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How to select only objects within a selection marquee?

Explorer ,
May 24, 2011

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I am a new user of Illustrator CS5, switching from Freehand. I am trying to find out if there is a way to select only the objects within a selection marquee? In AutoCAD you can make a selection window from left to right and only those objects entirely within the window are selected. If you window from right to left all objects that are "crossed" or touched by the window are selected. Is there a similar technique in Illustrator?

Currently I have to select the objects, then go back and hold the shift key to deselect the object I don't want, or lock layers to prevent extra objects getting selected.

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Correct answer by CarlosCanto | Adobe Community Professional

No

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How to select only objects within a selection marquee?

Explorer ,
May 24, 2011

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I am a new user of Illustrator CS5, switching from Freehand. I am trying to find out if there is a way to select only the objects within a selection marquee? In AutoCAD you can make a selection window from left to right and only those objects entirely within the window are selected. If you window from right to left all objects that are "crossed" or touched by the window are selected. Is there a similar technique in Illustrator?

Currently I have to select the objects, then go back and hold the shift key to deselect the object I don't want, or lock layers to prevent extra objects getting selected.

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Correct answer by CarlosCanto | Adobe Community Professional

No

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 24, 2011

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Try the lasso tool

Picture 6.png

Works better than a marque as you are not limited to only square shapes.

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Explorer ,
May 24, 2011

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I'm new to Illustrator, what does the lasso tool do?

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LEGEND ,
May 24, 2011

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It simply makes selections.

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LEGEND ,
May 24, 2011

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Ngaio9 wrote:

I'm new to Illustrator, what does the lasso tool do?

It doesn't do what you want that would be a good option if there were a way of invoking it with a keyboard toggle.

Th lasso tool does pretty much what one would expect it to do it selects any object or path that falls within the area you outline with the tool on the canvas so if the object is only partially in the area it will be selected.

It would be nice to have a toggle to select only objects that fall completely within the selection area or perhaps even something more sophisticated like settings for that fall within the selected area but only on the current layer or of  certain color fill as well,etc.

Only way to do what you want is to use the layer panel and that can be a bit blind sided. At least that I know of and of course an entirely different process than you desire.

I think this would be a helpful feature but zI would like it as a toggle rather than a change.

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Explorer ,
May 24, 2011

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This might help explain what I am attempting to do. I tried the lasso tool, it still selects anything it touches, not just the objects inside the selection window.

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LEGEND ,
May 24, 2011

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Picture 2.png

Say you want to select just the pink dots and not the blue ones, just drag round them like this with the lasso tool and they'll be selected on mouseup.

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Explorer ,
May 24, 2011

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Yes, a toggle would be the way to go. Maybe in the next version. Thanks, Marie

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Explorer ,
May 24, 2011

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What if the pink dots overlap the blue dots? Here is an illustration of what I am trying to do.

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LEGEND ,
May 24, 2011

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Ain't no picture there. Use the camera thingummy in the reply window to send pictures.

camera.jpg

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LEGEND ,
May 24, 2011

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Marie wants to be able to do this, where the dotted line is your lasso selection.

I think the Lasso Tool would be a better place to put the feature rather than the direct select or the selection tool
as you can define a more random selection. and what would be great is if you could access the lasso tool when using
another tool with command l for the traditional way of selecting and option L for the way marie would also be able to select.

I bet if she visited the scripting forum she might get those guys on it and a script might work.Problem there is keyboard short cuts for scripts do not stick
so you might have to create an action invoking the script and assign keyboard to the action.

It is a very good feature and should be implemented.

Screen shot 2011-05-24 at 9.49.43 PM.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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Hi Wade, I scripted it the way Marie originally wanted it, by defining a "window".

keyboard short cuts for scripts do not stick

I have made a coupe of tutorials on how to run scripts via 2-clicks and shortcut key stroke for Windose. They don't involve programming, so I wonder if there are similar features on the Mac that could do something similar. Hover the mouse over my username to check those out.

drawRectToSelect.PNG

#target Illustrator

//  script.name = selectWithinRect.jsx;

//  script.description = selects all items fully enclosed by a top most Rectangle;

//  script.required = draw the "selection Marquee" Rectangle first before running;

//  script.parent = carlos canto // 5/25/11;

