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Is it possible to select multiple layers by selecting first and last layers?

Jun 18, 2010 12:01 PM

I frequently get Illustrator files in that have individual objects such as paths on individual layers that could be grouped to make the layers more concise. I find that I have to shift click each individual layer to select it to eventually group it. At times, I have 25 or so layers that I need to select. Is there a way to select the first and last layer in the layers palette, and have Illustrator select all layers in between?

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 18, 2010 12:05 PM   in reply to Katrina12345

    Yes, just highlight one layer and then click on the other layer you want included. Everything inbetween should be included.

     
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    Jun 18, 2010 12:08 PM   in reply to Larry G. Schneider

    I think you mean shift-click.

     
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    Jun 18, 2010 12:17 PM   in reply to Katrina12345

    With all your desired layers selected, look in the flyout menu of the layers panel for "collect in new layer"

     
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    Jun 18, 2010 12:18 PM   in reply to Katrina12345

    Ctrl clik on the target icon (buuls eye) against the each layer

     
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    Jun 18, 2010 12:19 PM   in reply to colling_s

    You need to ctrl click on the target icon for each layer

     
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    Jun 18, 2010 12:37 PM   in reply to Katrina12345

    Katrina,

     

    This may be what you are after (wording from the Helpfile of an old, old version):

     

    To save a selection:

     

    1. Select one or more objects on the artboard, and choose Select > Save Selection.

    2. In the Save Selection dialog box, enter a name in the Name text box, and click OK.

        The new selection name appears in the Select menu.

     

    After that, you can access the selection through Select>Name.

     
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    Jun 18, 2010 1:04 PM   in reply to Jacob Bugge

    You can't group objects on different layers. They will all be moved to the highest layer in the stack to be grouped.

     
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    Jun 18, 2010 1:33 PM   in reply to Larry G. Schneider

    Larry is correct.

     

    This is what you would get if you click on one objet on the canvas then shift click on another object and then go to the layers panel and shift click each layers's object in between they will be added to the selection but when you collect them into a group that will collect them into a new top layer. which is probably not what you want.

     

    However there is no reason this could not be a feature as a layer collection so that if you activate the collection they are selected but if you just select the object on its own layer it is  activated independently.

     

    I am not sure this can be scripted be it might be worth a try.

     
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    Jun 18, 2010 3:07 PM   in reply to Katrina12345

    Katrina,

     

    And I guess it's the way I work. 1) I routinely select objects by selecting them from the layers palette, and not the canvas, so that I can't accidentally move an object that is the clients artwork. I prefer to work this way, as I consider it "safer". (I lock layers I'm not using) I routinely run into artists work that for instance, converted fonts to outline, and now each compound layer that is an individual letter is an object on it's own layer. 2) I need things grouped together and titled so that if I need to come back to this file and quickly fix something on press, I can tell what layer holds what object.

     

    3) Therefore, I frequently need to select objects in a two mile long (slight exaggeration ) list of layers/sublayers and group them, retaining them in their same layers in the event an effect has been applied at the top hiearchy of that layer.

     

    It would be great if a key, or combination of keys, would allow me to select the top object, scroll down and select the last object, and have Illustrator select all between those two.

     

    If you create and use selections as suggested in post #12, you do have to select individual objects when they share layers with other objects (but you can select whole layers as well) in exactly the way you are used to (1), but you only have to do it once instead of having to repeat it (3), and you have them collected with a title so you can find them again (2).

     

    At least it is part of the way.

     
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    Jun 20, 2010 9:15 PM   in reply to Katrina12345

    If you want to select all the objects on the canvas, you can use the Select All (Ctrl/Cmd-A) command. If you want to select objects only on the active artboard (if you are working on multiple artboards), you can use Alt/Opt+Ctrl/Cmd+A) command.

     

    If you are worried that you will accidentally move object(s) by selecting them on the canvas, then instead of clicking on the object(s), you can marquee drag with the black arrow Selection tool/Lasso tool.

     
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    Jun 21, 2010 1:37 PM   in reply to Katrina12345

    Katrina,

     

    I really wish there were if this is not currently possible. Is there a way to request that?

     

    There is this way: https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform

     
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    Jun 22, 2010 1:00 PM   in reply to Katrina12345

    You are welcome, Katrina.

     
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    Aug 22, 2010 7:49 AM   in reply to Katrina12345

    Don't know about selecting layers by first/last, but to select multiple consecutive layers in the layers palette.....

     

    Option-click (Mac) on a layer to highlight it and, with the option key still pressed, drag down the list--DO NOT click-drag on the target icons as logic would tell you.  As you drag down the layer list, the target icons will become selected.

     

    Shift-Option-click allows you to skip layers and continue selecting additional consecutive layers on down the palette.

     

           Note:  Drag slowly or some layers will not select.

