How to Undo in Adobe Illustrator – 4 Easy Ways 2023

how to undo and redo in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator, which was released in 1987, is one of many Adobe advances that revolutionized graphic design.[1] It is a powerful design tool that allows you to create vector illustrations and graphics.

However, as with any graphic design software, it’s fun to play around with the tools and try things out. There are also times you may not be pleased with what you’ve created.

Sometimes you just want to revert content that’s been created before.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to undo in Adobe Illustrator with and without keyboard shortcuts. We will also cover various undo options. Such as, how to use the Version History Panel to restore previous versions of your artwork.

How many times can you undo in Adobe Illustrator

You may be wondering what would be the default number of undos you can do in total.

First, go to the Illustrator menu at the top corner of the page and click on Illustrator.

Then, scroll to Preferences in the drop-down menu to open another drop-down menu.

Click Performance and go to the section that says “Others” in the popped up window.

How many undos can you make in Adobe Illustrator

You will see the subsection Undo Counts and in the selection box beside it, you can select 50, 100 or 200 counts. This means if you were to select 200, you have up to 200 times to reach your last undo command.

However, the higher undo counts you go, the more memory is required and may impact the performance of the software. 100 undo counts should be sufficient.

How to undo in Adobe Illustrator

Method 1: Use Keyboard Shortcuts

If you want the fastest way to undo an action, simply use press Command Z (Mac OS users) or Control Z (Windows users). Use this keyboard shortcut key one time to undo your last action. Use it a second time to undo the one before the last action and so on.

Method 2: Edit Menu

You can also Undo an action by going to the Edit menu. Select the Undo button to undo the last action.

If you undo once, you will undo the latest action and your artwork reverts to the previous version, one step before the latest one.

how to undo in adobe illustrator
How to undo action using Edit menu in Adobe Illustrator

Undo another previous action by selecting the Undo option in the top menu to undo the next action.

You can undo up to the desired number of undoing counts you’ve set in the Preferences section. The amount of undos could be 50, 100 or 200 undo times.

Method 3: History Panel

There are times when you’ve done hundreds of actions and realised you want to undo almost all of them. If you were to undo each of them using the keyboard shortcuts or Edit menu, you can only do so one action at a time. This will take too long to undo hundreds of them.

The best way to do this is by using the History panel. If you don’t see the History panel, select Window on the top menu and select History in the dropdown menu (Window > History).

revert your actions on Adobe Illustrator by selecting history from the window menu to open the history panel

The History panel opens up and you will see a list of all steps and actions you’ve taken so far. You can make your artwork undo up to any action by selecting any listed step given in the panel.

undo action using history panel on adobe illustrator

Method 4: Revert

How do you revert to a previous version of an Adobe Illustrator file?

If you are wondering how you can revert your file to the last saved version, first, select File on the top menu and select Revert in the drop-down menu, or go to File > Revert.

select file in top menu and select revert on adobe illustrator

You will see a notice or prompt to warn you that if you go ahead, you will lose all current changes and your Illustrator file will be changed back to the one previously saved. In other words, this step cannot be undone once you are confirmed to revert the file to the last saved version.

Select the “Revert” button and your file immediately changes to the one you had before.

reverting prompt adobe illustrator

If you see that the Revert option is greyed out and impossible to be selected, that’s because your file doesn’t have any changes made yet.

How to undo selected actions even after closing the file

The undo function is great within the same file. But once you close the file and reopen it, you won’t have access to previous changes anymore.

One way is to keep saving files into different versions. In case you need previous artwork, you can use back the last saved files.

If we don’t do that, a lot of time and effort is required to recreate it later if we have overridden a previous artwork after saving the file.

The good news is that Illustrator has the Version History Panel. It allows you to recover the past versions you have saved before in the same file. There’s no need for you to be afraid of losing the past versions. There’s also no need to save multiple files in your folders.

Unlike Adobe Photoshop, the Version History Panel in Illustrator works differently.

If you want to access the Version History Panel in Adobe Illustrator, you have to save your file in the Creative Cloud and not your hard drive.

How to save Illustrator file in Creative Cloud

With your new file, go to the top menu, click File and go to Save As in the drop-down menu. Then, click on the button that says “Save to Creative Cloud”.

How to save Adobe Illustrator file to Creative Cloud

How to undo selected actions using the Version History Panel

Now that your file is in Creative Cloud, you will be able to use the Version History Panel to save all action steps and file versions.

How to open Version History Panel in Adobe Illustrator

To access the Version History Panel, go to the top menu and click Window.

Then, scroll down the drop-down menu and click on Version History.

This opens up the Version History Panel that shows all actions you’ve done and saved.

If your Version History Panel is empty or doesn’t show any actions even after making changes, this means your file is not saved in the Creative Cloud. Do save it in Creative Cloud first before working on your artwork.

The Version History Panel does not list every action by default if each action is not saved. In other words, it only lists them if you have saved each of the actions.

In Photoshop, the History Panel does not save a version of the closed file. This means if you close a file with or without saving it and reopen it later, you will see an empty History Panel without the previous versions done in the same file.

As for Illustrator, as long as you save every action, you can close the saved file, reopen the same file and still see the list of saved actions made previously in the Version History Panel.

💡 Do remember to save every action you make, because only saved actions are saved and seen in the Version History Panel. It’s only if you save the step, you are able to undo it by clicking on that step you’ve made and saved previously.

To revert to a previous version of your artwork, simply click on the action you want to undo. This will restore your artwork to the state it was in before you made that change.

In this case, if you were to close the file and open it tomorrow, you’ll still be able to see the previous versions in the Version History Panel and revert to any of them.

How to redo an action

Now that you have learned a few ways to undo your last change or series of recent changes, there are times you’d like to go back to the previous artwork you’ve done before. You may wish to reverse an undo action, or redo an action.

There are two ways to redo an action.

How to redo an action method 1

Go to the top menu, click Edit.

Then, scroll down and click on the redo button.

How to Undo in Adobe Illustrator – 4 Easy Ways 2023
How to redo in Adobe Illustrator

Or, you can use the keyboard shortcut by pressing Shift key with Command Z (Mac OS users) or Shift Control Z (Windows users)

Even after saving your file with the last changes using the save command, you are still able to use the above undo settings to the artwork you had last time.

How to redo an action method 2

You can do this with the revert function in Adobe Illustrator.

This method brings you back to the original first saved version and this cannot be undone.

We hope this tutorial has helped you learn how to undo in Adobe Illustrator with and without keyboard shortcuts for both Windows and Mac users. Remember, practice makes perfect! The more you use Illustrator, the better you’ll become at using its various features and tools. Thanks for reading!

Featured image from: Online illustrations by Storyset



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