Adobe Illustrator Floating Panels Issue

Upgrading to Adobe Illustrator 2022 Breaks Tools and Workspace Settings

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I hate it when that happens. All that work putting everything in place and BAM! All destroyed and no backup of the workspace you created.

After Upgrading to Adobe Illustrator 2022, not only did I lose every setting in my workspace, but the toolbar and panels were all floating and could not be docked.

I’m sure this is not very common. However, if you look at the view count at the bottom, it might say otherwise. Time will tell.

I tried this and it might work for some but didn’t for me.

Larry G. Schneider 
Adobe Community Professional, Oct 29, 2009

Try holding Cmd-Opt-Ctrl-Shift when restarting AI on a Mac or Alt-Crtl-Shift on a PC to reset the preferences to the factory defaults.

The Solution


I had to reset the preferences from the “Preferences” dialog.
Press Ctrl + K for Windows, Command + K for Mac to open Preferences. From the menu it’s Edit > Preferences > General.
Click on “Reset References” and restart Adobe Illustrator.

Save Your Workspace Changes

Arranged your panels and tools to your liking, then to save your workspace. From the menu choose Window > Workspace > New Workspace… and enter a name. Tools and panels are saved in the current state in your new workspace. You can switch between workspaces from the same menu location.

As you rearrange tools and panels while you work, Illustrator automatically saves the changes to the active workspace. You can reset a workspace to its previously saved state by choosing Window > Workspace > Reset (workspace name).

Workspace Corruption

Any workspace you’ve created while having this “Everything is floating” issue will still have this problem. Keep it if you like or you can delete it from Window > Workspace > Manage Workspaces… and select the workspace you want to delete, then click on the garbage can icon.

If You’re Lucky

Sometimes you can copy a workspace out of an older install or AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator XX Settings\en_US\x64\Workspaces profile and into the new profile settings. I wasn’t lucky.


Adobe has never been great at the upgrade process and often leaves your plugins, actions, and brushes behind. Affinity is a good alternative, but still a bit weak. Adobe Illustrator is a very well-tuned product in general. I highly dislike the swatches though because the on-the-fly options just suck. So go ahead and hate on me, but for real control, I use Corel. Way more power over the others.

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