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The title says it all, I want to know what the simplest way to export the selected objects. In Inkscape, there is a menu option called export selected which does just this.

The aforementioned option lets you export the selection as a composite image or as a batch of individual images. Both would be nice, but in this scenario I want to export the selected objects as a single image.

I can already create a new document, and paste in the selected items. I am looking for a way that is easier than this.

How can I save / output / export only the objects I currently have selected, to an image file, in Adobe Illustrator CS5?

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I sure miss FreeHand, export-->selected checkbox, done. – user21495 Apr 4 '14 at 20:52

12 Answers 12

up vote 28 down vote accepted

You could use slices.

You could set up artboards for each object. Or just adjust the artboard to fit only the object you want to export and then tick the "clip to artboard" option when saving/exporting.

You could hide everything you don't want to export first:

  • Select All
  • Shift-click the art you want to export
  • Choose Object > Hide from the menu
  • Export (leaving "clip to artbaord" unchecked) You should only see the art not hidden.
  • Choose Object > Show All from the menu.
  • Repeat

You can also utilize the hidden "hide other" shortcut. Select the object you want to save/export and then hit Command-Option-Shift-3 (Mac) or Ctrl-Alt-Shift-3 (Win). This will hide everything which is not selected. Save/Export, then hit Command-Option-3 (Mac) or Ctrl-Alt-3 (Win) to show everything again. Select a new objects and repeat.

Or I often find just copying to a new file faster....

  • Select the artwork you want to export
  • Edit > Copy
  • File > New
  • Edit > Paste
  • Export (leaving "clip to artbaord" unchecked)
  • File > Close (don't save - just tap the d key)
  • Repeat

Do this often enough and it becomes a very fast processes.

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I've been using Illustrator (basically daily) since "Illustrator 88" and you Scott just taught me a new trick. Thank you! You just save me 100 "Select a path, lock it, select all, hide 'em, unlock all" keystroke combos a day. And @Zortkun it does work in CS6, at least for me... – TunaMaxx Nov 29 '13 at 0:45
In response to learning this technique, I've taken to selecting what I want to export and clicking Select > Inverse rather than select all and then selecting what I want – Premier Bromanov Aug 4 '15 at 19:37
If you are using strokes or decimal width/height/pos it will cause export errors; i.e cutting off the bottom of the image. – iLoveUnicorns Jun 25 at 9:16

I just fit the artboard to the objects I want:

  1. Select desired objects.
  2. Object -> Artboards -> Fit to Selected Art
  3. ctrl+alt+shift+s to open the Save for Web dialog.
  4. ctrl+z to undo fit.
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Great answer. This gives purpose for using artboards – blackhawk Oct 1 '14 at 16:49
cmd+alt+shift+s on mac – Andrew Welch Aug 19 '15 at 20:01
Didn't find a quicker way as well – Selrond Mar 3 at 11:10
If you are using strokes or decimal width/height/pos it will cause export errors; i.e cutting off the bottom of the image. – iLoveUnicorns Jun 25 at 9:17

This requires both Illustrator and Photoshop, but is my favorite:

  1. Click to select the object/objects in Illustrator
  2. Do a "File>Copy", Ctrl+C or applekey-C to copy
  3. In Photoshop, do "File>New", Ctrl+N or applekey-N and keep the default options it gives you (exception: you may want to change Background to Transparent)
  4. In Photoshop, do a "File>Paste", ctrl+v or applekey-V.

You will now have just the object/objects by itself (already cropped!), and can Save, Export or Export for Web from there. Not sure if this works on all platforms but it surely does on my macbook air.

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Not the ideal solution, but if you put the selected objects into a layer (either move them or duplicate them to a new layer temporarily), turn off the rest of the layers and export.

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Here is a surprisingly simple trick I recently learned.

Open the AI file with Photoshop (Right click, Open with Adobe Photoshop…)

In the dialog box select the Images button and all the images in your document appear. Select the images you want to open and they will each open in a separate document at the embedded resolution.

Open with Photoshop dialog box

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This is by far the best option! – Kevin Morse Feb 15 at 8:40
Thanks for the thumbs up @KevinMorse. This method to open images from an AI document will always come in handy. – ispaany Feb 16 at 21:29

Not sure what format you're exporting to, but one solution is to turn off the visibility of the objects you don't want to export in the Layers panel, then export.

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Is this different from what John mentioned in the previous answer? – Yisela Apr 18 '13 at 3:31

Easiest way I know is to select the objects you want to export and select then the Artboard Tool from the toolbar. Use this tool to click on the selected objects one by one (you might have to click twice on objects after the first one) and a new artboard will be created for each object.

Then you just have to hit Cmd+E(mac) or Ctrl+E(pc) to export and then simply select the format you want and make sure 'Use Artboards' checkbox is ticked. Each individual image will be exported as an instance of the filename you type according to its artboard number (ie: filename-01, filename-02 etc.). Just bear in mind that this will export everything in the artboard area on all layers, so if you need transparent BGs you will need to hide any BG layers or other layers you don't want to include in the export.

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Better solution: record action in panel Actions (add key for this action - for example F2):

Actions step:

  • select something on artboard (object, two object etc),
  • press Ctrl+C (copy),
  • press Ctrl+N (create new document),
  • select Insert menu item... from Actions panel menu (right corner in Actions panel)
  • select file -> save for web
  • stop recording actions

From now when you press F2, you automatically save for web selected object :)

Ps. This also works in PS

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Easiest I've found - make your selection, file, export, then check the 'selection' box to export only the elements selected.

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Thanks, Jonathan! :)

So I make it this way: Assign a hotkey Ctrl-Alt-Shift-4 to Objects\Fit to Selected Art, and a Ctrl-Shift-E to File\Export This way:

  1. Select object
  2. Press Ctrl-Alt-Shift-3 (to hide all other)
  3. Press Ctrl-Alt-Shift-4 (to fit the artboard)
  4. Press Ctrl-Shift-E (to export)

PS: don't forget to check "Use artboards" on export dialog! And hit Ctrl-Z twice to undo temporary changes.

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Shouldn't this be a comment for the answer of Jonathan!? Or an edit? – Kurt Oct 13 '14 at 10:04

If you are exporting SVGs here is a super easy way:

  1. Copy the shape you wish to export to the clipboard.
  2. Open Terminal
  3. Type pbpaste > someFileName.svg

Your SVG will be ready to go in whatever directory you'd like.

Bonus step

  1. Download SVGO and compress your SVG with svgo someFileName.svg
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The fastest way is to make use of the awesome export features of Sketch.

Way 1: -Select the group in Illustrator -Paste in Sketch (repeat with all the groups you want to export) -Select the groups in Sketch, and click "make exportable" -Export at the resolution you want.

Way 2: -Select the group in Illustrator -Paste in Sketch (repeat with all the groups you want to export) -Select the groups from the levels tab -Drag and drop the desktop or folder.

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