How to Undo and Redo in Adobe Illustrator

To undo and redo in Adobe Illustrator, hold the Ctrl + Z (Command + Z on Mac) and the last action you performed will quickly be reversed. To redo what you’ve previously undone, hold Shift + Ctrl + Z. 

Awesome right? Sometimes, you might prefer what you’ve done earlier or simply want to go back, but you’ve already made many changes. Don’t freak out! These things happen. You can easily undo and redo your activities in Adobe Illustrator. 

My name is Rita. I’ve used Adobe Illustrator for more than five years and I have developed some skills with it. When it comes to creating unique vector-based designs with Adobe Illustrator, two commands that you’d be probably using every day are undo and redo

In this tutorial, I will show you four ways to undo and redo in Adobe Illustrator, along with the best methods of achieving that in different situations.

Are you ready? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Undo allows you to take a step or several steps (actions) backward while working on a document. While the redo function lets you restore the changes that you have undone.
  • You can use the shortcut Ctrl + Z to undo and Shift + Ctrl + Z to redo in Adobe Illustrator.
  • The default number of times that you can undo/redo in Adobe Illustrator is 100, but you can adjust your preference in the settings. You can set it up to 200 times
  • There is no undo or redo icon on the menu bar in Adobe Illustrator. To undo, choose Edit > Undo, to Redo, choose Edit > Redo.

4 Ways to Undo and Redo in Adobe Illustrator

There are different ways to undo and redo in Adobe Illustrator. Different situations may influence your decision on the way you choose to follow.

Note: All screenshots from this tutorial are taken from Adobe Illustrator CC Windows version, Mac or other versions can look different. 

If you are looking for how to undo and redo a currently opened document, then we recommend you choose any of these methods:

  • The file menu
  • The shortcut command
  • The history panel
  • The Adobe Creative Cloud revert versions

(Don’t worry, we will talk about these techniques in detail as we proceed)

If you are trying to undo and redo a document that you have closed, then you may have to choose the fourth technique – revert versions in Adobe Creative Clouds

Now that you know all the possible methods, I will go ahead and show you how to undo and redo using the different methods. We will also look at what methods work best in certain situations.

Method 1: Use the File Menu to Undo and Redo in Adobe Illustrator

To undo and redo using the file menu technique is easy. Go to the top menu and choose Edit > Undo to undo your previous actions. Similarly, you can follow the same process to redo –  Edit > Redo.

If the redo option is not working or is greyed out, that’s because you can’t use the redo function without first undoing something. 

Method 2: Keyboard shortcut

I guess you are already used to using the undo shortcut Command/Ctrl + Z because it is the common undo command for many software. This undo shortcut command also works for Adobe Illustrator.

The redo shortcut command is a little different from the undo. To redo press Shift + Ctrl + Z on Windows or Shift + Command + Z on Mac. 

Method 3: History Panel

Undoing and redoing using the file menu technique or shortcuts can be confusing if you have initiated many forward and backward actions. The best option to use in this situation is the History panel.

Just like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator has a history panel that you can access from the overhead menu. Go to the overhead menu and click Window > History.

When you click on history, you will see all the steps that you have taken on the document. You can simply scroll to see the step you want to go back to and click on it. Clicking on a particular step will immediately make the preceding steps disappear.

Even if the actions after will disappear, it doesn’t mean that the steps are deleted. Scroll down to find previously undone steps in the history panel to redo them.

All three techniques we’ve talked about work great, but you can’t undo and redo to previous steps after closing the document.

Method 4: Undo Document Versions from Adobe Creative Cloud

All the three techniques we talked about earlier are effective ways to undo and redo, just that you may want to see the older steps of a closed file. 

You can see history versions of a closed Adobe Illustrator file that you saved to the creative cloud. Open the file that you saved in the Adobe Illustrator creative cloud, go to the top menu bar, and click Window > Version History.

You will see the version history of the file you worked on when you edit the file. You can click on the options menu close to the version you want to go back to and select revert to this version.

This is the best way to go back to the old steps after closing the document. Plus it allows you to access your files from anywhere without your computer. 

Note: You can only see the history version of files that you earlier saved to the creative clouds. Nonetheless, the versions expire after 30 days. 

Useful Tip: How to Save a File on Adobe Illustrator  

Forgetting to save your Adobe Illustrator file is one mistake you don’t want to make especially when you are trying to meet a deadline. 

Simply go to File > Save As to save the file in your preferred format and location. Alternatively, you can use the shortcut Ctrl/Command + S to save an Ai file. Once you press Crtl/Command + S, a dialogue box will open immediately for your options. 

Saving your Ai files also makes it easy for you to see the version history. You can enjoy this feature when you save your Ai file to the creative cloud.

Saving your Ai file to the creative cloud is easy. Go to File > Save As and select Save to Creative Cloud


Making a design decision can be challenging, especially as a beginner. You may decide to delete an element or redo something you’ve undone. 

Using the shortcut Ctrl/Command + Z to undo and Shift + Ctrl/Command + Z to redo makes it easy for you to go back and recall past actions. 

Feel free to let us know if you have any doubts in the comment section below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *