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I'm frustrated by the fact that attempting to draw a marquee around objects while editing a component exits component editing mode, and thus you end up selecting the whole component, not the child elements you wanted to drag a marquee around.

Use case: you have created a component with multiple objects in it. Now you wish to edit that component, select a number of its child elements and maybe nudge them all a bit to the left by the same amount. To save time (if you have lots of components) rather than SHIFT-clicking them one at a time, you'd like to draw a marquee around some of them to select them.

In most software I'm familiar with, this is done by first double-clicking the component to edit it (this is called "entering isolation mode"). Once you are in "isolation mode", other elements on the canvas that are not children of the element you are editing are ignored (you can't select them) allowing you to focus on the elements within the component. There's always a method to escape isolation mode (like pressing the Escape key or double-clicking on a blank area of the canvas).

But in Figma, the way you exit component edit mode is to (single) click anywhere there's a blank area of the canvas. But this is also how you initiate a marquee-drag operation!

In other words, if you click in an empty space to initiate a marquee drag interaction, you exit isolation mode and therefore can only select the component!

Is there an easy way to force Figma to stay within isolation mode so you can click anywhere on the canvas and initiate a marquee operation? Or change the key binding for exiting isolation mode?

How can you marquee-select child elements within a component?

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  • Hi. I'm not 100% sure I understand what you are asking, however I'll take a guess. When you make a component, it will be stored in your Assets panel. If you need another instance of that component, click and drag it onto your frame from the Assets panel. Then when you edit part of the original component, all the instances will update automatically. See an example here - if this is the functionality you are looking for, I can add it as an answer.
    – Billy Kerr
    May 5, 2023 at 15:34
  • Hi @BillyKerr thanks for the comment. It's not what I was asking so I'm encouraged to refine my question to make it more clear!
    – Tom Auger
    May 8, 2023 at 13:11
  • Thanks for the update. You don't need to be inside the component to make selections inside it though. You can just hold down CTRL before you begin clicking and dragging a selection. It should only select the parts of the component the selection marquee touches.
    – Billy Kerr
    May 8, 2023 at 15:09
  • Thanks @BillyKerr the CTRL (Win) / CMD (Mac) technique addresses my need and has the bonus of not having to first edit the component. I guess what the CTRL modifier key is saying is to ignore the object under the initial mouse click and to select items at the deepest level of the hierarchy. I can see this being TOO granular in some use cases, but certainly meets my current needs! Why don't you submit this as an answer so we can get a proper answer to my question?
    – Tom Auger
    May 12, 2023 at 13:18
  • OK Tom, I've added it now. Glad that worked for you.
    – Billy Kerr
    May 12, 2023 at 18:17

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You don't actually need to be inside the component to make selections inside it. You can just hold down CTRL (Windows) or CMD (Mac) before you begin clicking and dragging a selection. Then, it should only select the parts of the component that the selection marquee touches.

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