//  script.elegant = false;

var idoc = app.activeDocument;

var topPath = idoc.pathItems[0];

var tpVB = topPath.visibleBounds;

var left = tpVB[0];

var top = tpVB[1];

var right = tpVB[2];

var bottom = tpVB[3];

for (i = 1 ; i<idoc.pageItems.length; i++)

     {

          

          var iart = idoc.pageItems;

          

          if (isPointIn(top,left,bottom,right,iart) == "true")

               {

                    iart.selected = true;

               }

          //alert(isPointIn(top,left,bottom,right,iart));

     }

topPath.remove();

function isPointIn(top,left,bottom,right,iart)

     {

          var vb = iart.visibleBounds;

          ileft = vb[0];

          itop = vb[1];

          iright = vb[2];

          ibottom = vb[3];

          

          if ( ileft>left && itop<top && iright<right && ibottom>bottom)

               return "true";

          else

               return "false";

     }

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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@Carlos: you need Third Party Software on the Mac, but then it's possible. I guess that QuickKeys would work, Spark does as well: http://www.cultofmac.com/cult-of-mac-favorite-spark-mac-os-x-utility/10153

The scripts need to reside in ExtendScript's trusted folder.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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Hi Monika, there it is then, good option.

I've never touched a Mac but I've seen a bar at the bottom with shortcuts? in it.Can you put a shortcut to the trusted scripts folders in there? and if you can, does it act like a menu (like in windows) listing the files in that folder? or it will merely open the folder?

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Explorer ,
May 25, 2011

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Sounds like there are lots of ideas here but I honestly have no idea what

you are all talking about! I use a computer the way I use a car, I don't

know how it works but I know how to make it go. Any "for Dummies"

explanations?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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hahaha good analogy, for starters, does the script do what you wanted to do? based  on the screen shot

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Explorer ,
May 25, 2011

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Yes, that's the idea.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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ok,

- copy the script from previous post

- open Adobe ExtendScript Toolkit

- paste the copied script

- save the script with a meaningful name

to run double click on the script.

if you want to run it from within Illustrator -> File -> Scripts Menu

- save the script here:

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CS5\Presets\en_US\Scripts\

- restart Illustrator

folder path is for Windows...I guess mac would be similar path

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Explorer ,
May 25, 2011

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You lost me with copy the script.

What is a script?

What and where is the Adobe ExtendScript Toolkit

Save what with a meaningful name.

Doubleclick where and on what?

Does this then create a button or keystroke command in Illustrator? Does it

change the actual marquee?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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@Carlos: you mean the "Dock"? You can put links to any folder there. Just drag the trusted folder into the dock and there it is.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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What is a script? - the text below the screen shot, in post 11. It is a sequence of commands Illustrator reads and excutes accordingly.

What and where is the Adobe ExtendScript Toolkit - a program to create/edit scripts. It comes with Illustrator, it should be in the adobe folder neighborhood.

Save what with a meaningful name. - the script

Doubleclick where and on what? - on the saved script

Does this then create a button or keystroke command in Illustrator? - it adds a menu item in Illustrator under, File->Scripts menu

Does it change the actual marquee? - no, you draw the "marque" with the Rectangle Tool

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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got it Monika, thanks, good to know.

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Explorer ,
May 25, 2011

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Ok, got as far as opening the Toolkit and copy pasting the script. Where do

I save it to?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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great!!!!

- save the script here:

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CS5\Presets\en_US\Scripts\

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Explorer ,
May 25, 2011

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Well, did as directed. I'm on a Mac so the toolkit is in Utilities/Adobe

Utilities-CS5/ExtendScript Toolkit/.

Restarted Illustrator, went to File>Scripts> and selected my new script.

Now all I get is a swirly disc for the last 5 minutes and no action. Seem to

have jammed things up good. I can't even get Illustrator to come to the

front so I can try to force quit the program.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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Marie, we've made some progress if it shows in the Illustrator scripts menu, were you able to get it to work?

Monika/Wade, can you test if it works on a Mac please?

