Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
We've already seen how useful the Layers panel can be when identifying where objects appear inside the object hierarchy, and even how to change stacking order within a file without actually having to select the objects themselves. However, it's important to realize that we can do even more things through the Layers panel as well. And in this movie I wanted to discuss actually moving objects between layers, or even copying objects, and copying appearances as well. I'll click on the triangles here to reveal the contents of these layers. Now even when I am using layers inside of a document, it's extremely rare that I would actually create a layer first and then add artwork to that layer.
Usually I work in the opposite direction. I just add a whole bunch of artwork to my document. I just don't want anything to get in the way of my creative process. And then when I kind of step back for a moment and I realize I really need some kind of structure inside of my document, at that time I may go ahead and start creating layers and move artwork into their respective layers. For example, in this case I already have some artwork in my document, inside of this layers 2 file, but I may decide that I want to put all the text elements on their own layer. So right now I have here this Directions text, and I have the MAIN STREET text, and the TRAIN STATION text.
So I'll start by actually creating a new layer. I am going to double-click on that layer, and I'll give it a name. Let's call that one Labels for now. Now if I wanted to select all the text elements, I could go over here on the right side and start clicking over here and holding down the Shift key to do this. But I want to show you yet another way to make selections in a little bit more of an efficient manner. So I'll just click over here to deselect everything, and I'll go up over here to the Select menu inside of Illustrator and I'll choose object. I want to select certain types of objects. Since I want to work with my text objects here, I can choose Select > Object > Text Objects, and now all the text elements in my file become selected.
You'll notice, by the way, that the Hansel & Petal text there was not selected because that text has already being converted to outlines. So it's no longer text, those are actually regular paths. So let's now focus on the little squares that I see on the right side of the Layers panel. Remember that the squares refer to selection, meaning they refer to structure, the paths themselves. If I want to move the structure, I want to move the elements onto a completely different layer, I could simply grab this little square right here and drag it into the Labels layer.
And if I release the mouse, I've now successfully moved those three elements into that Labels layer. So the boxes here don't only serve as a way for me to visualize which layers objects belong to, I can actually drag those objects, or those little boxes, up and down to move them within the object hierarchy-- in this case, from one layer to another. I am going to press Undo for a second here, because maybe I want to keep the text on this layer but I want to create a copy of these elements on the Labels layer. So now I am going to do the same thing. I am going to just click and drag on this little box right here and start to drag upwards, but in doing so, I am going to hold down the Option key on my keyboard.
Option, as you're dragging something on a Mac, will duplicate something, and if you're on Windows, you would hold on the Alt key to perform the same function. I am simply going to hold the Option key and drag now into the Labels layer, and that's now going to not just move the elements, but copy the elements into the Labels layer. Notice, by the way, that when I created a new layer, Illustrator automatically selected a new color, and you can easily see right now that that color now is being shown as well. And I am going to turn off the Labels layer here for a moment, because what we just did was we actually moved some structure around inside of our document.
We physically moved paths from one layer into another. You know, I know that sometimes people will actually, like, select artwork, go to a different layer and then paste. There's really no need to do that all. Simply move those little dots up and down inside of your Layers panel. Alternatively, you can actually hold down the Shift key and select multiple layers. Or if you want to select noncontiguous layers, press the Command--or if you're on Windows, the Ctrl--key to select noncontiguous layers, and then you can move those elements into other layers as well.
But let's say you actually want to move or copy an appearance. We've just has been moving structure now by moving those little squares, but inside of Illustrator you can also move or copy appearances. For example, this Train Tracks looks pretty cool, and maybe I want to use that as a border for something. Like if we take a look at this box here, for example, that indicates the building. Maybe I want to create some other kind of a design, so I may want to actually apply the Train Tracks of this rectangle as well. I can do that pretty easily directly from the Layers panel without even having to select any artwork in my document.
I am going to click on the triangle here to reveal the contents of the Store group, and over here I can see that shape which is called Building. I want to take the appearance that's applied to the train tracks and I actually want to apply that appearance to the building as well. We've already discussed the ways inside of Illustrator like for example, using graphic styles or the Eyedropper tool. But this is yet another method that I can do this. I am simply going to click on the target circle itself, and I'll do this on the Train Tracks object. I'll hold down the Option key--or if you're in Windows, the Alt key--and I'll drag now down onto the building.
You can see now how I have a basic appearance on building, but as I am dragging down I can now apply that filled circle--that meatball, if you will--and now I release the mouse and you can see that the train tracks now appears on that object. I'll press Undo because I really want it to look just like a regular, plain rectangle right now. But you get the point: inside of Illustrator using the Layers panel, I can easily move objects between different layers or between different groups, and I can also use the actual target circles themselves to copy appearances from one object to another.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
117 Video lessons · 43035 Viewers
119 Video lessons · 54352 Viewers
65 Video lessons · 14589 Viewers
113 Video lessons · 82928 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.