Illustrator CS4, MAC OSX 10.5.8...
After struggling off and on for a few months with Illustrator, I'd like to be able to confirm a few things, so I know I'm not insane.
1. Canvas/Pasteboard. Is there not an easy way to change that a bit so I can see more difference between the artboard and background? I found a workaround using transparency grid color and then putting a white picture block on the artboard (on a locked layer underneath). This is at least acceptable for various things. Is there some setting I'm missing? Mostly I'd just like to change the color of the canvas so it stands out more.(And I'd rather have my own choice than whatever the preset tends to be because these blaring white/light screens are killer on the eyes...)
1a. How do I save a "blank" version of the canvas set up I made so my "colorized" canvas comes up in new documents? Is there a way to set a default document?
1b. Is there a way to make the canvas a bit smaller?
2. Scrolling. When I select an object and want to move it up the page/artboard, AI doesn't seem to scroll to the area I'm trying to get to. Is there a setting I'm missing or accidentally checked/unchecked? I have to go to the scrollbar and click that and move the item screen-by-screen up the page (alternatively, zoom out, etc.)
2a. I noticed earlier today when trying to sort out text issues (point text, specifically) when I rotated a box... as soon as my cursor hit the edge of the document, the window view practically scrolled out of the universe! Why would it scroll to an out-of-view place in this instance and not scroll when I'm trying to drag an item to an out-of-view place in the document?
3. I have tons of legacy Freehand 7 files. A decade's worth (not to mention apps prior to that for another decade). Every piece of text comes in as a "text area" box (ordinarily not a problem). But not a one of them shows all the text. I understand this is an issue with legacy files of all types (saving out old FH7 files as an older version of AI yields the same results.)
Pages are cluttered with red + everywhere. Never mind the time sink, does AI have any way to "snap to" regarding a text area box to the text? How do you get multiple text boxes/objects to line up and be the same size? I'm not seeing H x W spec boxes to enter numerics in for text area boxes (as a start). Do I need to use grids or guides for this?
4. Whatever tool I'm using persists and doesn't change to a regular arrow when I go to click a scrollbar. Program glitch?
5. How do I set a default font? Or a default doc to open with the desired font preset in it?
6. When saving out a graphic to be used in another app, is there no "save selection as.."? Or do I need to open a new doc, paste and save from there for each thing? (My master documents for some frequently used items tend to have many items)
I know these are really newbie questions, but what used to be 5 minute tweaks in the past (in Freehand) now turn into all-day ordeals trying to figure out what I consider to be just the basics. So I'm not really learning about all the features and aspects of AI at this point.
Can anyone confirm some of the stuff above or point out what I've missed?