Why doesn't the gradient tool appear over the object I've applied it to in Illustrator CS6? I have to click and hold down to adjust the size of the gradient on an object or just use the gradient window. But now I am unable to edit the perimeters of a radial gradient like I use to do in CS5. In CS5 the bar would stay visible over the object until you clicked out of the gradient tool. Is my software bugged or is this simply a disappointing new feature in CS6?

  • 2
    WHat's the nature of the object? Compound Shape? Raster image? Group? Clipping Mask?
    – Scott
    Jul 26, 2013 at 15:24
  • You should be a mind reader by now Scott
    – user9447
    Oct 24, 2013 at 15:02
  • Just FYI I've got the exact same problem going on and I just got Illustrator a few weeks ago so I know that I have the current one. It is very frustrating.
    – user16416
    Nov 7, 2013 at 5:17
  • Just had the same experience, pressing G didn't do anything. I closed and reopened the document and then I could see the gradient annotator. The Annotator should show up every time the Gradient window is called, I think that would make way more sense. Yet another counterintuitive Illustrator feature... Jul 19, 2018 at 22:41

7 Answers 7


Kind of late but hope my answer can be of help.

So the control that you are looking for is called the "Gradient annotator" can might be switched off accidentally by pressing the shortcut "cmd + opt + G" for mac. Not so sure about Windows.

To reactivate it simply press the shortcut again or go to View > Show Gradient Annotator and you should have the gradient controls back on.

  • 2
    Or press Alt+Ctrl+G (for Windows)
    – user47971
    Aug 6, 2015 at 14:16

All good answers (I'm working in CS 5.5) I've had this problem and also noticed that even though groups and compound paths may cause issues with gradients, they do not make gradients impossible. Sometimes you have to Ungroup, Release Compound Path (Object/Compound Path/...), then re-make the compound path (if there was one to begin with) and re-Group. Usually this will fix the problem for me.

  • I spent a long time tearing my hair out before I realized that I had accidentally created a group of a single path.
    – Andy Swift
    Oct 3, 2018 at 11:54

I didn't see a response for the Windows version, but there it is Ctrl+Alt+G to turn it back on.

  • It worked like a charm @asdfsadf
    – Pie
    Jun 4, 2019 at 9:40

They haven't removed this feature. Make sure that you have the object selected, a radial gradient has already been applied, and you have the gradient tool currently being used.

Gradient Tool

  • Thanks for your help Adam. My software must be bugged. I've done all that. The tool in the picture example you have shown above that appears over the objet, straight up, does not appear. Like I said, when I click and drag I can adjust the size of the gradient but as soon I release the mouse button the tool (the bar with swatch tabs and the perimeter ring) disappear. And I have no way of adjusting the hight or width of the perimeter and am only able to adjust the color swatches using the gradient window. Jul 26, 2013 at 15:27
  • Might be worth a reinstall depending on how important that feature is to you. Jul 26, 2013 at 15:33

I've run into this bug for years. It's most definitely not cause by groupings or compound paths, as I've used the gradient tool within them plenty of times. Sometimes simply restarting illustrator will bring the tool back, but not always. I've never found a consistent method for fixing this outside of just remaking the object and re-applying the gradient.

It seems to happen most often when I'm running low on memory.


This was driving me nuts, but it's simple.

If the Gradient Annotator (G) is enabled / hasn't been disabled, and the little Gradient Window (F9) is open; just select the relevant object and hit G.

It'll make the proper switch to the Gradient tool, and the device will appear. When you switch to a gradient via the main colour selector, it doesn't make the switch. That's all it is.


Is my software bugged or is this simply a disappointing new feature in CS6?

This is not a bug. Check that your shape isn't a Compound path or grouped.

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