I work with very large documents with over 50 art boards. Towards the end of my illustration process I typically add a raster effect to everything in my Illustrator document.

Sometimes I run into a situation where I later need to remove the effect or change the effect settings. I haven't found a good way to do this. Whereas I could select all the objects and apply the effect all at once, I can't seem to select all objects and remove the effect all at once, because they all have different appearance attributes.

What I would love is to be able to do what you can do in Photoshop, which is to use a smart layer effect, which is editable and togglable at any time with just a click; in Illustrator, however, it seems like I'm applying 100 separate instances of the effect (f there are 100 objects in my document), rather than one unified affect across the whole layer.

Is there a way to do what I'm trying to do?

1 Answer 1


a possible easy way (but be careful) .....

Select one object with the effect applied.

Highlight the effect in the Appearance Panel.

From the menu, choose Select > Same > Appearance Attribute

From the Appearance Panel menu, choose Reduce to Basic Appearance

This will, in effect, remove everything other than the fill and stroke for the selected objects. So, if you have custom opacity settings or other effects on the objects, it will remove those as well. This is why I posted be careful. This is not always an ideal solution and it greatly depends on what the overall appearance options are for each individual object.

Unfortunately, once you get these objects selected this way, there's no function or feature to just remove the common effect easily. (Why, I don't know)

A global workflow which may prove easier in the future....

This somewhat depends on the file structure. Let's hope you've utilized Layers well. If not, you may need to restructure layers accordingly. Artboards won't be effected by this at all. There's no way to apply appearance settings to a specific artboard (which there were).

If you have a file with many layers:


Note, each rectangle is on its own layer.

You can then highlight all the layers in the Layer Panel and choose Collect in New Layer from the Layer Panel menu:


This create one master layer with all your existing layers as sub-layers.

You can then click the target on the right of the new master layer (the little circle) which will select the Layer itself.


Note the change in the Appearance panel. It indicates a Layer is selected.


Now, add your raster effect. It will be applied to all contents of the master layer. Note the grey filled circle to the right of the layer name in the Layer Panel now (often referred to as a "meatball"). This indicates an appearance has been applied to the layer itself.


If you need to alter individual objects, you still can by selecting them and editing.


If you need to remove the raster effect, simply click the master layer target again, you'll see the raster effect in the Appearance Panel, and just delete the effect from the layer's appearance.

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