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Explorer ,
May 25, 2011

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No, it crashed the program.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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Works fine on my Mac (OSX 10.5.8, AICS4)

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Explorer ,
May 25, 2011

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I've been waiting for this feature since around 1988 or so. In my experience, every application that has a selection lasso or box works in such a way that only the items completely inside the "fence" are selected. This is the way Claris CAD, Freehand, Canvas, VectorWorks, etc. have worked and always worked. Illustrator is the only application I've ever come across where objects are selected, counter-intuitively, by everything the "fence" touches. I chuckle when I see how hard it is to explain the "inside only" concept to those who have only used AI. It's like trying to explain the wheel to people who have been dragging things around all their lives. I've been asking for it on the feature request for as long as there have been feature requests, to no avail. I used Canvas for around 10 years before coming back to AI and I was shocked that the lasso still had the crazy, backwards select-all-it-touches system. Yes, you are correct. It should work the way you expect, capturing only what is completely inside the lasso, but it doesn't. I'm up to CS4 and I think it still doesn't, not even as an option. It is just about the strangest thing in software, but there you go. So many people have used AI and nothing else that they don't notice the backwardness of it and, in fact, get used to it. It just goes to show how adaptable humans are! Other than that, it's a fine application.

MGuilfoile

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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Michael we'll keep waiting another decade, in the meantime, the script does the job.

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Guru ,
May 25, 2011

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Michael Brown12 wrote:

I've been waiting for this feature since around 1988 or so....

You want too much.

I simply want to be able to add and subtract from selection dragging the black arrow but it is not possible because it toggles the selection. I wonder who needs to toggle more than add or subtract.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2011

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hahaha, it's only been what? 23 years of waiting....

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LEGEND ,
May 28, 2011

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This is the way Claris CAD, Freehand, Canvas, VectorWorks, etc. have worked and always worked.

FreeHand (sensibly) provides a tool-specific option for contact-sensitve selection. Double-click the selection tool and choose whether it selects objects merely touched, or only objects fully-enclosed.

Just one tiny part of the general tedium of Illustrator's selection/manipulation interface. Basic stuff that all competing programs do better.

JET

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LEGEND ,
May 28, 2011

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JETalmage wrote:

This is the way Claris CAD, Freehand, Canvas, VectorWorks, etc. have worked and always worked.

FreeHand (sensibly) provides a tool-specific option for contact-sensitve selection. Double-click the selection tool and choose whether it selects objects merely touched, or only objects fully-enclosed.

Just one tiny part of the general tedium of Illustrator's selection/manipulation interface. Basic stuff that all competing programs do better.

JET

I would be opposed t this approach I would rather have a toggle I think preference is fine for a default setting but not as the only way of accessing your preference a toggle is better and I think the current behavior in AI is fine as the default. And to go further the use of the toggle and the setting of the default should be user defined.

that is the toggle should be on by default but the user can turn it off if for some reason.

This is one of the reasons I think the approach like other applications as a reason onto itself is misguide, who cares what other applications do or do not do as part of their mechanism. As long as a feature or an enhancement  or improvement of a feature is well thought out then that is al that counts.

As far as I can tell most users that use Illustrator use by choice by a vast majority changing the functions of Illustrator to match other programs that Illustrator user have rejected doesn't make much sense.

I started out with FreeHand and didn't like it I own a license to Corel's Suite for the Mac and did not like it, besides the fact that it constantly crashed.

I chose Illustrator because I got my work done, it worked for me.

I think the what is rudimental in other programs should be of no concern of Illustrator uses.

The new clipping mask behavior was ill conceived there should be a choice of how one wants the clipping mask feature work. And the same here it would be a very thoughtless act to dump one behavior for another with out thinking of the options and the needs of the vast majority of users.

I writing this here just in case someone from Adobe thinks this is a much requested feature, which it is not, but just in case they should think twice about suggesting the change.

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LEGEND ,
May 28, 2011

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Also also to add it to the lasso tool would make it much more useful then to just the selection tool which is confined to a rectangle selection.

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LEGEND ,
May 29, 2011

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The Contact Sensitive setting in FH is "a toggle" (a checkbox, to be exact). It is not a general preference setting. If you really had even a working familiarity with FH, you'd know that.

You need to loose your over-sensitive adversion to any mention of FH. Adobe now OWNS FreeHand. Therefore, it does not have to worry about any copyright infringement when copying interface features from FH.

And I have never said that every FH advantage (of which there are many) should necessarily be implemented exactly as it is in FH. The functionality is what's needed. But even when trying to do that, the results fall short because Illustrator is continually hindered by its stubborn adherance to more basic inferior interface schemes upon which the new functionality is dependent. Examples include the inferior (and decades-late) implementations of aligning anchorPoints, cutting multiple anchorPoints, and extension/retraction of handles.

