When creating complex artwork, it’s a challenge to keep track of all the items in your document window. Small items get hidden under larger items, and selecting artwork becomes difficult. This is why many microstock contributors choose to use Layers to better organize their files.

Layers provide a way to manage all the items that make up your artwork. Think of layers as clear folders that contain artwork. If you reshuffle the folders, you change the stacking order of the items in your artwork. You can move items between folders and create subfolders within folders.

The structure of layers in your document is dependent on how the contributor chose to construct their file. If you don’t like how the file is organized, you can easily create your own layers and move items into them, or move elements from one layer to another at any time. The Layers panel provides an easy way to select, hide, lock, and change the appearance attributes of artwork.

Use the Layers panel (Window > Layers) to list, organize, and edit the objects in a document. You can create new layers and rearrange items to best suit your needs. To delete a layer, simply click to select it and then click on the trash can icon on the bottom right. Alternately, you can click on the drop-down menu on the top right hand side of the palette and choose ‘Delete “Layer Name”’.

You can turn layers on and off by clicking the little ‘eye’ icon on the left of the Layers palette. You can also add layers by clicking the drop down menu on the top right of the Layers Palette and choosing ‘New Layer’.

You can also choose to duplicate existing layers, along with all the vector objects on these layers, by chosing ‘Duplicate “Layer Name”’.

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For more detailed information on how to use the Layers palette, check out the Adobe Illustrator Support website, which has a series of excellent in-depth video tutorials.