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Design

Illustrator Errors: 4 Quick Tips to Limit Lag and Crashing

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Vector files can be huge, with so many layers, paths, anchor points, and effects. Expanding a pattern or brush can easily create lag in the average machine, and with Adobe Illustrator CC 2015's latest features, older machines may find it hard to keep up. Here are four quick tips for reducing lag and hopefully preventing your app from crashing.

Solution #1: Work in Outline Mode

Working in Outline Mode can speed up the process of working with vectors. Instead of your machine rendering previews of every change you made, you can focus on the shapes and objects you're creating versus whether or not that Gaussian Blur has rendered for the 15th time. 

Understandably, however, this method may not be as advantageous to you if you're working with Clipping Masks or altering rasterized content. Sometimes simple solutions don't really aid in super complex images. Luckily we have more tips!

Working in Outline Mode will save your computer space time and energy
Outline Mode on the left and Overprint Preview Mode on the right.

Solution #2: Rasterize Content

As you're working on a very large design, consider if it's for print or web. If a loss of perfectly scalable quality isn't a problem for you, you may consider rasterizing effects or complex content to put less stress on your machine. This works well for textures, patterns, and other content that may take a while to render.

Alternatively, you can create a copy of the effect to preview it as a rasterized object while keeping the full, vector piece in another file or hidden.

Rasterize content to reduce file size and lag
Rasterized content on the left and vector content on the right.

Solution #3: Hide Unnecessary Layers

Speaking of hiding content, every time you make a change to your active layer, all of those visible need to render again while in Preview Mode. The more complex your document and the changes you've made to it are, the more virtual memory this will take up, often causing lag.

Hide unnecessary layers in your Layers panel not only to speed up your own process and focus on the task at hand, but also to give your machine a bit of a break.

Hide all layers not currently in use
Hide all layers not currently in use.

Solution #4: Use Linked Files vs. Embedded

Our final solution is simple: link files instead of embedding them. It'll save on the overall document size, and so long as you remember to keep linked files in their corresponding folders or update your vector document, you'll bog down your machine with fewer tasks (like rendering that image). 

It's a great solution when you've added a layer of bitmapped images that are simply serving as reference points. You don't need those files to take up space since they're not a part of the final document. 

Use lined files for sketches and reference images versus embedded
Linked sketch file on the left and final vector icon on the right.

Know More Solutions?

I hope you found the above solutions helpful in reducing not only lag, but annoyance and frustration when working in vector. What are some of your go-to solutions for reducing lag while working in Adobe Illustrator? Share them in the comment section below!

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