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Done in Ten: Productivity Tips for the Adobe Creative Suite

by Margaret Penney | March 4, 2016

Done in Ten: Productivity Tips for the Adobe Creative Suite

As freelancers, time-management is something we have to think about seriously. A client may be asking how soon is now or we may just need to finish a project within a reasonable amount of time to keep our income at a steady clip.

It’s important that we stay on top of our workload and one way to do that is to make sure we are using our programs as effectively and efficiently as possible. Luckily for us the Adobe Creative Suite has many features that help us stay productive. Outlined here are some useful methods that may help you finish your projects quickly and efficiently.

Using Layer groups

Something that really helps when you are creating versions of a design is to gather all the layers into one group folder and then Duplicate that group and revise the design in the new folder. Many new designers think they have to create an entirely new document, however that is usually not the case and can add a lot of time to your project as you try to sort through multiple files. You also will want to name your groups so you can keep track of them within your Photoshop document as well.

Marquee Tool for Measuring Space

A good way to measure the distance between elements quickly is to use the Marquee tool between two elements in your design and measure the pixels that are the width of the marquee tool. If you have a line of text that you want to make sure has 25 pixels of white space above it you can quickly drag the Marquee tool between your text and the border and the pixel amount will display when the mouse is held down.

Browse fonts in Dreamweaver

Viewing fonts on your computer is not always as easy as it seems. Now Dreamweaver CC has a built in font viewer which is great. Just go to Modify > Manage Fonts then look for the Adobe Edge Web Fonts tab.

Find Kuler color themes in Illustrator

When you login to Kuler (Adobe Color) inside the Creative Cloud and create a new swatch, it is directly sent to Illustrator CC making it much easier to create palettes and implement them immediately.

Layer Export from Illustrator to Photoshop

When you’ve finished creating artwork in Illustrator you can easily export it as layers and preserve the artwork for further work. Go to File>Export and select the Photoshop format. Choose the resolution and click the ‘Write Layers’ option.

Extract CSS from Illustrator

You can now extract the CSS for your typographic design directly from Illustrator. Design your assets then open the CSS Properties panel to view the type characters rendered as CSS code. You can then copy that code directly for use in Dreamweaver. You can even use this to create CSS gradients so it is a good way to generate gradient backgrounds as well.

Need more productivity tips as a freelancer? Here are 4 Tips Every Freelancer Needs for Productivity.


Margaret Penney is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Margaret is a teacher, designer, writer and new media artist and founder of Hello Creative Co.


Need to update your skills? Sessions College offers a range of online Creative Cloud courses in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and more, as well as Certificate Programs in Web Design.

This blog is powered by Sessions College, the leading online school of visual arts.

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