I like the way that Photoshop can drag and duplicate a layer by holding alt/option, dragging the layer, and finishing off the duplicate-and-move process by releasing the alt/option key BEFORE releasing the mouse click. It does not behave like that in Illustrator though. You MUST release the alt/option key AFTER the mouse click.

It often made me thought that I have duplicated an object, but in fact I have released the alt/option key first. I intended to save a backup copy by the above method, but many times the object was moved, edited and the original backup copy was gone. This happens quite some times while I am working hard on a design and I did not notice it until several steps later, and I could not go back without some extra copying/ctrl-z.

Is there a way to avoid this?

(I have asked it on Graphic Design and it was put on hold. Just want to make sure it is techicially wise not able to solve.) https://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/51852/illustrator-drag-and-copy-behave-like-photoshop

(Edit: this is just something I wanted to know / technically avoid. It's okay if the only solution is to be more careful.)


It sounds like you've already answered your own question. Just release OPT before the click. Also OPT(alt) + layer move isn't copying. This is a duplication function - crucial distinction if you have a non destructive workflow since this creates linked smart objects instead of independent ones.

  • Nah, Illustrator do not have smart objects (yet? Or did they upgraded Illustrator CC and I did not know?). And what I wanted is the behavior of Photoshop in Illustrator, where no matter you release the Alt key before or after the mouse click, you still get duplicating the object/layer. – Pete C. Aug 22 '15 at 17:09
  • Yes I know. I was speaking about Photoshop when referring to the smart object behaviour. You mentioned it as a copy function. -- More over, if the the sequence of key strokes really bother you, why not set it as an action and bind it to a key shortcut or as a macro on your mouse if it allows it. – mxrclxst Aug 22 '15 at 18:30
  • Yes I did mean "duplicating" by "copying" (I thought if you use Photoshop/Illustrator, you know how alt + left clicking behave; duplicate is just another way to copy and paste. Let's focus on the context and don't bother with the wordings. Sorry if that bothers you. I am not a native English speaker anyway.) I just want a way to alt click and drag in Illustrator to duplicate and move an object. If there is no easy way, that's okay. – Pete C. Aug 24 '15 at 15:55
  • * ...alt click and drag in Illustrator to duplicate and move an object like in Photoshop (And the main program being Illustrator, not Photoshop) – Pete C. Aug 24 '15 at 16:03

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