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#32 Defining, Selecting, and Isolating Groups

Because Illustrator documents can become overloaded with paths, it is often useful to group objects. Groups can be resized and rotated. You can edit the stroke and fill of groups. For example, if 30 objects are grouped and you change the fill color of the group, the fill color of every object within the group changes.

To group objects, select them using the Selection or Lasso tool and choose Object > Group. You can nest groups by combining several groups into another group. To ungroup objects, select the group and choose Object > Ungroup.

Selecting and editing elements within a group has always been something of a hassle. Illustrator now makes that process a little more intuitive. With a group selected, click the Isolate Selected Group tool in the Control panel or double-click on the group in the artboard to select it.

With a group isolated, you are prevented from editing any other elements on the page, but you can select any element within the group the way you normally would using the various selection tools.

The "breadcrumbs" beneath the Illustrator tab bar indicate the level of isolation, and you can "back up" through the isolation process by selecting a broader grouping from the set of breadcrumbs (Figure 32).

Figure 32

Figure 32 Isolating a group within a group—the two <Group> breadcrumbs allow backward navigation to a larger group.

You can back out of an isolation mode step by step by using breadcrumbs, or you can immediately leave isolation mode by double-clicking outside the group or by pressing the Escape key.

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