Adobe Illustrator

Collapse all layers in Illustrator

by in Projects


Starting with Adobe Illustrator CC 17.1, layers remember open/closed state, making the tool described in this post unnecessary.

How much time have you wasted by collapsing the layers every time you open that 50-layer-Illustrator-file?

Sadly, Illustrator CS5 (Update: CS6 or CC either) can't remember the states of the layers between saves, so every time you open a file, all the layers are expanded, so you have to waste a few good clicks to close them before you are ready for action.

If you don't care at all about this, just stop reading and get back to work!

I was really annoyed by this for a very long time, and I decided to do something about it.

I don't know if you've heard about this, but if you hold the ALT key while you click to expand or collapse a layer, it will do this for all the sub-layers inside. That's great, so that means that all you have to do is put everything in one layer, and then just ALT+click that when you open your file, and you're done.

Sadly, there is a catch, this will not work if the sub-layers are hidden or locked. If you don't usually hide or lock layers, then you're already set: just use ALT+click and you're done.

For the rest of us, I present you my extension, AI Tools v1.0.0, with only one tool - Collapse All.

After installing the extension using the Extension Manager, you will find the Collapse All panel in the Window > Extensions menu. The panel will help you make all the layers visible and unlock them, so you can ALT+click all the top layers to collapse everything.

Here are some layers in a file I just opened:

First click on the (1) Make all visible button, then (2) ALT+click on the top layers to collapse:

Last step, press (3) Restore button to get back to the initial visibility and lock state.

Elapsed time: 5 seconds.

Please note that I actually expanded the top layers again in my previous picture, but without holding ALT this time, so I can show you that all the sub-layers are all nice and hmm... colapsed.

And here is the extension: AiTools-1.0.0.zxp

Currently I have only tested it with Adobe Illustrator CS5 and CS6, but

When I'll get some more free time, I'll create a nice panel for my other script: ai-layers-export.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have any problems (on any topic related to Illustrator missing features).

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