Adobe Illustrator CS5 : Understanding the Layers Panel & Setting Layers Panel Options

11/28/2011 5:49:48 PM

Understanding the Layers Panel

With the Layers panel, you can control elements of an Illustrator design by assigning separate layers to each individual object. A top-level layer appears at the top of the Layers panel, which indicates the top of the stacking order. You can create layers and sublayers (nested layers) within a top-level layer. The current layer in the Layers panel appears with a black triangle in the upper right corner of the layer. The circle icon on the right is the target, which you can use to apply and edit appearances. A small square next to the target indicates an object selection. The arrowhead next to a layer thumbnail allows you to expand/collapse a layer group. To access the Layers panel, select the Layers panel or, if the Layers panel is not visible, click the Window menu, and then click Layers.

Show/Hide. Click this icon to show and hide the layer, sublayer, group, or object.

Lock/Unlock. Click this icon to lock or unlock the layer, sublayer, group, or object.

Target. Click this icon to apply or edit appearances for an object or group.

Make/Release Clipping Mask. Click the Lock Transparent Pixels, Lock Image Pixels, Lock Position, or Lock All button.

New Sublayer. Click this button to create a new sublayer in the active document.

New Layer. Click this button to create a new layer in the active document.

Delete Selection. Click this button to delete the active layer.

Layers Options. Click this button to access a menu of layer-specific commands.

Setting Layers Panel Options

Illustrator doesn’t have a lot of options for controlling the Layers panel itself; in fact, there are only a few—changing the size of the layer row and showing or hiding layers by type. You can choose to view the layer row size in a small (12 pixels), medium (20 pixels), or large (32 pixels) size, or you can select a custom size. You can choose to show or hide thumbnails based on type, including Layers, Top Level Only, Groups, and Objects.

Set Layers Panel Options

Select the Layers panel.

Click the Options menu, and then click Panel Options.

Deselect the Show Layers Only check box to show all layers. Select it to show only top-level layers and sublayers.

Click an option for Row Size: Small, Medium, Large, or Other, and then enter a size (12-100 pixels).

Select the check boxes you want for Thumbnails: Layers, Top Level Only, Groups, and Objects.

Click OK.

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