Before you can update any properties associated with an object or layer, you will need to select it. We’ll cover all the basics for selecting objects, as well as some lesser known tips and tricks.
Select individual layers
You can select layers in the canvas itself, or from the Layers Panel. Click on an object in the canvas to select it.
Select nested layers
If you’re working on more complex designs, you may have objects nested within groups or frames.
We refer to nested objects as children, and the Frames or Groups that they nest within as parents. Learn more about parent, child and sibling relationships.
When you click on an object that is part of a group or frame, we’ll select the parent by default.
Double-click on the object – or press the enter key – to select one level of nesting down. Repeat this process until you select the correct child elements.
If there are many levels of nesting, you can use Deep select to select a nested child layer. Hold down the modifier key to select a nested layer or object.
- macOS: ⌘
- Windows: Ctrl
Select layer menu
We have a couple of different ways to select nested objects. The Select Layer menu allows you to choose which specific you’d like to select, in the canvas.
- Right-click to open the context menu:
- Hover over the Select layer option.
- Select a layer from a list of layers underneath the cursor’s location. We show the layer name and icon in the same order as the Layers panel.
Tip! Move between nested objects using the keyboard shortcuts:
- Select Child enter
- Select Parent shift enter
- Select Next Sibling tab
- Select Previous Sibling shift tab
Every object in the canvas will have a corresponding layer in the Layers Panel.
Click the Layers tab in the left sidebar to open the layers panel. Or, use the keyboard shortcut:
- MacOS: Option 1
- Windows: Ctrl 1
If you hover over the layer in the panel, a blue box will highlight that layer’s location on the Canvas.
Click on the layer name in the layers panel to select it.
If there are any Frames or Groups on the canvas, we will nest the child objects within the parent. Click the arrow next to a Frame, Group, or Component to view any child layers.
Can’t see the layer highlight on hover? Adjust your preferences in the menu: select Preferences > Highlight on hover.
Select multiple layers
You can also select more than one object or layer at a time.
This is great when you want to:
- Update a property across more than one layer
- Resize layers in bulk
- Move a collection of objects
- Create a Group, Frame, or Component from the selection
Note: When you select more than one layer, you can access Selection Colors in the Properties Panel. This allows you to update individual Fills, Styles and Strokes in a mixed selection. Learn more in our View and adjust colors in a mixed selection article.
- Select an object in the Canvas.
- Hold down the Shift key and click on another object.
- This will allow you to select as many objects as you like.
Tip! Click an object a second time while holding Shift to remove it from the current selection.
The marquee tool allows you to select all objects in a specific area of the canvas.
- Click and hold on a empty part of the canvas.
- Drag the cursor across any objects you’d like to select.
- A blue box will appear around each object are in the selection.
- To select nested layers, hold down the modifier key and drag the marquee across the objects:
- Mac: ⌘
- Windows: Ctrl
- To remove an object from the selection, hold down the Shift key and click on the object.
Note: It’s possible to select nested objects without selecting the parent object. This is something to be mindful of, especially when selecting objects to move them! When you select a parent object, this also selects any child objects. This allows you to move everything at once.
Select multiple layers in the Layers Panel
When you select layers in the Layers Panel, there are some different rules:
To select every layers between two layers:
- Click on the first layer to select
- Hold down the Shift key
- Select the last layer.
- Figma will select every layer between those two layers in the Layers Panel.
To select individual layers:
- Click on the first layer to select
- Hold down the modifier key
- MacOS: ⌘
- Windows: Ctrl (Windows)
- Select any other layers you want to select
Select All Layers
The Edit menu allows to select multiple objects based on their properties. This allows you to select all layers in your file that have the same properties.
This is super handy when you want to adjust the properties of all those layers at once.
- Select a layer or layers in the
- Go to the File menu ☰ and select Edit from the options.
- Choose to Select All other layers that have the same:
- Text Properties
- or another Instance
Want to select everything on the canvas? Use the keyboard shortcut: macOS: ⌘ A Windows: Ctrl A
Locked and hidden layers
If you hide a layer we won’t show in the Select Layer menu. You will need to toggle visibility on to select it.
If you lock an object or layer, you can’t select it via the normal left-click selection process. However, you can select it via the Select Layer process.
We include locked layers in the Select Layer menu with a padlock icon.
Tip! Smart Selection allows you to select 2 or more objects in the canvas. From there you can adjust their arrangement, or the spacing between them. Create a 1D Smart Selection from a list of objects that align on one axis, like a column or row. Or, a 2D Smart Selection of objects in a grid or gallery-like structure.
Deselect objects or layers
To clear your selection entirely:
- Click anywhere on the canvas
- Use the keyboard shortcut: Esc
To remove an object from a selection:
- Hold down the Shift key and click on the object again
Note: If you click on a parent object, this will deselect the parent and any child objects within it.
To select the inverse of your current selection:
- Use the keyboard shortcut:macOS: ⌘ A ShiftWindows: Ctrl A Shift
This removes the current selection, then selects everything on the canvas you didn’t select before.
- Adjust corner radius and smoothing
- Apply and adjust stroke properties
- View and adjust colors in a mixed selection
- Color models in Figma
- Rename Layers
- Lock and unlock layers
- Toggle visibility to hide layers
- Paints in Figma
- Add fills to text and objects
- Apply paints with the color picker
- Apply shadow or blur effects
- Create unique effects with Blend modes
- Create Layout Grids with grids, columns, and rows
- Apply Constraints to define how layers resize
- Combine Layout Grids and Constraints