8 Replies Latest reply on Aug 9, 2009 4:38 PM by homechuck

    Selecting objects below


      I am a Freehand fan who has now had to use Illustrator almost exclusively. The whole access to vector points in illustrator bugs me but most of all access to objects below. In Freehand and Indesign and even Photoshop it is possible to hold either the control or command key and click thru the layers. Adobe now own Freehand why cant they make this available in illustrator. It would save me a lot of time. I know placing objects on separate layers is sort of a solution but I have to usually work on other people's work or do something in a hurry.

        • 1. Re: Selecting objects below
          Skullmaker Level 3

          Hello Dotchuck,


          I click holding "Control" down and I get a menu to select a specific object:



          Or you can right click.


          I hope this helps!

          • 2. Re: Selecting objects below
            dotchuck Level 1

            Thanks for that information. I have found that to be a bit tedious if you have a lot of layers to go through. It does select the object immediately below but when you use the keyboard shortcut for the same action it travels through all the objects over the whole page in level order and not directly those under the mouse.

            • 3. Re: Selecting objects below
              PrepressPro1 Adobe Community Professional

              Back when I worked in Illustrator 8, I had a boss who was a complete Freehand nut. So, seeing I was weak in Freehand, my boss pushed every Freehand job in the shop he could find onto my desk. This made me a lot quicker and better at Freehand. However my skill set had to drop Freehand years ago to survive in the industry. There are many great ways of selecting objects below others, as in the previous example in this thread. There is also clicking the circle on the right side of each layer and sublayer. Clicking the circle in the layer will select everything on the layer. Clicking on the circle on each sublayer selects the individual item. This is not the method I use when picking through a file. I have gotten real good at keyboard shortcuts, which can be easily customized in Illustrator. To select items below others I select the top item and use the Command+3 which is the shortcut to Object>Hide Selection. The other shortcut I use all the time is Command+Option+3 which is Object>Show All. This is just my personal preference of how to get through a lot of objects in a file. If you try this you can get very fast and fluid at these two shortcuts. The best thing about keyboard shortcuts is people who don't use them look at you like you are doing some magic trick.

              • 4. Re: Selecting objects below
                Skullmaker Level 3

                If you want keyboard shortcut try this:


                Option+Command+[   Selects the next back object

                Option+Command+]   Selects the next front object


                I hope this helps!

                • 5. Re: Selecting objects below
                  dotchuck Level 1

                  That was also helpful. I have a document that has hundreds of layers in a group of many similar objects so going through with your method layer method is hit and miss because the list runs of the screen, but this will help me with more organised jobs. I like the option 3 hide shortcut I can use this a lot. When the object is grouped things do not go as I expect. The thing that is frustrating me is that illustrator gives you several ways to do something (arrow heads for example, why is it not just part of the stroke) I get annoyed. I do most of my drawing (charts, graphs, etc) in indesign now if I can.

                  Thank You

                  • 6. Re: Selecting objects below
                    dotchuck Level 1

                    Again I tried this but you cannot place your mouse over an area and go back at just that position through the objects directly below


                    thank you heaps i am learning a lot

                    • 7. Re: Selecting objects below
                      Zeno Bokor Level 6

                      Another option would be to go to Preferences->Selection & Anchor Display and turn on Object Selection by Path Only. That way you have to click on the path of the object to select it (so you can't just click on it's fill) but the advantage is that you can select objects through the fills of the top objects. A small black square will appear on your cursor when you're above a path (or just use Smart Guides) and just click on it to select that object.

                      • 8. Re: Selecting objects below

                        That was a great suggestion and would have helped a lot with the job I was doing. I still think this aspect of illustrator could be improved but you have all helped me solve some of my frustration.