How to Use the Adobe Illustrator Selection Tool

01
of 08

Introduction

The Illustrator selection tool is for selecting objects in your layouts, such as shapes and blocks of type. Once selected, you can use the tool to move, transform, or apply any number of filters or effects to the selected objects. Basically, the selected object is the one you are currently “working on.”

02
of 08

Open or Create a New File

To practice using the selection tool, create a new Illustrator file. You can also open an existing file if you already have one that has elements or objects on the stage. To create a new document, select File > New in the Illustrator menus or hit ​Apple-n (Mac) or Control-n (PC). In the “New Document” dialog box that will pop up, click ok. Any size and document type will do.

03
of 08

Create Objects

In order to use the selection tool, create two objects on the canvas. (If you are using an existing document, skip this step.) Select a shape tool such as the “rectangle tool” and click and drag on the stage to create a shape. Next, select the “type tool,” click on the stage, and type anything to create a text object. Now that there are some objects on the stage, there is something to select with the selection tool.

04
of 08

Choose the Selection Tool

The selection tool
Select the selection tool.

Choose the selection tool, which is the first tool in the Illustrator toolbar. You can also use the keyboard shortcut “V” to automatically select the tool. The cursor will change to a black arrow.

05
of 08

Select and Move an Object

A selected object.

Select any object in your layout by clicking it. A bounding box will surround the object. Notice the cursor changes when hovering over a selected object. To move the object, click and drag it to anywhere on the stage. Once an object is selected, any colors or effects applied will only affect the selected object.

06
of 08

Resize an Object

The cursor changes to resize an object.

To resize a selected object, select any of the white squares in the corner or along the sides of the bounding box. Notice the cursor changes to a double arrow. Click and drag the square to resize the object. To resize an object while keeping its proportions the same, hold down the shift key while dragging one of the corner squares. This is useful when resizing text, as it is often not a good idea to stretch or squish type.

07
of 08

Rotate an Object

The cursor changes to rotate an object.

To rotate the object, position the cursor just outside one of the corner squares until the cursor changes to a curved double arrow. Click and drag to rotate the object. Hold down the shift key to rotate it at 45-degree intervals.

08
of 08

Select Multiple Objects

Two objects selected.

To select (or deselect) more than one object, hold down the shift key while clicking on any number of shapes, type, or other objects on the stage. Another option is to click on an empty part of your layout and drag a box around multiple objects. The bounding box will now surround all of the objects. You can now move, transform or rotate the objects together. As with one object, the group of selected objects will be affected by color and filter changes.