I thought I used to be able to do this, maybe I am losing my mind.

Here are the steps to what I'm trying to accomplish: (Adobe Illustrator CS6)

  • Create a couple of shapes.(Shapes A)
  • Fill the shapes with a color, and then group them.
  • Create another shape and fill it with a different color.(Shape B)
  • Select group of Shapes A, use the eyedropper to select the color of Shape B.
  • The color of Shapes A won't change.

This also doesn't work if you use the Appearance or Swatches window to change the color.

I know about global swatches, isolation mode, recolor artwork, and some other methods. But, I thought I used to be able to change the color of group objects just by using the eyedropper tool - and that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. Did I possibly hit some sort of option that changed this? Am I going crazy?

1 Answer 1


With the Appearance Panel updates, groups can have multiple fills which are wholly independent of object fills.

If you want to fill a shape, or shapes, within a group by using the Eyedropper on a shape not within a group, you have to select the group shape with the Direct Selection Tool (white arrow) in order to access the object fill rather than the group fill. Selecting the entire Group won't work, as you've discovered.

Groups can not have a fill applied by simply "eyedropping" a non-grouped item. You could ungroup Shapes A, use the Eyedropper, then re-group Shapes A. This would allow access to the object-level fills rather than the group-level fill.

Now, if you have Group A with a fill applied to the group and Group B with a fill applied to the group, you can "eyedrop" between groups.

It's a bit convoluted but you get the hang of it after doing it a few times.

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