Make a Selection in Adobe CS5 Illustrator - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

In Adobe Creative Suite 5 (Adobe CS5) Illustrator the process of making selections has many options supported by the Smart Guide tool. These options include individual or multiple selection, anchor points and the marquee.

Smart guides, turned on by default in Illustrator CS5, can help you make accurate selections. These guides are visible as you’re drawing, they display names such as anchor point and path, and they highlight paths when you’re lined up with endpoints or center points.

If you don’t want to see them, simply choose View→Smart Guides or press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+U (Windows) or Command+U (Mac) to toggle the smart guides off and on.

To work with selections, you need to have something on the page in Illustrator. Follow these steps to make a selection:

  1. Create a new page in Adobe Illustrator. (Any size or profile is okay.)

    Alternatively, you can open an existing illustration if you’re working with an existing illustration.

  2. If you’re starting from a new page, create an object to work with.

    For example, click and hold down the Rectangle tool to select the Star tool. Then click and drag from the upper left to the lower right to create a star shape.

    Exact size doesn’t matter, but make it large enough that you can see it. To start over, choose Edit→Undo or press Ctrl+Z (Windows) or Command+Z (Mac).

    As a default, all shapes start with a black stroke and a white fill. If yours isn’t black and white, press D, which changes the selected object to the default colors.

You can see the width and height of your object while you click and drag. If you don’t want those values to display, choose Edit→Preferences→Smart Guides (Windows) or Illustrator→Preferences→Smart Guides (Mac) and deselect the Measurements Labels check box.

  1. Using the Selection tool, click the object to make sure it’s active.

    All anchor points are solid, indicating that they’re all active. You see, as a default, many additional points you can use to transform your selected object.

    A shape created by a selection tool.
    A shape created by a selection tool.
  2. Click and drag the shape to another location.

    All anchor points travel together.

  3. When you are finished relocating your selection, press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac) to, deactivate your selection.

    You can use one of these three methods:

    • Choose Select→Deselect.

    • Ctrl+click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac) anywhere on the page.

    • Use the key command Ctrl+Shift+A (Windows) or Command+Shift+A (Mac).