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Sometimes, when you're working with very complex documents inside of Illustrator, even the most basic tasks, such as making selections, can seem very difficult. In fact, often, inside of Illustrator, we employ many different techniques to make selections easier. For example, we may toggle into Outline mode, or we may continuously lock and unlock objects, just to make it easier to make selections. Well, in Illustrator CS5, there is a new enhancement that makes it a little bit easier to make selections. In fact, if you're familiar with some other graphics applications, for example, InDesign or even FreeHand, you'll find this enhancement quite welcome.
I'm going to zoom in on some artwork over here. Now normally, inside of Illustrator, when you make a selection, whenever you click on a piece of artwork, the topmost object becomes selected. But sometimes, you want to select artwork that appears beneath other objects, in the stacking order. In order to do that, you either have to be very careful to select the other artwork, which can be difficult if only a small part of that artwork is visible, or you may try locking the object here that's on the top, or you may go into Outline mode so you can see all the paths, but on complex documents, all the paths that appear may be quite confusing.
Let me go back into Preview mode now. The keyboard shortcut for that is Command+Y, or Ctrl+Y on Windows. I'll show you that when you're using the Selection tool inside of Illustrator, you can hold down your Command key and then click. When you do so - again, I'm still holding the Command key down on my keyboard right now. If you're on Windows, you'll be holding down the Ctrl key - a little arrow appears next to your cursor. I'm just going to move my cursor to the right over here, to a white background area, and you can see that little sideways V that appears, or another the arrow, basically, that appears next to my cursor.
This means that my cursor is currently now in Drill Down mode. With the Command key or the Ctrl key still being held on the keyboard, I will now click again. Each time that I successively click with the mouse, it will drill one object down further in the stacking order. This makes it now very easy, inside of Illustrator, to select objects that appear beneath other objects, without employing workarounds, such as locking artwork or going into Outline mode. There actually is a preference to control this. I'll press Command+K, or Ctrl+K on my keyboard to bring up the Preferences dialog box, and I'll navigate directly to the Selection & Anchor Display area.
Here, you'll see a check box called Command Click to Select Objects Behind. If you're on Windows, it would say Ctrl Click to Select Objects Behind. By unchecking this box, I disable that behavior, but with it on, I have the ability, as I showed you before, to hold down my Command key, click to enter the Drill Down mode, and then click consecutively to select other objects in the stacking order. Hopefully, with this enhancement now in Illustrator CS5, you'll find it easier to make selections as you work.
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