JET

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LEGEND ,
May 29, 2011

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Try this again.

You miss the point.

I would elaborate but do not see the point of that.

Good luck with your quest to bring FH back from the grave.

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LEGEND ,
May 29, 2011

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Do not misquote me. (And you know you are.)

As you well know, I am not among those wanting to form a "movement" to resurrect FreeHand. I have always been very clear about that:

FreeHand's development always outpaced Illustrator's throughout their competitive history. So did its interface elegance, accuracy, and useability. That's just fact. That does not mean FreeHand was perfect. It was just better than Illustrator throughout the time they were being competitively developed in parallel.

It has always made perfect sense to compare FH and AI; they were direct competitors. Today, it makes even more sense, given that Adobe owns them both. FH is now an Adobe product. Pointing out that long-needed functionality already exists in FH at least proves that it has been done, that it's therefore doable, that its interface has already been worked out, and that Adobe has full rights to do it without worrying about copyright infringement.

So no, I do not favor "bringing FH back from the grave." Something better than both AI and FH is long overdue in this market. But I will continue to compare to FH whenever I feel like it.

(Again-you very well know this. For some reason, you just seem compelled to jump in with an emotional AI-defensive knee-jerk reaction and thinly-veiled personal attack any time I mention it. Why don't you react similarly whenever anyone compares AI functionality to another Adobe app, like InDesign? No, you're carrying some chip on your shoulder about me in particular, and frankly I'm tired of your constant derision. You follow me around like a little attention-starved puppy.)

But the category of mainstream 2D vector drawing programs is in the lethargic doldrums, because of Illustrator's market domination, and its eternal snail's-pace development. All other graphics software categories have left it in the primordial dust. The most common (in other programs) features and interface improvements are still missing in Illustrator. How long did it take for AI to understand "Page 2"? (As you know, I can cite many other common functions which appeared in FH years--sometimes decades--before they appeared in AI.) How long has the ability to override AI's contact-sensitive selection mode been needed in AI?

JET

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Engaged ,
Aug 30, 2012

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i tried installing the script but the script deletes my objects one by one. for example if i make 3 rectangles. and  run the script then each rectangle gets deleted everytime i hit the run script in the file menu. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 30, 2012

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... and  run the script then each rectangle gets deleted everytime i hit the run script in the file menu.

hmmm....do you see a behaviour pattern there? if you need to keep those 3 rectangles why not....hrmm... draw a fourth rectangle and try again?

read the script instructions carefully.

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Engaged ,
Aug 30, 2012

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CarlosCanto wrote:

... and  run the script then each rectangle gets deleted everytime i hit the run script in the file menu.

hmmm....do you see a behaviour pattern there? if you need to keep those 3 rectangles why not....hrmm... draw a fourth rectangle and try again?

read the script instructions carefully.

i copied pasted the script again, then ran it. it works now. maybe i didn't copy the whole script or something. thanks for replying

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Engaged ,
Aug 31, 2012

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Something better than both AI and FH is long overdue in this market.

The above sentance is probably the VERY BEST I have ever read regarding The Great Freehand vs. Illustrator Debate!

(Again-you very well know this. For some reason, you just seem compelled to jump in with an emotional AI-defensive knee-jerk reaction and thinly-veiled personal attack any time I mention it. Why don't you react similarly whenever anyone compares AI functionality to another Adobe app, like InDesign? No, you're carrying some chip on your shoulder about me in particular, and frankly I'm tired of your constant derision. You follow me around like a little attention-starved puppy.)

He's lonely (as always) and looking for attention. You're just feeding him by giving him tasty bones.

But the category of mainstream 2D vector drawing programs is in the lethargic doldrums, because of Illustrator's market domination, and its eternal snail's-pace development. All other graphics software categories have left it in the primordial dust. The most common (in other programs) features and interface improvements are still missing in Illustrator. How long did it take for AI to understand "Page 2"? (As you know, I can cite many other common functions which appeared in FH years--sometimes decades--before they appeared in AI.) How long has the ability to override AI's contact-sensitive selection mode been needed in AI?

+1 (Thousand!) = nailed it!

