I want to select the circles in the image that are in the bottom left corner. Imagine I have 100 circles, so doing it manually is impractical. Is there a way to select objects using something else than a square marquee?

I tried using the lasso tool, but I can't always grab the four points that make up each circle (the longest diagonal is partially selected). Is there a way to expand a partial selection of a path to select the entire object?


4 Answers 4


Use the Lasso Tool and hold Shift to add to the selection.

Beyond that, you have to click circles or use the Layers Panel to select things. There is no "free select" tool in Illustrator beyond the Lasso or Wand Tools.

  • not the best solution - see my answer
    – Mikhail V
    Feb 20, 2016 at 18:45

Another option would be to rotate the grid of circles 45°, and then draw a normal marquee selection. Selection
This will select a triangular portion of your grid:
You can then make that set of circles a group for future selection, or make whatever adjustments you wanted to them, and then rotate the whole grid back -45°.
By utilizing groups and isolation mode, you should be able to make whatever selection and adjustments you want without affecting any surrounding artwork.

  • You know, that's kind of brilliant
    – nachocab
    Dec 7, 2013 at 16:10

I think there is no direct solution here. I have not used later versions of Illustrator (stopped on CS1) so probably something has changed about it.

Use the Lasso tool. So your complain is that it selects only anchors, not whole objects -- it is a known problem. Here is a trick to make it work:

  1. Select with the lasso - some anchors will not be selected
  2. Press V (switch to Selection tool)
  3. Press Ctrl-C (copy) then Ctrl-V (paste) then Ctrl-Z (undo) and you should get your normally selected objects. Enjoy!

Annother good option: learn scripting and write a script to make any selections you want.


In this particular example, I'd marquee select the bottom left four circles, then shift-marquee select the two stragglers.

  • yeah, the problem is when you have a 100 by 100 grid of circles.
    – nachocab
    Dec 5, 2013 at 2:44
  • 1
    I see what your saying, but it's still the same selection "geometry" if you will. One thing I've found handy is even if you can only partially select a path, hide it. Once I've whisked through my selections and hide them all, just "Show All" to release all your paths, nicely pre selected in one go. So you may not be able to do a really complicated selection in one go, but you can do a bunch of quick simple ones to end up at the same place.
    – TunaMaxx
    Dec 5, 2013 at 23:36

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