In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about locating and using the Fill tool and other related features in Adobe Illustrator.
Where Can You Find The Fill Tool In Illustrator?
The Fill tool can be found at the bottom of the Toolbar on the right side of your Illustrator document. You will see two squares, one with a hole in the middle and the other with a solid-filled color.
Sometimes, you will see either one or both with a white square and a red diagonal line across each of them. The one without the hole in the middle is a tool you can use to fill your object.
But this is not the only place to find a Fill tool and it’s not the only way to fill your object with a color.
Here are the various ways to find a Fill option to color your vector images in Illustrator:
1. Toolbar Fill And Stroke
The Fill tool in Adobe Illustrator is an essential feature, particularly for graphic design projects where color plays a critical role. It’s usually located at the bottom of the Tools panel.
If you’re using an older version like Adobe Illustrator CS5 or CS6, don’t worry; the location has remained consistent over the years.
In the Toolbar, you’ll see two overlapping squares; one representing ‘Fill’ or Fill Color and the other representing Stroke color. The square in the foreground is the active tool, and by default, it’s usually the Fill tool.
If it’s not, click once on it to bring it to the forefront. The square will display the current fill color, which can be a solid color, gradient, or even a pattern.
If for some reason you can’t find the Tools panel, don’t panic. Simply go to Window > Toolbar > Basic from the top menu to bring it back to the screen. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Shift+F6 to toggle the Tools panel on and off.
2. Appearance Panel
The Appearance panel on the right side will also show the Fill color when an object is selected.
When you have an object selected, the Appearance panel (usually located to the right by default) will show options for both Fill and Stroke.
Otherwise, you can open the Appearance panel by going to Window > Appearance in the top menu bar.
3. Color Panel
You can open the Color panel by going to Window > Color if you need more customization. This panel provides you with the flexibility to choose and adjust colors with fine-tuned precision, including for the Fill tool.
When you select an object using the Selection Tool, your Properties Panel will display options for both Fill and Stroke. You can click the Fill color square, and this will automatically bring up the Color Panel.
From there, you can either choose a color from the spectrum provided or manually input RGB or CMYK values to get the exact color you desire.
4. Keyboard Shortcut
For the Fill tool in the Toolbar and Color panels, you can also directly access the fill options by hitting the letter ‘X’ on your keyboard.
This makes the Fill tile come to the front of the Stroke tile. After that, you can choose a color by hitting the comma, key, which brings up the color picker.
5. Live Paint Bucket Tool
Live Paint is like the Adobe Illustrator Paint Bucket you see in Photoshop. If you’ve ever had a complex vector image filled with numerous intersecting paths and shapes, you’ll appreciate how the Live Paint tool simplifies the process of coloring them.
Live Paint allows you to color any enclosed area in your design, even if it’s not a formal shape or path. When you have multiple intersecting lines, Illustrator sees the areas between them as individual regions that you can fill with color.
This is what the Live Paint feature allows you to do. It’s like creating a live paint group from a set of shapes or paths.
To access the Live Paint Bucket tool, simply go to the Toolbar and look for it under the Shape Builder tool in the Advanced Toolbar.
If you’ve customized your workspace, remember that the keyboard shortcut for this tool is ‘K’.
It allows you to fill different color swatches into your object live paint group. This tool is especially handy when working with multiple shapes and paths.
Exploring Other Tools and Features
- Stroke Color: Just above the Fill tool, you’ll find the Stroke color. This option colors the outline of your shape or path.
- Paint Bucket Tool: Though not as commonly used in Illustrator as in Adobe Photoshop, it’s an alternative to the Live Paint Bucket tool.
- Eyedropper Tool: This tool helps you pick colors from existing elements in your design, making it easy to maintain a cohesive color palette.
- Image Trace: Allows you to convert bitmap images into vector images.
- Selection Tool (V): This tool helps you select objects in your workspace.
- Pen Tool & Ellipse Tool: These are essential for creating custom shapes.
- Swatches Panel: You can save your favorite or frequently used colors here.
- Color Picker: Accessible by clicking on either the Stroke or Fill square in the Tools panel, allowing you to choose colors freely.
- Gradient Tool & Gradient Panel: Use these for creating gradient fills within your shape or selected object.
- Object: Refers to any shape, text, or image in Illustrator. They can be manipulated in numerous ways, including with the Fill tool.