22 Grouping

Group or ungroup objects

According to the company policy, the objects should be grouped correctly because it might be necessary for the clients and if they want to use separate details, they can’t if some parts of the illustration is not grouped.

Illustrator can group many objects and many small details. Also it is possible to group all the illustration or ungroup it. The important thing is to group on the same layer. You can combine several objects into a group so that the objects are treated as a single unit. You can then move or transform a number of objects without affecting their attributes or relative positions. For example, you might group the objects in a logo design so that you can move and scale the logo as one unit.

Grouped objects are stacked in succession on the same layer of the artwork and behind the frontmost object in the group; therefore, grouping may change the layering of objects and their stacking order on a given layer. If you select objects in different layers and then group them, the objects are grouped in the layer of the topmost selected object.

Groups can also be nested—that is, they can be grouped within other objects or groups to form larger groups. Groups appear as <Group> items in the Layers panel. You can use the Layers panel to move items in and out of groups.


Let’s try to understand the process of the grouping and how it works.

grouping-no_groupGrouping works only with the several lines or objects. For example we have a chair, a table and a bed. Illustrator wants them to be in one group, because it will be used in specific illustration. The example below will show how the object work without group and with the group.

Illustrator have 3 objects. They are all separated and illustrator can move them, but not all of them together. Take a look how the object moves.grouping-group_shift

The certain objects you can move with the selection tool. As you can see above, only one object is selected, because they are not grouped together. For that reason you can move only one.

Now take a look how to group the objects.

grouping-groupPress SHIFT and with the selection tool select all the objects you want to group. Don’t forget to group only objects, that is on the same layer.

The next step, after selecting all the objects is to group them. Right click on the mouse and group the objects.

Now take a closer look to the selected object and how you can drag your grouped forms.grouping-drag_group

Right now it is the only one shape. Illustrator can resize this shape, convert, drag, rotate and many other things to apply.

If the customer wants to change the order of the object or group some different objects, it is always possible to ungroup them.

Just select your one grouped shape and right click on the mouse, ungroup.grouping-ungroup

Grouping the groups

It is also possible to group already grouped objects. For example, we create some kind of illustration and group the objects. Then we want to group that illustration with the other. We don’t want to have some lost details of the illustration, so group in the group is a good away to avoid this. Also it is the best and faster way to reuse elements. Remember we are creating illustrations for non illustrators, with groups, they can use and rehuse and create new illustrations with our elements without knowledge of design or design tools.grouping_car-1

Let’s take a look at the example: Illustrator creates a car, with the door, windows, cabin, wheels and etc.The whole object is grouped in 3 Big Groups. We can take off the wheels or cabin. Cabin has more groups. All the details inside is grouped and we can ungroup them.We can ungroup the cabin and then illustrator can take the part from the car, delete that part, group again and etc.grouping_car-2

Group in the group is a good way to have different objects and keep them together, not to lose some details from the illustration. Also if the car is one group, the other is cabin, wheels, base. Then it is small details of the car. Having this kind of grouping illustrator can easily replace details, delete from the illustration and group again.

  1. Group – all parts of the illustration should be grouped separately (wheel, doors, small details of the illustration should be grouped all together, but separated from the main parts).
  2. Group – one group with the bigger elements should be grouped together.
  3. Group – Group all the elements together to make it as one.

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.


Stack objects: Gruping-arrange.png

Specify where to add new objects in the stacking order

Illustrator stacks successively drawn objects, beginning with the first object drawn.

How objects are stacked determines how they display when they overlap. The stacking order of objects depends on the drawing mode you are using. When a new layer is created in the Draw Normal mode, it is placed right above the active layer and any new objects are drawn at the top of active layer. However, in the Draw Behind mode, when a new layer is created, it is placed right below the active layer and any new objects are drawn behind the selected object (or at the bottom of the active layer if no objects are selected).Gruping-arrange.png

You can change the stacking order (also called the painting order) of objects in your artwork at any time using either the Layers panel or Object > Arrange commands or by Changing the stacking order using the Layers panel or using Commands.

Combine objects

Basically Pathfinder functions involve splitting or uniting objects.grouping-pathfinder-1

Try for example drawing two rectangles that overlap. With Unite the two paths will become one, with Divide they will become three (the overlap becoming a separate object).grouping-pathfinder-2

Minus Front removes the front object from the one behind it – and so on.



  • https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/grouping-expanding
  • objects.htmlhttps://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/stacking
  • objects.htmlhttps://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/combining-objects.html




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