This post first appeared on www.vickiwenderlich.com
Often you have an image with several shapes in it, all which need to have the same Appearance (this just means the combination of Fills and Strokes applied to an object, and it’s found in the Appearance panel). Most of the time you aren’t quite sure what the appearance should be ahead of time, or you need to change the appearance – either way, you will need to copy the appearance of one shape over to several other shapes.
Even if the appearance is easy, let’s say a single Fill color and Stroke, this will take up too much time if you go to each shape and change its appearance manually in the Appearance panel.
If you have a complicated Appearance, like a gradient fill, a texture fill on top, and a drop shadow, it would take even longer.
For example, see the clouds to the left.
I created the shapes with a simple white fill, and then played around with the appearance.
Finally, I decided that the appearance needed to be as shown to the left, with a gradient fill and a white transparent gradient fill with an Offset Path Effect applied (to create a gradient stroke effect).
Then I needed to apply that Appearance to the other shapes.
Doing this manually would be a huge pain!
Fortunately there is an easy way in Illustrator to copy Appearances between shapes.
Go over to your Layers Panel, and find the shapes. Here, the three objects with white thumbnails are our clouds.
See the circle to the right of each shape name? That is its Appearance circle.
In (1), you can see that one of the paths has a filled-in grey circle, and the other two cloud shapes have a white circle. The filled-in circle means that the Appearance is more than just a simple Fill and Stroke. We want to copy this Appearance to the other two paths
To copy the Appearance of the third path to the other paths, simply hold down Option and drag from the filled-in circle to another circle (2). Do this for any shapes you want the Appearance copied to.
The Appearances will now be the same (3).
If you do not hold down Option, you will simply move the Appearance from one shape to another rather than copying it.
As you can see below, all three clouds now have the same Appearance – and it took only seconds to make the change!