I'm working with an architectural drawing in illustrator (I know, I know). I selected a wall system (a bunch of objects) and then went to Object->Transform->Move.

I then put in the distances I wanted it to move and hit "copy". (I wanted a duplicate of this wall exactly a certain distance away... copy-and-paste forces me to eyeball it)

Either way, after hitting copy, the entire artwork looks like the top image here. I did find that after going to "Outline view" it looks like the below image... so I know, indeed, the drawing is there. I should note that I cannot select anything other than the stuff that shows up 'normally' .. either when it's invisible (in "GPU preview") or when it's in outline mode. (that's right, I can see it in outline mode, but cannot select it). Oddly, I do get various smart guides related to the 'hidden' paths/etc.

My layer is not locked and I don't believe I'm in isolation mode.

How can I get the normal view to come back?

(ps - due to reasons beyond my control, it got 'saved' in this funky state.)

View when using GPU or CPU preview

View when using "outline view"

  • (I have tried the "GPU" and the "CPU" preview options... as well as restarting Illustrator and restarting the entire computer.)
    – lowcrawler
    May 1, 2016 at 1:48
  • 6
    These kinds of architectural drawings usually contain heaps of clipping paths inside clipping paths – if it's not a graphical processing issue, it might be caused by some objects inside a clipping path moving, causing the clipping path to 'corrupt'.
    – Alex
    May 1, 2016 at 23:33
  • 1
    Or there is a filled shape somewhere. release clips and compounds and ungroup (several times) everything first
    – joojaa
    Jul 10, 2016 at 16:52
  • 1
    As @Alex point out.. expand the layer panel and see how many clipping paths or clip groups exist.
    – Scott
    Aug 9, 2016 at 18:40

2 Answers 2


it could be fine working in PDF but you probably should work in AI when in Illustrator. Also as Alex says you should see what the file really contains, by exploring the layers panel and try to clean it up as much as possible.. It could contain much more data and paths that are really visible. For example sometimes objects created in 3D programs imported to 2d programs often contain all paths that would make up the object, but only show one perspective. Say a 'wall' in 3D has 20 paths in X,Y dimensions stacked on top of each other in Z direction, you'd only see the object on top in the 2D program.. If possible try to have the 3D file saved as a DWG or AI file from the 3D program, before import to Ill. If it is a scanned document saved in PDF and then converted to Paths in illustrator there could be a lot of funky paths who perhaps have very much detail in a single point, invisible until you zoom right in on top of it. These things can definitely give Illustrator hick-ups.


Some PDFs generally come inside masks.


Select all and hit ctrl + alt + 7 .

This will release all clipping masks.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.