9 Replies Latest reply on Jun 11, 2010 6:20 AM by PurplePlumUK

    Strategies for fast duplication

    PurplePlumUK Level 1


      Is there anyway at all that anyone has fathomed... to be able to travel up through the layers via the keyboard?


      Ideally, though isolation mode is quite cool... it still feels like a lot of extra clicking and I was really hoping the cmd + alt + [ or ] shortcut would just keep on going down/up through the layers as well as the sublayers. Is it there, but hiding?



        • 1. Re: Strategies for fast duplication
          PurplePlumUK Level 1

          OH I am sorry I've forgotten to change the title to this topic which is bit misleading. It was my original impulse. I wanted to duplicate a set of ungrouped paths to a new layer... all via keyboard commands. It's almost do-able by introducing a custom keyboard command to Select > Object > Same on Layers... but thwarted by the inability to select a new layer created via Cmd + L. Otherwise one could just Cmd + Shift + V (Paste in Place) and carry on. Removing all the double-clicking isolating actions in the process - to me, quite a lot of savings.

          • 2. Re: Strategies for fast duplication
            Larry G. Schneider Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            The easiest way is to make a new layer, then select your objects and with the Opt(Alt) key pressed drag the small square at the right of the layer in the layer panel to the new layer. This should duplicate the objects to the same place but on a new layer.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Strategies for fast duplication
              Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

              The layers panel is powerful but it needs to be revised as the navigational abilities are nowhere to be had.You can not find an object or layer by name you can't use the arrow keys along with another command key to navigate the panel.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Strategies for fast duplication
                PurplePlumUK Level 1


                Thank you Larry.. I'd seen that but it requires a mouse driven action.


                Wade - agreed 100%. Feels to me that there's a lot in Illustrator works against using Layers to organise one's illustration - especially heightened if you've a tight deadline or a fixed fee job in. I actually don't understand why Adobe have included Layers at all in Illustrator if I'm honest. I would ask Adobe: "What is the precise benefit/purpose of Layers in Illustrator, given they are not accessible via the keyboard, especially in relation to sublayers which are accessible via the keyboard using Cmd + Alt + [ or ]?". Why does the keyboard command just identified not simply continue through the whole tree? I cannot help myself but to suspect it's an app developer 'too difficult' answer, because Layers use a different class or a different interface and Sublayers aren't 'real' layers programmatically, but some other thing.... or whatever. I am genuinely curious what their philosophy is related to Layers, in Illustrator specifically.


                I think what makes this frustrating is the "so near yet so far away" element.....

                Method for duplicating ungrouped paths...

                1. Click on path on layer
                  Enter utility keyboard mode - keyboards are for utility, productivity (and text).
                2. Cmd +Alt + Shift + L (custom keyboard shortcut: Select > Object > Same on Layer)
                3. Cmd + C (Copy)
                4. Cmd + L (New Layer)
                5. >>>> !!!! Resort back to slow-mode-mouse to Click on layer (Select layer). Nearly.... sigh.
                6. Cmd + Shift + V (Paste in Place)
                  Exit utility mode and go back into 'creative' mouse focussed activity. Mice are for drawing.
                7. Click - Draw new path to subtract using pathfinder features or whatever, etc, etc, creative stuff...


                I see clicking on the small 'new layer' icon in the Layers panel automatically selects the newly created layer... hum. It would be brilliant if Cmd + L also selected the new layer by default cos that would make the above work perfectly and it would also reduce it to 6 steps not 7. If you're thinking "it's ONLY ONE" extra action... er please step back and reconsider your reaction. Consider how, both in a single complex illustration and in a working lifetime as a fulltime illustration professional, all these one-extra actions are going to be multiplied by...


                Maybe comes across as a bit of a rant... it's not and if taking the time to explain fully is interpreted that way, then that'll be a shame.


