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I know I can copy a gradient (minus direction) from one object to another, but how do I preserve the direction of the gradient? (I'm using Illustrator CS6)

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Drag the Gradient Filled object to the Graphic Styles Panel.

The angle will be retained in a Graphic Style (along with any other appearance settings)

Then, when you need to reapply the gradient, select the new object and click the Graphic Style in the Panel.

  • This solved my issue of not being able to preserve the gradient angle when using the eyedropper tool. – KoldBane Apr 22 '15 at 18:03

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