How to Organize an Illustrator Workspace for Astropad

Illustrator is the standard for vector work. It’s a great tool for illustration, typography, and many other uses. In this quick, step-by-step guide, we’ll help you organize an efficient workspace for using Illustrator with Astropad.

Rearranging panels and tool bars

One of the nice things about Illustrator is that individual panels and tool bars are rearrangeable to either side of your canvas, or anywhere around the Artboard. Place your frequently used panels in an easily accessible spot.

Any type of panel arrangement works with Astropad Studio, since the sidebar can be placed to the left or right side of the iPad screen, or hidden by tapping the Astro-red ring button. All you need is your finger to drag the sidebar and ring button to either side of your iPad.

A digital drawing of the sun in the sky.
Astropad Studio’s Shortcuts sidebar set left, with some Illustrator panels placed right

Shortcuts in Illustrator

Astropad’s shortcuts are preset for Photoshop, so you will need to change them to accommodate Illustrator. On your Mac, go to Astropad’s Preferences. A window will open with editable shortcuts for the sidebar. Click Set and type the command on your Mac to register your shortcut.

  • P  :  Pen tool
  • –  :  Delete Anchor Pen tool
  • A  : Direct Selection  (white cursor)
  • V  : Selection (black cursor)
  • Command Z  : Undo
  • Shift Z : Redo
  • B  :  Brush
  • Shift E  :  Eraser
Adobe illustrator side menu open on the side of a tablet.
Edit Sidebar shortcuts in Astropad Studio

Magic Gestures

Astropad Studio’s Magic Gestures streamline your productivity, and will help you have quicker access to the eraser tool, undo and redo buttons, and so much more! There’s even an option for Hover, so you can navigate your screen without making marks.

Suggested Magic Gestures:

  • Hover
  • Eraser
  • Option
  • Shift
  • Undo
  • Redo

Quick Keys

For easy access to main command keys: Command, Option, Control, and Shift; use Astropad’s on screen Quick Keys. Enable and disable this feature by going near the very bottom of the Shortcuts Sidebar.

Shift, control, option, and command button are brought up in the left bottom corner of the tablet.

On-screen keyboard

Astropad Studio has a full on-screen keyboard. In the Shortcuts sidebar, tap Keyboard to reveal it; or tap the button from Quick Keys. Even F-keys are possible by enabling them in Studio’s settings menu.

A keyboard is pulled up over the top of a digital drawing.

Anchor points and handles

If you use Illustrator CC 2018 or later, check out our other post, How to Resize Anchor Points in Illustrator

Touch gesture zoom and panning

Astropad’s touch gestures, panning and zoom are supported in Illustrator. Just like using a trackpad — with two fingers, pinch to zoom, and place together to pan on your iPad. This way, you won’t need to keep the scrollbars in view when you set up your ideal workspace.

Working with Astropad Studio, two-fingers canvas rotation is an additional touch gesture to utilize.

How to set pressure sensitivity for strokes

The iPad is unable to be recognized as a drawing tablet in Illustrator. Pen pressure in Illustrator does not enable pressure options unless a Wacom driver is present. A Wacom tablet is not needed to install the driver. We’re currently looking into a workaround for this.

The latest Wacom driver will need to be installed, which you can download here:

After installing and enable permissions for the driver, please restart your Mac. Once completed, Illustrator’s Brush Options settings will need to be manually adjusted.

Menus are opened at the top of the screen to adjust lines.
Choose Brush Options

In the Brush Options menu, change Fixed to Pressure.

Drop down menu for pressure settings.
Select Pressure in the drop down menu

Also in the same menu, adjust desired variations to the stroke. You can preview your brush qualities as you make changes.

Adjust variation to add changes to brush qualities
Adjust variation to add changes to brush qualities


If the Pressure option remains greyed and cannot be selected, check out the following information from our Astropad Knowledge Base:

If drawing seems slow in Illustrator CC

Try turning off GPU performance. In Illustrator’s Preferences, go to GPU Performance, and uncheck GPU Performance. Choosing this option will disable Illustrator’s Animated Zoom.

The preference menu in Luna Display.

For more information on working in Illustrator, check out our Community Forum.