     

    Strange, I know.  It took me years to stumble upon this.

     
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    Aug 22, 2010 11:12 PM   in reply to Katrina12345

    Hi Katrina, starting with nothing selected, click on the first layer then Shift+Click on the last layer, now all desired layers are selected but no art is selected yet on the canvas.

     

    On the layer fly out menu click on "Hide Others" to hide all other layers, now hit Ctrl+A to select all artwork on the canvas.

     

    From here I'm not clear on what you need to do with the selection, as mentioned before if you group the selection, all objects will all end up in one layer.

     

    once you're done (save selection perhaps), on the layer fly out menu, click on "Show All Layers" to bring everything back on the screen

     

    CarlosCanto

     
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    Oct 18, 2010 6:03 PM   in reply to Katrina12345

    Katrina I had the same problem. Thanks to Carlos post I finaly atleast have a work around.

     

    But I just dont understand the point of being able to shift select multiple layers if it doesnt actually select the objects in the layer.In photoshop and flash u can shift select layers and group them. Illustrator is version 15 and still cant do something so basic without tricks? Whats the point of being able to select a layer then?

     
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    Oct 18, 2010 6:13 PM   in reply to coreyarte

    Whats the point of being able to select a layer then?

    maybe delete selected layers? or mege them together?

     
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    Oct 18, 2010 6:36 PM   in reply to CarlosCanto

    yeah we all know that (or perhaps that was sarcasm if so im suprised man) but i was talking more so that selecting layers themselves dont seem to do anything, but selecting the object (the circle icon on the layer) seems to be the only way to merge layers ect. Unless there is something im missing, thats what I was saying.

     
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    Oct 18, 2010 6:56 PM   in reply to coreyarte

    The original question was how to select multiple layers (consecutive and

    non-consecutive) and their objects, in the layers palette.

     

    The solution is to option-click-drag in the layer NAME AREA of the layers

    palette. The layer's "targets" and the layer's objects will highlight as you

    drag down the list.  For selecting non-consecutive layers,

    shift-option-click-drag or just click.

     
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    Oct 19, 2010 10:35 AM   in reply to coreyarte

    coreyarte wrote:

     

    yeah we all know that (or perhaps that was sarcasm if so im suprised man)

    Hi Corey, sorry I didn't try to be sarcastic

     
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    Oct 19, 2010 12:00 PM   in reply to Bearsto

    Very excellent discovery Bearsto very excellent.

     

    Carlos also has a good way as well and some credit should be given to Jacob as well because saving the selection could be useful as well.

     
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    Oct 19, 2010 2:51 PM   in reply to Wade_Zimmerman

    thanks Wade, mine was a workaround, Bearsto's way is indeed a very execellent discovery

     
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    Aug 10, 2012 2:52 PM   in reply to Bearsto

    No longer correct in CS6. That's a shame, because it's a great feature. I just moved my project back to CS5 because I need this.

     
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    Dec 5, 2012 4:59 AM   in reply to Katrina12345

    Hey everyone. I've just discovered a partial solution to this problem. It has annoyed me for years too. The solution works in CS6, but with one limitation: you can't use it to select objects that are in different groups or layers due to limitations of selecting layers in the layers palette.

     

    1. Select layers in the layers palette. Unfortunately, it appears all layers must be at the same level of hierarchy i.e. all in the same group, or all siblings of each other. You can use shift-click or command-click to select the layers.
    2. From the layers palette submenu, select "collect in new layer"
    3. Option-click on the new layer to select all the objects in that layer
    4. Undo

     

    Now if only we could select layers inside different groups at the same time. Regardless, this technique would work well to solve Katrina12345's issue of selecting 2 or 3 hundred objects quickly and easily.

     
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    Dec 5, 2012 5:03 AM   in reply to Dave Laird

    This technique would be even more useful if we could assign a keyboard shortcut to layers palette menu items.

     
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    Dec 5, 2012 10:14 AM   in reply to Dave Laird

    check the script on this thread

     

    http://forums.adobe.com/message/4820011#4820011

     
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    Dec 5, 2012 10:21 AM   in reply to CarlosCanto

    Hi Carlos. The script could be handy, but it wouldn't help users who need to select elements within a layer or within a group -- only entire top-level layers. The technique I detailed in post #34 works for layers at any hierarchical depth with nothing new to download or install.

     
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    Dec 5, 2012 10:52 AM   in reply to Dave Laird

    Collecting in new layer won't help when you apply appearances based on the hierarchy of objects. Normally you would like to keep objects' hierarchy untouched.

     
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    Dec 5, 2012 10:54 AM   in reply to Monika Gause

    But when you undo, everything should snap back to their original location. The layer collection gets undone, but the object selection remains. That's what makes this trick possible.

     
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