How to Use the Selection Tools in Adobe Illustrator

You can use the selection tools in Adobe Illustrator to move, scale, select, rotate, skew, transform, and edit anchor points of an object. 

There are different types of selection tools in Illustrator. What you wish to achieve will determine the one you will use to edit your object.

The selection tools are the primary Illustrator tools you can’t do without at different points while designing. You can hardly create artwork without using the Selection Tool and the Direct Selection Tool. 

Hi, my name is Rita. I have been using Adobe Illustrator for over five years. The Illustrator selection tools have helped me work more efficiently. I like the flexibility of using the Direct Selection Tool to edit anchor points. 

You will enjoy even more flexibility while designing with other selection tools in Adobe Illustrator. In this article, I will show you the different types of selection tools and how to use them. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Selection Tool is the default Illustrator selection tool. You can use it to select an object or groups of objects. Hold the Shift key to maintain the aspect ratio while scaling an object in Illustrator. 
  • You can edit anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool
  • Double-click on a grouped object to enter Isolation Mode. Enabling isolation mode allows you to isolate and edit the elements of the group without ungrouping.
  • Holding down the Alt/Option key lets you deselect objects from your selection.
  • Press Ctrl-click (Command-click on Mac) to toggle the selection of individual design elements.

How to Use the Selection Tool in Adobe Illustrator

You can select objects with the selection tool by clicking on them or clicking on the Artboard and dragging across the elements you want to select. 

Note: All screenshots are from Adobe Illustrator CC Windows Version. Mac and other versions may appear different.

If you want to resize an object, click on it to see the blue bounding box. Click on one of the corners while holding the Shift key to maintain the aspect ratio (ensure equal size proportions).

If you want to rotate a shape, you can also click and drag the anchor point to the direction you want to rotate. 

How to Use the Direct Selection Tool in Adobe Illustrator

The direct selection tool is one of my favorite selection tools. The Direct selection tool helps you to select specific anchor points in the object. 

Simply select the shape using the Direct Selection Tool, click on an anchor point, and move the anchor point handles/curve points to transform the shape. 

How to Use the Group Selection Tool in Adobe Illustrator

The group selection tool helps you save time while working on complex objects. 

You can select a specific object within a group without ungrouping and regrouping them with the group selection tool.

How to Use the Lasso Tool in Adobe Illustrator

The Lasso selection tool works best with multiple objects. With the lasso selection tool, you can select multiple objects by drawing around them (freehand drawing). 

Closing the drawing path selects the objects. You can continue to edit them.

How to Use the Magic Wand Tool in Adobe Illustrator

The magic wand tool is useful when editing groups of objects. That is because it allows you to select objects with similar attributes (color, stroke, or opacity). 

For example, the red circle will also be selected when you click on the red star with the magic wand tool. That is because they are all red (which means they have the same attribute).

How to Select Objects in Isolation Mode

The Isolation Mode is also a way to select an object within a group without affecting others. You can edit an object in isolation mode by double-clicking on the object.

You can deselect by clicking on the artboard to return the object to normal mode.

Final Thoughts

The most common tool you’d be using is the Selection Tool. Then you can use the Direct Selection and the Magic Wand Tools to edit complex objects. 

Knowing the most appropriate selection tool will help you work efficiently. The more you practice using these tools, the better you get and the more you will need to use them.

What’s your favorite selection tool? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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