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I have found AD to be WAY more intuitive and easy to use than Illustrator or other vector programs, including Sketch. It is such a joy to use that it has become my favorite go-to tool for design and layout. Take the pen tool in the draw persona, for example; it is so darn intuitive and responsive that it almost feels magical. :)

 

However, there is one thing that I have yet to master, and it is driving me bonkers! I'm sure it is a simple thing, once I learn the trick.

 

Let's say I am working on a project that has hundreds of layers, groups and objects, and trying to find a particular object in the layers panel is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I can clearly see the object I am trying to get at on the canvas, but no manner of clicking, double-clicking, triple-clicking, right-clicking, Cmd-clicking, Option-clicking or any combination thereof gets me anywhere. And none of the layers are locked, so I ruled that out.

 

Is it possible to drill down through the layers in the canvas or artboard without going to the layers panel? If so, what is the magic trick?

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2 hours ago, Michael Sheaver said:

I can clearly see the object I am trying to get at on the canvas, but no manner of clicking, double-clicking, triple-clicking, right-clicking, Cmd-clicking, Option-clicking or any combination thereof gets me anywhere. And none of the layers are locked, so I ruled that out.

 

Is it possible to drill down through the layers in the canvas or artboard without going to the layers panel? If so, what is the magic trick?

I'm on Windows, but as far as I know the Mac version works the same way for things like this, so repeated Alt/Option-clicking should cycle through the objects under the cursor.


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Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.3.481 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
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Nope, that does not work for me; it just sits there doing nothing. What tool/mode are you in when you do that? Just to be sure we are on the same page, so to speak, I am in the Draw persona, with the Move tool (V) active, and the artboard highlighted in the Layers panel. At this point, in the context bar, the Lock children option is unchecked, but that does not seem to make a difference.

 

59bd303bf235c_Screenshot1.thumb.png.9f30b82963e4313d4c76840fa6cce83b.png

 

When I Alt-click the element just once, the artboard immediately de-selects in the Layers panel, as you can see here:

 

59bd30654b5c6_Screenshot2.png.5419d372f180ac72b14074b55d0c4ebd.png

 

Subsequent Alt-clicks do not make anything more happen for me.

 

For troubleshooting purposes, I am using the latest version of AD:

 

59bd315116e97_Screenshot3.png.5e19eeca1fcaea7014fe686a975433a5.png

 

And for this demonstration, I am using a copy of the Mac keyboard shortcuts project file, and if you need to see it, let me know and I will upload it.

 

Many thanks!

Edited by Michael Sheaver
Add highlighting for clarity.

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19 minutes ago, Michael Sheaver said:

When I Alt-click the element just once, the artboard immediately de-selects in the Layers panel, as you can see here:

It is not being deselected. (If it was, you would not see any highlight in the Layers panel.) The darker highlight color indicates one of its child layers is selected. You just can't see which one because the Artboard has not been expanded to show its children. If you click the triangle in a circle icon (a.k.a. the disclosure triangle) next to it, you will see the selected layer, which could have child layers of its own.

 

If you right-click on a selection, the last item in the contextual menu that pops up is "Find in Layers Panel," which will automatically expand the Layers panel to show the selected layer, highlighted in the brighter color. There is also a User Interface preference item, "Show Selection in Layers Panel." that automatically does this.


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I had already checked the preference setting before:

 

 

59bd42e2875e8_Screenshot4.png.c78ab0a80cee6d7248731563849b623d.png]

 

Next, following your lead, I went ahead and expanded all of the layers, and the layer did not highlight in the Layers panel, as you can see in this video:

 

Videoshot 1.mp4

Edited by Michael Sheaver
add video

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11 minutes ago, owenr said:

Sorry, but that's wrong. An artboard will continue to have its Layers panel entry dimly lit after all of its child objects have been deselected and nothing in another artboard has been selected. So, the dim highlight does not indicate that something definitely is selected on that artboard. 

Correct, but I am considering that he said, "When I Alt-click the element just once, the artboard immediately de-selects in the Layers panel..." (which is why I quoted that in my reply). So presumably a child layer was selected.


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14 minutes ago, Michael Sheaver said:

Next, following your lead, I went ahead and expanded all of the layers, and the layer did not highlight in the Layers panel, as you can see in this video:

According to your video up to about the 0:04 second mark the artboard itself is selected, but after that nothing is selected (as indicated by "No selection" in the context toolbar). Are you sure you clicked on an object to begin with & not some empty space in the artboard?


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11 minutes ago, R C-R said:

According to your video up to about the 0:04 second mark the artboard itself is selected, but after that nothing is selected (as indicated by "No selection" in the context toolbar). Are you sure you clicked on an object to begin with & not some empty space in the artboard?

Yes, I am absolutely sure. The video did not capture or portray it, but it is at 0:03 that I did the Alt-click, and the the highlight of the layer changed. Then at 0;05, I right-click the alt area, and the resulting context menu pops up. Note that the Find in Layers Panel is greyed out.

 

I do need to step out for a couple hours to run errands, but will check back later. I will also download the latest 1.6 beta and see if I get similar results.

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"Find in Layers Panel" is greyed out because there is no layer selected.


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That did the trick! :) My goodness, that was quite an adventure! Here I was racking my brain, thinking perhaps one of my apps like Alfred, Boom 3D, Magnet, Capto, or Bitkeeper was playing some kind of havoc with the Alt key, and the culprit turned out to be a layer lock! Who would have guessed that? This was definitely a learning experience for me, and thank you. guys for helping me with this!

 

I did notice that after unlocking the Keyboard group, no matter how far in to the alt key zoomed, the Alt-click would alternate between the Keyboard group and the Keys group. Every once in a while, however, if I happened to get the cursor really, really close to the stroke of either the white key itself or one of the characters on the key, it would finally pick it up. But as soon as the cursor moved just a wee bit away from the stroke, even if it was inside the bound of the object, it would not pick it up but go back to alternating between the two enclosing groups. It is kinda fun learning the nuances here.

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Ah yes, that feels so much better! Things do make sense one you understand how they are supposed to work, huh?

 

I am about one-third of the way through the excellent AD Workbook; is there a section in there that covers the nuances of selection like this?

 

Again, many thanks for your patience and support!

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