How Do I Use the Magic Wand Tool in Adobe Illustrator?

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The Magic Wand tool in Adobe Illustrator CC is a specialized selection tool that selects all similar objects in a composition. For most users, using the Magic Wand can greatly increase efficiency, as it removes the need to manually select similar objects in a composition.

Using the Magic Wand Tool

(Image: Image courtesy of Adobe.)

To get started, select the Magic Wand from the tools menu. Once the tool is active, left-click the object you want to select. All similar objects will also be selected. As an example, here is an image of three squares: two red and one blue. When you click the left red square with the Magic Wand, the right red square is also automatically selected.

(Image: Image courtesy of Adobe.)

By double-clicking the Magic Wand in the toolbox, you can change the tool's tolerances and selection criteria to fine-tune how the Magic Wand selects objects in your composition.

Setting Fill Color Tolerance

(Image: Image courtesy of Adobe.)

By default, the Magic Wand is set to determine the similarity of objects based on their fill color. You can switch this option on and off by checking or unchecking the Fill Color check box. Fill color refers to the color inside the lines of any object, rather than to the colors of the lines themselves.

The Tolerance drop-down include a slider yo use to set the range of color variance the tool allows during selection. A high tolerance setting causes the tool to select a broad range of color shades, while a low tolerance settings restricts the color shades selected by the tool. Setting the tolerance to 100 opens up the tool's selection capability as wide as possible, while setting the tolerance to 1 restricts it to only the exact color you select.

Setting Stroke Tolerance

(Image: Image courtesy of Adobe.)

The Magic Wand can also be set to select objects based on the strokes used to create them. To select objects based on the color of the strokes, check the Stroke Color check box. To select objects based on the thickness of the line, check the Stroke Weight check box.

As with the Fill Color option, the Stroke Color and Stroke Weight options have tolerance sliders. The Stroke Color tolerance works exactly the same as Fill Color, but it applies to lines instead of fills. Stroke Weight's tolerance is dependent on the thickness of lines in the object: A high tolerance means a greater variety of line thickness, while low tolerance restricts the range to those with a thickness close to the selected object. Setting the tolerance to 1 limits the tool to selecting only lines of the exact thickness.

Setting Opacity Tolerance

(Image: Image courtesy of Adobe.)

The Magic Wand can select objects based on transparency or layer blending mode. To select objects based on opacity or transparency, check the Opacity check box. To select objects based on blending mode, check the Blending Mode check box.

The Opacity mode works with a slider, like other Magic Wand modes: It selects objects based on their transparency, with a high tolerance setting allowing objects with different transparency settings to be included in selection. Setting the tolerance low keeps only objects close in opacity to the clicked object. Setting the tolerance to 1 means only objects that have the same opacity setting are selected.

The Blending Mode option is a little different. Because an object's blending mode is determined with strict preset options, there isn't any tolerance range. Using this mode selects only objects that share the same blending mode.

Mixing and Matching Selection Criteria

When using the Magic Wand, you're not limited to only one selection mode or the other. You can check some or all of the check boxes for each mode and use the tolerance sliders to fine tune the Magic Wand to only select specific types of objects within the composition.

Seeing Magic Wand in Action

See the Magic Wand in action and some of the things you can do with it.

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