Can Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop record selection history for undo?

Selecting multiple things with "shift" key sometimes lost all selection when "shift" key failed by mistake. So I need to work from start again.

  • Choosing Edit > Undo should undo the last "add to selection" command in almost every Adobe application.
    – Scott
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 23:06
  • @metis "add to selection" is not an undo step in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign or After Effects.
    – Luke
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 5:40
  • @Luke If you "added to selection" then choose Undo.. the addition will be undone. Not certain what you're referring to.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 6:33
  • @metis try actually doing it. What I'm referring to, is when you change your selection (as described by the OP) by shift + clicking another object, undo does not change the selection, but instead undo the last 'action'. This is true for Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects and Photoshop. When you lose your previous selection by mistake, undo does NOT re-select that selection, instead it reverses your last action.
    – Luke
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 23:04
  • @Luke I can't speak to AfterEffects. In Illustrator yes, undo doesn't reselect, but Illustrator is object based so it just takes a shift Click again. However, Undo does work as Iv'e described in Photoshop which is what the question is asking.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 1:35

5 Answers 5


I do not understand what you are referring to.

In Photoshop Undo does indeed change the last selection. If you mistakenly deselect things, undo will reselect them. Basically, all Photoshop's undo does is take 1 step back in History. If that step backwards involves a selection.. it's undone/redone.

enter image description here

In Illustrator after creating a selection you can use the menu item Select > Save Selection and then recall that selection layer via Select > Load Selection. Because Illustrator is object-based not pixel-based, selections won't undo/redo the same way they do in Photoshop. And Illustrator has no "history".

  • I can see how we have misunderstood each other. I have interpreted the OP to say that they cannot deselect or re-select multiple objects (layers for Photoshop), not using the Marquee Tool to select an area. Since they have asked a question about why undo isn't working, I think it's safe to assume that they are trying something that hitting the undo button didn't resolve.
    – Luke
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 23:04

In Illustrator, if your selection is that complex, try using the Layers panel, and/or saving the selection as you add & remove objects so if you lose the selection you can reload the last saved selection rather than start over.

In Photoshop, use QuickMask or even create a new alpha channel. Edits to quickmask/alpha appear in the undo history subject to Ctrl-Z.

  • [[ > Or like user75926 said, make a separate layer for your selction.]] ... Sorry, what I meant was, use the Layers panel to select/deselect objects, rather than shift-clicking them in the artboards. Using the Layers panel to select is much less mouse-error-prone than the selection tools (black & white arrow tools).
    – q23.us
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 19:35

Yes, save your selection often.

In Photoshop go to Select > Save Selection… and set it to replace the old selection each time you save (Replace Channel… see image). Selections are also saved as Channels in the Channels Panel behind Layers and Paths.

In AI you can save the selection, but I did not see an option to replace the previous selection, so you may need to rename it each time you save. Or like user75926 said, make a separate layer for your selction.

This way, if you lose your selection, you can hen Select > Load Selection… to get it back.

enter image description here


A quick solution might be to use the select similar option. Particularly if the object's you're selecting are the same colour.

Edit. This is specifically for illustrator. My suggested work around in photoshop is to use the magic wand tool that would automatically select the colours, save that selection as a mask and then extract each colour from its various layers with a bit of cnp.


Photoshop already does this. Step Backward (Ctrl+Alt+Z) lets you undo multiple changes in the order they occurred. Step Forward (Ctrl+Shift+Z) lets you redo any changes you actually wanted.

I suspect that Illustrator has a similar feature.

  • The undo feature in Photoshop (and Illustrator) does not include selecting or deselecting objects, which is specifically what the question asked for.
    – Luke
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 5:36
  • I can't speak for Illustrator, but this is definitely available in Photoshop for any means of making selections. Undo will undo one history step, but will then target the prior Undo command instead of any previous history steps.
    – nayhem
    Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 20:10

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