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Explorer ,
Sep 04, 2012

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OK folks, back to the original question, is there a way to select only the objects contained within a selection marquee. A lot of the answers submitted offer complicated, multi-step processes to what should be a very simple need. Drag the window to the right to select only the objects within the marquee, drag the window to the left to select any objects touched by the marquee. Click, drag, release. Ta dah!

So based on this discussion I am guessing that the answer to my original question is no. So maybe the developers will consider adding this feature to future updates.

I am always impressed by users inventiveness in getting around roadblocks in programs and bending them to their will. And I am always flumoxed by developers who load programs with minutely detailed tools but overlook the obvious in offering simple productive tools for frequent tasks.

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Engaged ,
Sep 04, 2012

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OK folks, back to the original question, is there a way to select only the objects contained within a selection marquee. A lot of the answers submitted offer complicated, multi-step processes to what should be a very simple need. Drag the window to the right to select only the objects within the marquee, drag the window to the left to select any objects touched by the marquee. Click, drag, release. Ta dah!

So based on this discussion I am guessing that the answer to my original question is no. So maybe the developers will consider adding this feature to future updates.

I am always impressed by users inventiveness in getting around roadblocks in programs and bending them to their will. And I am always flumoxed by developers who load programs with minutely detailed tools but overlook the obvious in offering simple productive tools for frequent tasks.

What do you want for an answer, because it has been stated many times above: NO! There currently is no way to only select objects that the Marquis surrounds, without picking up objects on the outside of the Marquis.... without a script that is.

Don't bother asking for it as a feature either, becuase there has never been a "decent" request that has ever been added by Adobe when it comes to their selection tools.

Besides, I hear they will be integrating video editing in Illustrator CS7, and that's taking a lot of their valuable time and expertise s/

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 04, 2012

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DocPixel-BMW wrote:

Besides, I hear they will be integrating video editing in Illustrator CS7, and that's taking a lot of their valuable time and expertise s/

hahaha, that's a good one, last time's excuse was, what was it? ah yeah, the famous user interface that was "re-written" from the ground up...so for CS7 they would dedicate all their efforts to work on what's really important.

...oh, I'll attempt to answer the OP in my next post.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 04, 2012

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No

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Enthusiast ,
Nov 28, 2018

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People aren't asking for the feature because other applications have it, Wade. They're asking for it because the product is a pain in the áss to use without it.

We're citing other products (and JET forgot Corel Draw) as evidence that the need for this feature is widely recognized by just about everyone but Adobe.

So, to answer your question of "who cares," I say, "quite a few people."  If you don't, then log off and go about your business. Nobody here is requesting that your pet selection method be abolished, destroying your world forever.

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LEGEND ,
May 29, 2011

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The fact that there is no option to turn off AI's contact-sensitive selection is just part of the problem.

One of the many inconsistencies in Illustrator's tool-glutted but still inadequate selection interface is that the white pointer can be made to select all of the anchors of the paths touched by its rectangular marquee by holding a momentary modifier key (Alt). But that doesn't work with the Lasso. (In other words, in AI's multi-tool interface scheme, there is no "Group Lasso" tool.)

As a workaround for both situations, I hacked out a pair of scripts a few years ago. Applied after making a marquee selection with either the white pointer or the Lasso, one script deselects partially-selected paths; the other selects the rest of partially-selected paths.

The two scripts can be found here.

JET

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New Here ,
Oct 25, 2019

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Now, years later, the link is dead... any chance, to get those scripts somewhere and will they work with actual Illustrator CC2019?

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 01, 2011

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The sad fact is that this design defect renders Illustrator unusable for many people.  I run Corel Draw under Fusion or Boot Camp simply because Illustrator's selection mechanism is inexcusably incompetent.

Scripts, while appreciated, are not a viable workaround because (last I heard) they can't persistently be assigned to a hotkey (another WTF defect in Illustrator).  And even if they could, why should users have to continually tap keys or run a script after every selection attempt?

The failure to address this defect is a big "screw you" from Adobe to its customers.

When you combine this with Photoshop's lack of a "paste as new image" command, you have a picture of Adobe as a company out of touch with the most common tasks people do with their products.  But people put up with it because these shoddy products are entrenched and no one is going to spend years of development time to create a viable alternative.

One of the several other threads on this problem has been running for years:

http://forums.adobe.com/message/3831695#3831695

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