I could select the four blue rectangles with just drawing one selection box using the selection tool (V) around them if the green box would not be below it.

However, now I have to click on each blue box to select them individually.

Here is the question :

Is there a way to make the selection tool (V) work such that it only selects objects which it fully encloses ? In that way the green box would not be selected if I only draw the selection rectangle around the four blue boxes but I do not make the selection rectangle large enough to fully enclose the green box itself.

This is the standard way how ZoomNotes does selection on iPad (in case some of you are familiar with that very nice piece of software).

Here are some related and outdated posts but they don't really seem to offer solution.

This forum discussion seems to suggest some complicated scripting solution. Is that the only way to do this simple thing ?

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  • Surely layers would fix the problem? – benteh Apr 18 '14 at 10:12

Just lock the green box, and it will be excluded from selection.

  • I guess that is a workable workaround. – jhegedus Apr 18 '14 at 10:28
  • Select all
  • Shift-Click the green box to deselect it.


  • Select the green box
  • Choose Select > Inverse from the menu


  • Use the Lasso Tool to draw a shape around the blue boxes, not touching the edges of the green box.

There is no mechanism in Illustrator to only select object fully within a cursor/selection drag.


Choose Edit > Preferences > Selection & Anchor Display (Windows) or Illustrator > Preferences > Selection & Anchor Display (Mac OS).

This way you can select what you want beceause it selects the lining.

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