Select the objects to be grouped or the group to be ungrouped.
Group and expand objects
- Illustrator User Guide
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Learn how to group and expand objects.
You can group objects and work on them as if they are a single object. You can also expand an object into multiple objects.
Group or ungroup objects
You can combine several objects into a group so that the objects are treated as a single unit. You can then move or transform them 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.
Select either Object > Group or Object > Ungroup.
Grouped objects are stacked in succession on the same layer of the artwork and behind the frontmost object in the group. If you select objects in different layers and then group them, the objects are grouped in the layer of the topmost selected object. Therefore, grouping may change the layering of objects, and their stacking order on a given layer. Groups appear as <Group> items in the Layers panel. You can use the Layers panel to move items in and out of groups.
Groups can also be nested—that is, they can be grouped within other objects or groups to form larger groups.
When you expand an object, you convert its appearance attributes into objects. For example, if you expand a simple object, such as a circle with a solid-color fill and a stroke, both the fill and the stroke become discrete objects. If you expand a more complex artwork, such as an object with a pattern fill, the pattern is divided into the distinct paths that created it.
You typically expand an object when you want to modify the appearance attributes and other properties of specific elements within it. In addition, expanding objects may be helpful when you want to use an object that is native to Illustrator (such as a mesh object) in a different application that doesn’t recognize the object.
Expansion is particularly helpful if you are having difficulty printing transparency effects, 3D objects, patterns, gradients, strokes, blends, flares, envelopes, or symbols.
Select the object.
Select Object > Expand.
If the object has appearance attributes applied to it, Object > Expand is grayed out. In this case, select Object > Expand Appearance and then select Object > Expand.
Set the options for the selected object:
- Object: Expands complex objects, including live blends, envelopes, symbol sets, and flares.
- Fill: Expands fills.
- Stroke: Expands strokes.
- Gradient Mesh: Expands gradients to a single mesh object.
- Specify: Sets the tolerance for color values between color stops. Higher numbers help maintain a smooth color transition. Low numbers can create a more banded appearance.
Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) as you choose Object > Expand to expand a gradient using the settings last entered in the Expand dialog.