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Organize layers in folders

Explorer ,
Jul 09, 2010 Jul 09, 2010

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I'm an interaction designer, and therefore my designs are composed of a multitude of controls, each one with different details. Right now, I'm working on a 141 layer document. It would come in handy to have several layers grouped by UI control, making it much quicker to find and edit what I want.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 09, 2010 Jul 09, 2010

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You can drag any layer into another layer, making it a “child” of that “parent” layer. This is close to folders for layers, except that a layer can contain both objects and child layers. This means expanding that layer in the Layers panel to view the child layers means also seeing all that  layer’s object in the layers panel.


Fortunately you can turn that feature off by changing the Panel Options via the Layers panel’s flyout menu.


Unfortunately that activates a bug that prevents you from dragging an object into a child layer.


Ah, Illustrator. Will you ever not suck?

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Explorer ,
Jul 12, 2010 Jul 12, 2010

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Thanks, Scott!

That works like you say, but not perfectly. Probably that's why I thought this wasn't possible, because now I vaguley recall trying that last year or something.

What I don't like, when I say it doesn't work perfectly, is that when I lock all layers but the "parent layer", with ALT+click, Illustrator REALLY locks everything but the parent layer, meaning the child layers are also locked, which doesn't make any sense at all, because obviouslly, then everything is locked. This can be less of a nuisance for big groups of layers if used the control "unlock all", but you might be unlocking something else you don't want.

So after all, this topic ended being justified, I think 🙂

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Explorer ,
Jul 12, 2010 Jul 12, 2010

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Further proof that this thing is flawed is that if I have a layer with some sublayers (to start using the official terminology) hidden, and then I drag the layer and later toggle the sublayers visibility on, they're still in the first place. The natural thing to happen would be for them to move inside the layer, as naturally, I intended them to be part of that group, in my case, as I stated previoulsy, a UI control.

Oh, and by the way, I can't drag an object into a child layer, independently of that option you mentioned.

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Engaged ,
Jul 12, 2010 Jul 12, 2010

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Wow, I didn't know that invisible objects didn't move with the Parent Layer. That sucks.

At least it doesn't work that way with Groups. Then it would really suck.

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Explorer ,
Jul 13, 2010 Jul 13, 2010

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And maybe provide an option to substitute the "parent layer" thumbnail for a folder icon, to make it easier to identify the groups of layers created by the user?

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Explorer ,
Jul 19, 2010 Jul 19, 2010

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Still finding related things that piss me off! Why does Illustrator expand all the layers when I open a document, even though I had collapsed them all before saving it?

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New Here ,
Sep 21, 2011 Sep 21, 2011

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Actually, that specifically is really pissing me off... I am trying to create a series of relatively complex templates and I go through all the effort of collapsing the layers only to find that when I open the file again 60% of the layers are open.  It seems that main layers open, then sublayers, then the next sublayers but not any layers further than that.   Why on earth I have no idea and if it is going to open layers and sublayers then why not all of them? 

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 26, 2012 Sep 26, 2012

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Has anyone found a solution to preventing the layer folders from opening everytime I open a document?

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New Here ,
May 03, 2023 May 03, 2023

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