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I've a label (which is a bunch of text and image objects) that's been tiled across a sheet manually. Is it possible to edit one copy of the label and have the changes apply to the rest of the copies? I've seen it done in CS5 by double clicking until it reaches a text layer/object but CS4 doesn't seem to behave the same way with double clicks.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are two ways this could have been done that you saw:

Using symbols (best for irregular placement)

  • Instead of just copying, drag the object into the Symbols palette
  • Drag off the symbols palette to create copies
  • Double-click any of them to edit all instances of that symbol at once

Using the 'Transform' effect, Effects > Distort & Transform > Transform... (best for regular patterns)

  • (for a regular grid) Apply a Transform effect with X-1 copies where X is how many you want going across, and as much horizontal spacing as you need (tick 'Preview' so you can adjust the values until they look right)
  • Apply another Transform effect with more copies moved down vertically, creating a grid
  • Double-click into the original to edit all of them at once

It's also possible it was a blend you saw, but they're a bit different - there's two (or more) objects and it fades from one to the other, so double-clicking into one edits that side of the blend.

Either way, you'll need to re-do the tiling, but you'll then be able to re-create it such that editing one edits all of them.

Both have loads of additional options and potential, so play around with them and get to know them. Mulitple Transform effects with rotation and scaling can get really crazy :)

The only way to do this without having previously set it up so that Illustrator knows that the objects are linked is to use something like the Select > Same options to select each element in each object. Select an element using the direct selection (white arrow) or group selection (white arrow with + sign) tools - without double-clicking into isolation mode in this case else it narrows the scope of what will be selected - then use the Select > Same.

Illustrator can't read minds - if you copy an object the normal way, it treats the copies as simply new shapes. It doesn't know to link them back to the original unless you tell it that these copeis are somehow linked back to the original (e.g. by using symbols or effects that create copies dynamically on the fly).

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Symbols, absolutely the way to go. – Scott Oct 17 '12 at 19:21
yeah, symbols(Shortcut key F8), although flash is not so popular nowadays, if you create artwork in illustrator, organize it with symbols when you export to flash it keeps the symbols. that was great back in the days – Flavius Frantz Oct 17 '12 at 20:46

It's not optimal, but right now I save the original as a file of it's own, and "Place" it in a template multiple times.

If you edit the original file, the template will ask if you want to update all the instances.

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