Pen Tool (P)
- Rectangle Tool (M)
- Elipse Tool (L)
- Hand Tool (Hold spacebar and drag mouse)
- Type Tool (T)
- Copy (Command + C)
- Paste in Front (Command + F)
- Paste Behind (Command + B)
Bonus ones, for the super-efficient
- Show / Hide Grid (Command + ')
- Smart Guides (Command + U)
- Show / Hide Guides (Command + U)
- Snap to Grid (Shift + Command + ')
- Snap to Point (Alt + Command + ')
Changing tools with the press of a key. I try to think of it as becoming familiar with an instrument.
A great pianist doesn't think about every key they hit, their neural pathways are so well developed its as automatic as breathing.
A quick tip, when you're starting... Challenge yourself, hide the tool menu... Click the x on the top left hand corner and then you are forced to use the keyboard.
Good luck soldier.