Illustrator: toolbar’s selection tool vs outline mode

Hello there!

today I am working on Illustrator focusing on selections, and the difference between the selection tool and the outline mode.

As you surely know, the selection tool is the tool to use when you want to select an object. You left-click on your object after you have chosen the selection tool in the toolbar (the black arrow pointing at north-west). The selection tool will mark the object for you. The object marked will be framed inside a box too. This box has very important functions, using the extremities of the box you can e.g. scale or rotate the content.

While working with a single object on your board it is quite handy to use the selection tool.

In case you are working with a lot of objects, although, you might need something else. Depending on the work you are going to create, probably you might need extra help. Typically it might be the case when you work with multiple objects. It can be quite confusing when objects overlap each other, and in these cases, we have our helping friend.

Illustrator has the Outline mode (cmd+y on MAC or ctrl+y on PC) to help us with our selections, a tool I am learning to enjoy more and more. Although, the way that this tool performs is not exactly the same as the selection tool.

This is a good alternative for me to mark a path:

1) when having different objects overlapping, and/or effects have been used on them, as I might turn unsure as to what is what
2) when on a very complex design my need is to focus on a specific shape/object and I can’t focus on it

When you choose the outline mode, as the name says, you are focusing on the path, you are marking the outline. The border of the silhouette, the contour of your object. One of the differences that you will notice right away is that the colors, if your objects are colored, will disappear, and only the black skeleton of the object will show. Although the look is a bit different, the tool is as precise as a tool can be, and is doing exactly the job it is asked to do: isolate the outlines and give them to you.

So, when working with multiple objects in case the need is to mark a specific path and I feel unsure as to what is what, the outline mode uses to serve me well.

That was my tip of the day, keep on staying creative and I’ll catch ya on the b-side!


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