I have a map (exported from some GIS-program) to a PDF with several thousands sublayers. The problem is that the simplified map layers on top of the layers hierarchy are probably just a smaller proportion of the total number of layers. So I am trying to simplify the document in order to delete the various layers that are not visible. The problem is that the document is really slow (Using a fairly proper basic HP Z workstation with a Quadro card) so I'd like to get some clues how to fast select and delete perhaps 100-500 sublayers at once?

  • Highlight layers/objects in the Layers Panel and drag them to the trash can on the Panel. – Scott Nov 2 '15 at 20:47
  • Is it OK if it takes like 40 minutes or more for the computer to select them? – Teheimar Nov 2 '15 at 21:03
  • You don't need to actually select anything. Just highlight the layers. It should be instantaneous, or practically instant. Highlighting layers in the Layer Panel doesn't actually select the objects on that layer. However, if you remove the layer... all objects on that layer will be removed. – Scott Nov 2 '15 at 21:07
  • Do these layers have anything in common? If they're all the same colour, or have the same stroke or something you can bulk select them that way. – AMontpetit Nov 2 '15 at 21:15
  • Well that's reassuring to hear, however I get the program "hanging itselft" while working in the background". The document has 476076 paths and it say also 76308 open, 339768 closed). I guess it's the closed ones that a "under" the visible layers that I would like to delete since I don't need them. – Teheimar Nov 2 '15 at 21:16

As Scott pointed out, there's a difference between selecting layers and selecting objects. Selecting layers takes up almost no resources, whereas selecting objects does.

In the example below, I've only selected the layer, not the object inside it:

layer selection in Illustrator

And in the following example I've selected the objects in the layer (notice the blue square and the highlight on the artboard):

Object selection in Illustrator

The key to deleting layers without you computer grinding to a halt is thus: select only layers (batch select them with ctrl or shift), then delete them by dragging them to the bin:

Deleting layers in Illustrator

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