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Taking Advantage of Layer Strategies in Adobe Illustrator CS5

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Whether you want to create multiple versions of a single object or you're building incredibly complex artwork, layers can be very helpful for controlling and keeping track of your Illustrator art objects and documents. Brian Wood, contributor to Adobe Illustrator CS5 Classroom in a Book, demonstrates strategies for making layers really useful.

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Merging Layers

Merging Layers

To cut down on the number of layers and keep yourself sane, sometimes it will be necessary to merge layers. Keeping layers to a bare minimum (whatever that means to you) can be helpful later. For instance, suppose you have a series of buttons on a layer and you realize that, due to the large volume of other content on the layer, the buttons should be merged into a single sublayer. Here's how you do that:

  1. Shift-click the sublayers (or layers) in the Layers panel to select them. It's not enough to select the content on the artboard! If you have sublayers (or layers) that are not next to each other, you can Ctrl-click (Windows) or Cmd-click (Mac) to select disparate sublayers or layers.
  2. Choose Merge Selected from the Layers panel menu (see Figure 6). Typically sublayers or layers are merged in a certain hierarchy. Merging multiple sublayers or layers will combine them in the last selected sublayer or layer. Merging sublayers and either <Path>s or <Group>s will merge into the sublayers or layers.

Figure 6 Merging content in the Layers panel.

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