Disable window docking in Illustrator

Explorer ,
Jul 27, 2017 Jul 27, 2017

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I have searched the forums and found questions about this, but no answers.  I am pulling my hair out every day hating Illustrator because I cannot for the life of me figure out how to disable docking behaviour when I'm moving around windows with artwork.  I accidentally dock/join windows all day long and have to tear them back off.  I understand some people like this (can't fathom why, but to each her own) but please, can anyone assist me here? It's become a real stress inducer because I often work with multiple files open and want to be able to move things where I want.  Yes, I have gone through all of the options in preferences, many times.  Nothing seems to work. The behaviour where one graphic window joins another as a tab is especially infuriating.  Yep, I have disabled "open documents as tabs."  It did not work.   

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

Community Expert , Jul 27, 2017 Jul 27, 2017

Press Cmd key (Windows: Ctrl) while moving the windows around.

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New Here , Aug 06, 2019 Aug 06, 2019

Finally found it in another post.

Preferences > User Interface > Open Documents as Tabs : disable

AND

Window menu > Application Frame: uncheck

do both of those and the windows will no longer dock. Still not sure why Adobe can't make these settings consistent across ID/AI/PS--it's the same functionality. Make turning it on/off consistent.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 27, 2017 Jul 27, 2017

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Press Cmd key (Windows: Ctrl) while moving the windows around.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 10, 2022 Aug 10, 2022

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This is a correct answer. And should be number one. It works great. Thank you so much.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 28, 2017 Jul 28, 2017

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Monika's answer is definitely a great solution to your problem.

Another possible solution is to press the Tab key to hide all Panels, so you won't have to move them out of the way. Or Shift + Tab to hide all Panels except the Tools and Control panels.

Just my unsolicited opinion: Why don't you just set up and save your own Workspace with the Panels docked exactly where you want them? Then you won't have to keep moving Panels around. It could actually speed up your workflow, because you'll know exactly where all your panels are.

Just curious, the way you're currently working, do you find yourself moving panels around to uncover the artwork that's underneath? Do you keep losing track of where your panels are because there are other panels in front.

Workspaces with docked panels are meant to solve these problems.

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Explorer ,
Jul 28, 2017 Jul 28, 2017

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Thanks, Jeff, but you misunderstood my question.  I am not talking about the tool panels.  I have them docked and they are fine and I'm very familiar with the options to set up a custom workspace -- I use this feature all the time.  I referred to "windows with artwork" to clarify I do not mean the tool panels.  I guess I could have said "artboards" but you can have more than one artboard in a file window so I wasn't sure how to better clarify.

I make custom Acrobat stamps and sometimes have a dozen items open in floating windows at a time as I use graphical elements from various projects and combine them.  I'm sure someone is going to mention cascade and tile, but those are useless as it does not sort things in an order that works for me and I need different sized windows for different files.  I just want to have my files open and ordered how I like, and to be able to move them around as my needs change. 

While I appreciate the other reply, having to use a keypress combination every time I move things around isn't much better because what I want is to shut the behaviour off so I don't have to work around it.  I'm actually looking at moving to a new graphics program due to this.  It's frustrating that Adobe won't let me decide if I like my windows snapping into each other (and auto resizing every time they do) and forces users to use a workaround if they don't like it. 

Thanks again for the responses so far.

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Explorer ,
Jul 28, 2017 Jul 28, 2017

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I have no idea why my replies are coming out in this weird font!  Sorry about that.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 28, 2017 Jul 28, 2017

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If you not sure how to set up your own custom workspace, here's a video tutorial: http://www.jeffwitchel.net/2013/08/create-your-own-custom-workspace/

It's an InDesign tutorial, but it's pretty much the same in Illustrator.

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New Here ,
Mar 12, 2018 Mar 12, 2018

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Does ANYONE know the answer to tklow's original question? This drives me absolutely crazy, too, especially when I'm working on my laptop where there isn't much screen real estate. I have disabled "open documents as tabs" (under Preferences > User Interface), but there is NO option to disable automatic docking of windows. PhotoShop has a choice under Preferences > Workspace to ""Disable floating document window docking" (which is exactly what I want to do in Illustrator), but as far as I can determine, there is no comparable option in Illustrator. Why should it be available in PhotoShop and not Illustrator? Have I missed something somewhere?

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New Here ,
Aug 06, 2019 Aug 06, 2019

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Finally found it in another post.

Preferences > User Interface > Open Documents as Tabs : disable

AND

Window menu > Application Frame: uncheck

do both of those and the windows will no longer dock. Still not sure why Adobe can't make these settings consistent across ID/AI/PS--it's the same functionality. Make turning it on/off consistent.

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New Here ,
Aug 09, 2022 Aug 09, 2022

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Nope. Still snaps windows together as tabs. Code is just broke, I guess.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 10, 2022 Aug 10, 2022

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I always have these set like this and it still auto docks. This is not a correct answer to the docking question. Hold down the command key like Monika says. Then chill and enjoy your life... lol.

 

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New Here ,
Sep 05, 2022 Sep 05, 2022

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NEITHER of these  'fixes' work. Ridiculous that Adobe hasn't fixed this annoying problem that a lot of their users have requested. As usual. Why don't they FIX the things we ask for, rather than spending time screwing stuff up and adding "features" that are unusable? For the life of me, I dont' know why anyone would want these windows to snap together while quickly moving them anyway. If I was stopping and hovering for a few seconds, that would be fine, but I can't even move it past another open window without it snapping and locking there. NOT EVERYONE'S WORKFLOW USES TABS. I never use tabs. If I wanted to use tabs, I would have my prefs set up like that. ADOBE... Stop trying to force your paying customers to change their workflow to match the way YOU want!

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Community Expert ,
Sep 05, 2022 Sep 05, 2022

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Exactly which windows do not behave as they should?

 

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 10, 2022 Sep 10, 2022

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LATEST
I agree Tabs are awful and shouldn't be forced on paying customers. I like
to see the list of open docs in the Window menu and can not with Tabs. And
moving past them even at lightning speed usually results in the unwanted
docking and hiding of the sudden new Tab. Terrible work flow.
There are also these sorts of forced workflow issues with layers and
locking and unlocking and hiding and showing of layers of nested "groups
of" layers. Things people have asked to have fixed.
I often wonder if programmers don't screw things up to fix them later. But
these are long standing sensible workflow issues for paying customers.
Thanks for your comment I agree and feel your pain.

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