Selecting and Arranging Objects

Group and Expand Objects

Group or Ungroup Objects

Grouping objects lets you combine them into a single piece of design. The created group can be moved, rotated and resized as you could do with a single object. Some other manipulations like adding Fill and Stroke or applying distortion are also possible. This may be useful if your whole design or its part is created out of several primitive objects, and you don't want it to fall apart when you move or rotate it. For example, you can create a keyboard as a number of keys and the body. Then you group them together to have the keyboard as a single unit.

The item in the Layers panel that represents a group is named Group by default. You can click on the triangle near the group name to access the grouped objects.

A group in the Layers panel

A group can include another group and so on. In this case, we say that groups are nested.

To group objects, select them. Then right-click on any of the selected objects and choose Group.

To ungroup, select the group, bring up its context menu, and choose Ungroup.

Expand Objects

The Expand command turns an object into a number of typically more primitive objects. Those objects together look exactly like the original one. This kind of "disassembling" of an object lets you use tools that can work only with the whole object but cannot work with its parts.

The following image shows an arrow with stroke and gradient fill expanded into two objects: an arrow with gradient and the arrow outline. All created objects were manually moved apart for the illustration.

An arrow was expanded into the fill and stroke

The result of expanding is either a group or compound group. After expanding in the example above, the outline and gradient are grouped. This is the most common case.

Compound Group

When a new object should be created as a result of interaction between several objects, the program creates a compound group instead. The compound group consists of the original objects. This means that you are still capable of modifying these objects and therefore updating the result. For example, we created a hole in a shape using the Subtract operation. Now the original objects are inside the compound group, which can be operated mostly like a regular object. But, at the same time, you can reach the original shapes using the Isolation mode or the Layers panel, and change the location or size of the object's body or whole.

Original Shapes
The original shapes
Compound Group
Compound Group created after applying Subtract to shapes