Lets suppose I have 10 objects in the root layer of my project named layer 1. Now lets suppose I quickly want to turn all those object as independent separate layers all at the root level. Is selecting individual object and pressing on collect in new layer the only way? Is there a quick method of selecting all the objects and doing something to turn them all into layers at once?

1 Answer 1


Highlight the top layer you wish to break up, the...

In the Layers Panel Menu ...

Choose Release to Layers (Sequence) or Release to Layers (Build). These will generate a layer for every object on the highlighted layer.

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The difference between the two menu items is the stacking order of the newly created layers.

Sequence creates layers from the bottom up, while Build does the opposite.
(Or vice versa, I can't recall specifically... but that's the gist of the difference.)

From comments:

Here's a link to the Adobe Forums with some possible scripts to add layer naming based upon object names: https://community.adobe.com/t5/illustrator-discussions/turn-selected-ai-sublayers-into-top-level-layers/td-p/1167891#7094511

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    The answer is partially correct. release to layers(build) does not perform the opposite , it instead does something like factorial in mathematics. There is another issue , After a release all the items as layers , the new layers do not get the names of the item , they instead get names in order :layer 2, layer 3, layer 4..... Is there any way to retain the name of objects , the objects are still having their name as being child of the respected layer they got exported to . Jul 6, 2014 at 14:30
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    If you want object names to be layer names, you'll need to look into scripting. There's no built in method for that.
    – Scott
    Jul 6, 2014 at 16:34
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    @Scott I found a script useful for that matter! These are the instructions and an initial version of the script: forums.adobe.com/message/5403725#5403725 This is an improved version of the script: forums.adobe.com/message/7094511#7094511
    – Metafaniel
    Sep 28, 2016 at 21:51
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    Also, it's good to know that you need to select the parent layer to release everything inside to layers, NOT select the stuff inside.
    – konrad
    Sep 28, 2017 at 7:25
  • If it doesn't release properly try and collapse the layer before selecting it and using "Release to Layers (Sequence)"
    – cliffclof
    Aug 30, 2023 at 14:51

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