Why can’t I see selection outlines in Illustrator?

Screen shot 2014-05-19 at 7.09.35 PMARG. While working in illustrator CS3 ( or any of the CS series) I get stuck where I can’t see my selection outlines.

It goes like this

I’m chugging along and all the sudden I notice that I can’t see my outlines when I select objects. What the hell?  Maybe I flubbed some keystroke earlier…can’t be sure.  So what now?  I can’t see those great blue lines that let me know what’s in my selection and what aint.

In the past this used to kind of come and go and it’s super irritating if you don’t know what’s going on.

If you run into this problem, there’s a simple fix


Ok…Why is there a button that does this!?

It turns out that this is a feature accessible in the view-menu called “hide edges”.  It is easily toggled via ‘cmd-h’.  Of course this is right next to a much more commonly used ‘cmd-g’ (for grouping).

So in the future…

If you find your edges are hidden and you don’t know why; you probably flubbed the cmd-g into cmd-h

… welp…now ya know.





  1. marge

    I’m brand new to AI and had same problem, sort of. But it wasn’t the Hide Edges feature. It was that I had changed the color of the path line itself. I’d done done this when I renamed the current layer (I double clicked on the name of the layer in the layers pallet, which brought up “Layer Options.” So I not only renamed the layer; I decided it would be nice to change the “color” option to yellow–even though I had no idea what this referred to–to match the yellow object I was drawing. Turns out I had rendered the path outline invisible. I’ve now changed it back to a high-contrast blue.

  2. Melissa

    Do you know how many times I’ve had to google this and come back to this post? Thank you for having this here for my reference when I forget.

  3. Annette

    Omigod, THANK YOU. I suddenly couldn’t see anything I selected and am trying to meet a deadline.

  4. Carol

    Thank you! I often use Cmd+H to Hide an open program. Now I know that Illustrator and inDesign are the two programs that do not work with that shortcut. So glad your post was here; I was baffled!

  5. Oto Inša

    I also use cmd-h to hide apps in OS X,
    why Adobe thought that overriding this system-wide default shortcut would be a good idea, is just beyond me.

  6. Mosie

    THANK YOU! Same thing happened to me. You saved my sanity! And a heck of a lot of time! Also, the most succinct explanation of a ‘fix’ I have ever encountered!

  7. Bas

    I had missing edges in Illustrator CC 2015 and ‘Show/Hide Edges’ was NOT the problem. I could see the edges in Outline-view. I fixed it by toggling command-E (switching between GPU and CPU preview). After toggling the edges were visible in GPU & CPU preview, so maybe it was a bug?

  8. Kristoffer

    I’ve been looking for a way to hide those “Outline-when-an-object-is-selected”-thingy. And it’s been there all along? Damn.

    Thank you man, this helped me alot.

  9. I’m so tickled that this has helped so many people. Drove me nuts for years also. I’ll try to provide some more handy tips in the near future.

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