Selecting and Isolating Objects

Anne Bracker
A free video tutorial from Anne Bracker
Graphic Designer and Teacher, Adobe Max Speaker, Adobe Live
4.6 instructor rating • 3 courses • 3,056 students

Lecture description

Selection and isolation in Illustrator is half the battle when you're trying to work on a part of a project in Illustrator.  Learn the quickest way to get it done!

Learn more from the full course

Speed, Efficiency, and Productivity in Adobe Illustrator

Increase your Adobe Illustrator speed and efficiency with tips, tricks and keyboard shortcuts tailored for productivity

58:03 of on-demand video • Updated May 2019

  • Adobe Illustrator Speed
  • Adobe Illustrator Efficiency
  • Adobe Illustrator Productivity
  • Adobe Illustrator Tips and Tricks
  • Adobe Illustrator Workflow
English In this next section we're going to be talking about something that's actually kind of overlooked a lot of times when we're talking about speeding up our workflow: selection and isolation. If you want to follow along with this section you can go to the resources section and open the Selection and Isolation file. So this is a file that just has a bunch of icons in it and you'll probably find that some of these are not grouped. Groups are very very helpful when you're wanting to isolate objects. We have a pale blue background here. We've got some icons that are not grouped the way they really should be. And we only have one layer. So I'm going to keep everything on this layer although usually I would just take that background, put it on another layer and lock it. We'll just keep it here. So I can show you a different way of selecting and locking things. Now we can either take this layer and click command to to lock it or we can just do CMD Y for the preview mode and then we can select things easier without accidentally hitting that background layer. Now in our appearance we can see that this one is already a group so we don't have to worry about that one. But anything that's not a group, for example this one, ...oh and I accidentally selected the background. I'll hit shift and deselect that. So now I've got just this one but in our Appearance we can see that it doesn't have group here. So we'll hit CMD G to group that and let's make sure all the others are grouped too. Oh here's another one CMD G...and CMD G. Now I'm gonna hit CMD Y and get back to this view. Let's say we want the top row and maybe this line down here. A great way to select things is to draw boxes and then hold shift and draw more boxes to deselect. I'm going to draw a box around all of these things. So that has selected the background also. We don't necessarily want that but if we hold shift and draw a box from here that will deselect the background, because we had shift held down, and it will select this one. So now if we Hide, CMD 3, then we'll CMD A and just delete and then we'll unhide everything. Option CMD 3. Now we only have the icons that we want to work with. We got rid of our background, we got rid of the other icons and we're good to go. Now as I mentioned groups are really handy when you're wanting to move things around and isolate them. But what if you want to click and move something within that group? That takes us back to the group selection tool which is very handy. That's exactly what it's for. So I want to zoom in with my Z tool, zoom in on this piece here. And let's say I want to move this lightning bolt up to the edge. So I want to hit G for my group selection tool or you can come up here and choose it here and all I have to do is just click that piece. I can move it around even though it's still in a group. If I hit V and do this, I'll select that whole group and if I hit A and try it, I run the risk of doing something like this - accidentally pulling a piece that I don't want. G (group selection tool) will just select that piece within the group and move it around. Now another cool thing is this had one more piece in the group, let's just add this little square up here. I'm going to group that. You can click once with the G tool click again and it will give you each piece as it has been grouped. It's kind of hard to explain. If you click on the lightning bolt, click again on that selection, it will give you the next part of that group. And if you click again on that selection, it'll give you the next part of that group... on out until you have every part of that group selected. So it all depends on how you originally prepared this group. It's going to select the groups within the groups if that makes sense. So with selection, the way to really get quick is to use boxes so draw a box around the thing you want or the three things you want hold shift, deselect this one and then you can move those two around. Use CMD Y to easily select pieces without selecting something that you don't want. Now I'm going to revert this file back to the original so that I can show you what the Q tool does. Now I showed you how to select these by using boxes and deselect the ones you don't want... and hold shift to add to that. But the Q tool makes it even easier to select parts of a group by just lassoing around what you want. So I'm going to choose Q And I'm going to lasso around these things and I only want this part of this one down here. OK so everything that's a blue filled color is what I've selected and everything that's white, I have not selected that. So I'll hold shift and grab those two points. I'm going to cut those with CMD X, delete that and get rid of those and then paste in front and you can see that I've got just those points that were selected. So if we zoom in down here, this is now an open shape. We'll hit CMD Y so you can see what I'm talking about. So we have the open area here. If we get our A tool or direct selection, draw a box around those points and hit CMD J, we now have a closed shape here. Depending on what you're working on that can be really really handy. If you only want certain points it's really great. Another kind of interesting thing about the Q tool if you use it and you only happen to get some of the points you can lock that with CMD 2 and then option CMD 2 will unlock it and it will grab all the points. You might not find yourself needing that one as much but I use it all the time to select the whole shape. Now I also want to mention Select Same Fill Color and Select Same Stroke Color. These shapes have a few different colored strokes on them and a lot of different fill colors. But if we want to select the same color of stroke we can come up here to Select Same Stroke Color. And that's great. It got all of the blue strokes. This is actually a fill. So it did not get that one but it got everything that has that color. But what happens if you want to select all the strokes? All the strokes and your whole document? This actually is a little work around. I'm going to hit M to draw a little rectangle. I'll hit forward slash (/) or the question mark key (?) to clear the fill, hit X to move this stroke to the front and then hit the forward slash again. So right now we have no fill or stroke on this rectangle. Now we'll come up to Select Same Stroke Color or stroke weight, it doesn't matter. Okay. So it got a few things. And that also doesn't matter whether is selected. And then we'll come up to Select > Inverse. And now it has selected every single stroke in the whole document. Now this one up here is a fill it looks like a stroke but it's actually a fill and that's why it didn't select it. So let's change all the strokes to red. You can also assign a weight to them. So they're all exactly the same weight. So that can be really handy depending on what you're working on. For me, since I work with icons a lot, that is a lifesaver. And one more bonus tip for you if you're working with a lot of different shapes and you find that you're accidentally clicking on things that you don't want to click on. You can select those shapes and send them to the right 1000 pixels. Let's do that. I'll hit the return and we'll send this 1000 pixels and 0 vertical. I just want it to go to the right and then make sure your angles at zero. And we'll say OK. And now let's go over, I'm going to zoom out, and I'll take a look at these shapes. OK. I was in CMD Y mode and I just got out of that by hitting CMD Y again. So now let's convert these all to rectangles. We don't want any extra height or width and now we've got little rectangles. OK. And now I'm going to send these back exactly where they were. So I'm going to hit V, return and then put a minus symbol in front of the thousand so minus 1000 and 0 vertical and we'll say OK now hit CMD 0 and we've got these little guys exactly where they were. For me I just use this as an extra way to isolate things. Now I realize you can double click and get to your isolation mode but I really don't use this very much because things have to be grouped a certain way for it to work correctly. So I'd rather just send things to the right work on them and then send them back.