                Unless someone has an amazing radical idea or can help me out by pointing out how Ive missed the point, I'll consider this topic closed, cheers :-)


                Message was edited by: BluePlumUK - spelling

                • 5. Re: Strategies for fast duplication
                  PurplePlumUK Level 1

                  Just to say the penny has dropped with what Larry was suggesting... the teeny tiny, **** difficult to select **** little black triangle

                  in combination with the alt/option key will automatically clone a layer's contents when click-dragged. (Perhaps it's my Hi-res screen makes the triangle difficult to select it is so microscopic).


                  One has to have created a new blank layer ready... it doesn't seem to duplicate the layer.... but duplicates the Contents of the Layer, so you're not doing anything with the Layer itself... this odd er... inaccessibility... isolation....(?) of Illustrator's layers is really odd, definitely an oddness about Illustrators layers.


                  I'd still like a way to do this via the keyboard... Illustrator is very Mouse-driven.

                  • 6. Re: Strategies for fast duplication
                    JETalmage Level 6
                    I was really hoping the cmd + alt + [ or ] shortcut would just keep on going down/up through the layers as well as the sublayers.


                    They do. Ctrl-Alt-[ and Ctrl-Alt-] are shortcuts for Next Object Above and Next Object Below; not Next Layer Above/Below. They traverse the entire object stack, not just top level Layers.


                    In your initial post you imply you want to duplicate a subset of objects to a new Layer. Thus, Larry's pointing out to you AltDragging the selection square.


                    But in post 4 you state that you want to duplicate everything on a given Layer to a new Layer. To do that, simply AltDrag the Layer. You don't have to click the "tiny" selection square. (It's not a triangle.) Just mousedown anywhere in the Layer bar and AltDrag. You've got a new Layer with a duplicate of the content of the orginal Layer, and whatever was selected in the original is selected in the copy. Yes, it involves the mouse (egads!), but it does what you say you want in one move.


                    If you, being a 'fulltime illustration professional' (egads!), absolutely must:


                    • do this without the mouse


                    • do this with a subset of an existing Layer or a selection that spans two or more Layers


                    • must avoid (because it involves the mouse) the dedicated single-selection command already provided for just this purpose (Collect In New Layer)...


                    ...then why don't you just record an Action with these steps...:


                    1. Copy
                    2. Deselect
                    3. New Layer (dialog off)
                    4. Paste In Front

                    ...and assign it a keyboard shortcut?



                    • 7. Re: Strategies for fast duplication
                      PurplePlumUK Level 1

                      Hi Jet

                      Thanks, I get the prize today don't I...


                      You are correct. The Cmd+Alt+[ or ] does not stop at the boundary of a layer.... am vaguely curious now as to why it seemed to convince me otherwise earlier in the day, but hey...



                      One of those precision interactions in tandem with me still getting to grips with a new gestural trackpad....

                      A: 1) Mouse-down (or tap-tap-drag) anywhere on the layer

                      and then  2) alt key after in mid-drag.....

                      = ah-ha. Duplicate layer c/w contents


                      B: 1) Alt key

                      then 2) Mouse-down/tap-tap-drag the highlight square...

                      = Same thing... er, kinda.... interesting...


                      C: 1) Alt key

                      then 2)  tap-tap-drag/mouse-down anywhere over the layer (except the little square)

                      = select all the items on all the layers you drag over...


                      Hum.. fuzzy morning beer-heads beware... ehem, not that I was of course, you understand, wat me, noooo.... wish I did have that excuse.


                      I know I'm sounding tedious now... but...I'd still like a 100% keyboard way to do this. There isn't one... it's cool. There's more important things in life, it's all cool, manana-banana. :-)


                      Cheers... thanks again, appreciated.

                      • 8. Re: Strategies for fast duplication
                        JETalmage Level 6
                        I know I'm sounding tedious now...


                        Actually, you're sounding indecipherable.


                        but...I'd still like a 100% keyboard way to do this. There isn't one


                        Re-read my post.



                        • 9. Re: Strategies for fast duplication
                          PurplePlumUK Level 1

                          No worries your original post was shorter... I maybe read it in between you posting it then adding?


                          I just like: How does one? Well, one Cmd x followed by Cmd y - sorted. Have a good day.