Selection Tools in illustrator

In this illustrator lesson, I will be talking about the Selection tools in Illustrator at LTY. My name is Lalit Adhikari, let’s get started.

These are four types of selection tools in the toolbar which is a bit similar to the ‘Selection Tools in Photoshop‘. They are named as Selection tool, Direct Selection Tool, Magic Wand Tool and Lasso Tool.

Selection Tools in illustrator

The four types of selection tools in illustrator are as follow:

  1. Selection Tool
  2. Direct Selection Tool
  3. Magic Wand Tool
  4. Lasso Tool
Selection tools in illustrator
Four types of selection tools in illustrator

If you hover your cursor over the toolbar, it will show the name of the tool is and keyboard command shortcut. So for the Selection Tool, it’s V on your keyboard or for the Direct Selection Tool it’s A on your keyboard.

selection tool & direct selection tool
Selection Tool & Direct Selection Tool

The most frequently asked question in Adobe Illustrator is: What is the difference between Selection Tool and Direct Selection Tool? The first difference here is the appearance. The Selection Tool is black in color and the Direct Selection Tool is white in color.

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Selection tool

selection tool in illustrator
Selection Tool

The Selection Tool or Black Arrow, selects the entire object or shape. It is meant to select an object or shape to work with. If you Bounding Box is active then you can transform an object or shape using this tool. Transformation includes scaling up an object or scaling down, rotation and movement etc.

Here, let’s take a look at an example when our Bounding box is inactive:

Suppose you made a square and then chose Selection Tool. When you click on the shape with Selection Tool, you’ll notice that all the anchor points are selected.

all anchor points selected in illustrator
Anchors shown as selected after using Selection Tool

You will not be able to grab any one of the anchor point and transform it. This tool can help you to move your object around the artboard.

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Direct Selection Tool

direct selection tool in illustrator
Direct Selection Tool used on a shape

This tool has an ability to manipulate the different anchor points or parts of the object so that you don’t necessarily have to draw shapes from scratch.

The Direct Selection Tool is a bit different from that. If you select the Direct Selection Tool from the toolbar, it will allow you to manipulate different part of this object.

You can also move the whole object from one place to another like the Selection Tool only when all corner anchor points are selected.

But in order to manipulate the part of the object, you have to click on it once and you will notice that all the different anchor points are now hollow except for that one particular anchor point that is filled or colored.

So, if you click and drag that particular anchor point it will allow you to manipulate that object in any way you want.

In addition, if you hold the shift key and click on another one or more than one anchor point, it will allow you to move those selected anchor points around as needed.

Therefore, it really allows you to create some unique objects from basic shapes.

Once you go ahead and start adding anchor points (by add anchor point tool), you can manipulate those anchor points by the Direct Selection Tool.

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Magic Wand Tool

magic wand tool options in illustrator
Magic Wand Tool Options

Many of you might be familiar with Magic Wand Tool in Adobe Photoshop which is a part of Selection Tools in Photoshop. But as because Illustrator is a Vector based program and Photoshop is a Raster based Pixel program, you’ll also see a few differences with this tool.

To select this tool, you can either come up to the toolbar in the left-hand side of the interface or select it from right under the selection tool (black arrow) or you can also press Y on your keyboard for a shortcut.

The magic wand tool has the ability to select an object with similar traits. It can select objects with similar color, similar stroke weight, stroke color, opacity and blending mode etc.

If you double-click on the magic wand tool, a dialogue box will appear.

  • If you select the ‘fill color’ option and then select any of the objects with a color, let’s say (red), then it’s going to select all the objects that have the similar color of red.
  • Now, if you click on the ‘stroke color’ option and select an object, it will select all of the objects that have similar stroke color that you’ve selected the object with.
  • If you select the option ‘stroke weight’, it’s going to select all the objects that have a similar stroke weight.
  • If you select the ‘opacity’ option, it’s going to select all the objects that have similar opacity. For example, if some shape is at the opacity of 50% and you select it with the magic wand tool then it will automatically select every other shape which is at 50% opacity.
  • And the last option is the ‘Blending Mode’; and in this option, it’s going to select all the objects with the similar blending mode. For example, if you select any shape that is in the ‘multiply’ blend mode then it will select all the shapes that are in ‘multiply’ blend mode that is present in the artboard.

And these are the few options that are available in the ‘Magic Wand Tool’. You can select one of these options or all the options to get a more specific selection.

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Lasso Tool

lasso tool in illustrator
Lasso Tool

The Lasso Tool has the ability to highlight with any object or point that you want to be selected. It’s somewhat similar to the Selection Tool.

The Keyboard shortcut for the lasso tool is Q. By this tool, you will be able to select as many objects as you want. All you have to do is hold down your mouse and outline the area surrounding the object.

Thus, you will be able to select all the objects or you can also select the points that make up the object. 

The advantage of using a lasso tool is that you could select multiple anchor points in one go.

Although you can make selections of multiple anchor point with the direct selection tool too, but you can only able to make a marquee selection in order to get certain points.

But with the lasso tool, you can get more specific points which are not possible with the Direct Selection Tool.

If you are following our Free Illustrator Lessons and Tutorial Guide, then next you should read about, ‘How to Use Width Tool, Warp Tool, Twirl Tool, Pucker Tool, Bloat Tool, Scallop Tool, Crystallize Tool and Wrinkle Tool in illustrator‘.

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Lalit Adhikari
Lalit Adhikari

Lalit Adhikari is the Main Author and Admin at Learn That Yourself. He has work experience of more than 10 years in the field of Multimedia and teaching experience of more than 5 years.

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