I'm working with some objects on some different layers in Illustrator. In the layers panel shows this:

capture of layers panel

The bluish color is the layer I've selected (my_img_2). I'm curious the meaning of the other two colors. The dark gray seems pretty clearly to be, like, not selected at all (IMGS, my_imgs), though maybe that's wrong. The one I'm most curious about it the light gray color, the meaning of which I can't guess at at all. There aren't any missing fonts or linked images there, which was my first guess.

  • I believe I understand the question... the "light gray" highlight (my_img_2) is just the layer that you have highlighted right now. When it is highlighted like this, you can click and drag it above/below other layers in order. Again - no real significance. If you want to select/highlight that layer, you click the circle to the right of the name of the layer. This will then become a blue dot, signifying that layer is selected on your artboard.... I would suggest reading the basics about layers here: helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/layers.html
    – acook712
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


If you are referring to the yellow/violet lines on the left...

The layer highlight colors mean nothing technical at all. They are merely provided so you can visually separate the layers while you are working if you feel you need to.

You can set a group of layers to use Blue, then another group to use red, then another to use green -- this is only so you can look at the Layers Panel and see the colors, that's all.

Not a duplicate but this may help some as well: Script to remove Yellow(or any color) from layers panel?

To change the layer highlight color, just double-click the layer thumbnail in the panel and choose a new color.

If you are referring to the various shades of grey/blue...

The dark grey indicates top layers or sub-layers, not highlighted in the panel.

The lighter grey indicates objects, not highlighted in the panel.

The blueish grey indicates a highlighted layer in the panel.

Note that layer highlighting in the panel has nothing to do with actual objects on the artboard(s). It's only there so you can highlight them and perform operations on several layers, such as moving them in the layer stack or changing their object highlight color.

  • Good and complete answer, nice to see one of these again.
    – Alin
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 18:00

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