I opened a PDF file in illustrator, and I noticed that it only created objects for some of the cells, example


I tried using using a trace, but I cannot seem to select the problem cells. How can I get Illustrator to recognize the remaining cells?

  • can you post a sample file? Most likely you need to ungroup a bunch of groups.
    – joojaa
    Aug 3, 2014 at 9:33
  • @joojaa copy.com/cZXkOqAAJSJJ
    – Zombo
    Aug 3, 2014 at 15:37

2 Answers 2


There are no cells in a PDF file, just graphics objects.

What you see is not a cell but a background color square. The original file has added white color labels to some of the items yes. It seems to be that they have set a white background while others have not. This is not an error in illustrator but jus something the original author did. You can simply not select what is not there.

Its a bit unclear what you expect The cells to do. They are just white colored squares. These cells have no bearing for the text or any other element they just sit behind the other elements. To view this choose View → Show Transparency Grid or hit ctrl+shift+D.

If you need to fill the background of a cell with a different color then i would:

  1. Select one cell line.
  2. From the menus Select → Same → Appearance
  3. use the live paintbucket tool (keyboard shortcut K) to fill individual cells with whatever color you want.
  4. Expand the elements and move behind text (or move text in front of the grid.)

Or just draw the squares manually.

  • I was able to streamline this by clicking Magic Wand on cell line, otherwise excellent!
    – Zombo
    Aug 5, 2014 at 8:23

The reason for this is: there simply are no cells! You can hit cmd/ctrl+y to see the actual paths.

path view


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