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?

  • 2
    I sure miss FreeHand, export-->selected checkbox, done.
    – user21495
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 20:52

13 Answers 13


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.
  • 2
    cmd+alt+shift+s on mac Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 20:01
  • If you are using strokes or decimal width/height/pos it will cause export errors; i.e cutting off the bottom of the image. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 9:17

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.

  • 2
    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
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 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 Commented Aug 4, 2015 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. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 9:16
  • only if you are using the "clip to artboard" options.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 3:01
  • Second part of the answer worked for my purposes using CS5 Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 17:06

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.


In Illustrator CC 2015.3 (20), Adobe finally added an asset export tool similar to Sketch.

Now you can select any objects, right click and "Export Selection...". If you want to export multiple different selection, you can click "Collect For Export".

In the modal that appears, you can:

  • Give each asset a name.
  • Pick a format for each asset; png, jpg, svg and pdf are supported.
  • For raster formats you can create multiple scaled outputs, e.g. 2x for retina screens. Each exported scale has a configurable suffix.

These configurations are saved so when you edit the objects later, you can re-export everything easily.


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

  • 1
    This is brilliant, easy and should be the accepted answer.
    – f055
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 11:41

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

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.


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.

  • Is this different from what John mentioned in the previous answer?
    – Yisela
    Commented Apr 18, 2013 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.


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


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


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.

  • Shouldn't this be a comment for the answer of Jonathan!? Or an edit?
    – Mensch
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 10:04

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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    – Vincent
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 11:44

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