Super Marquee Tool Operations

As the Super Marquee tool has numerous keypresses which can add or change its functionality, we strongly suggest installing the free Astute Graphics plugin Astute Buddy, which creates a panel that dynamically updates to inform you of the various keys which can be pressed in the tool’s current context.


The Super Marquee tool can be used to select an art object by simply clicking on it. This functions just like the native Selection tool except when the tool is in Boolean Mode (see below). In that case, Shift-clicking will not toggle the selection state of the clicked object; to remove an object from the current selection you must Option/Alt-click. Clicking on an empty area of the canvas will deselect everything.


Dragging the Super Marquee tool across the artboard creates a marquee, similar to the native Selection tool, which, after the mouse button is released, will select art objects. But by default, the Super Marquee tool starts in Enclosing Mode, in which art objects must be completely enclosed by (and not just touching) the marquee. When objects are close together, this makes selection much easier in many cases. However, the tool can easily be switched to Traditional Mode (by pressing the E key while dragging) in which the art objects need only touch the marquee to be selected. In addition to the tool’s cursor, the marquee will change appearance depending on the mode, being rendered with either a dotted line (for Enclosing) or a solid line (for Traditional):

Super Marquee Tool Marquees

Super Marquee Tool Marquees

Like the native Lasso tool, the Super Marquee tool will only select (or deselect) objects, never move them. So when starting to marquee, you don’t need to take any special care to avoid starting on top of an object and thereby accidentally moving it. Also, note that the Super Marquee tool only selects paths or subpaths in their entirety (i.e., you can’t select some anchor points and not others).

By default, the Super Marquee tool dynamically highlights the objects that are currently being selected by the marquee, allowing you to easily visualize the final result before the mouse button is released. The color (default of red) is customizable and can be changed on the fly with the C key. Also, by default, is the annotation text by the cursor displaying the current selected object count.

Pressing one or more modifier keys while dragging out a marquee changes or adds functionality:

Shift: When Boolean Mode is off (the default), the Shift key works in the same way as the native selection tools: objects which are Shift-marqueed have their selection state inverted. When Boolean Mode is on, Shift-marqueeing adds the marqueed objects to the selection (a “plus” sign badge is added to the cursor).

Option/Alt: When Boolean Mode is off (the default), the Option/Alt key enables center out marqueeing (the starting point of the marquee becomes the center point of the marquee rather than one of its corners). When Boolean Mode is on, Option/Alt-marqueeing subtracts the marqueed objects from the selection (a “minus” sign badge is added to the cursor).

Shift+Option/Alt: When Boolean Mode is off (the default), holding both Shift and Option/Alt simply combines the effects of those keys held individually (see above). When Boolean Mode is on, Shift+Option/Alt-marqueeing intersects the marqueed objects with the selection (i.e., only objects that were marqueed and were already in the selection will be left selected; this is identical to how Photoshop’s Intersect mode works on pixels). An “×” badge is added to the cursor.

Super Marquee Tool Modifiers

Super Marquee Tool Modifiers

Command/Ctrl: Temporarily hides live highlighting.

The following non-modifier keys can also be pressed while dragging to toggle or change various tool preferences on the fly (i.e. without having to go to the Super Marquee Preferences dialog):

Space: Allows repositioning of the entire marquee when the cursor is moved (rather than resizing it).

Up Arrow/Down Arrow: When Alternating Mode is active, increases or decreases the Select chunk size (see Super Marquee: Alternating Modes). When Random Mode is active, increases or decreases the random selection value (see Super Marquee: Random Mode).

Left Arrow/Right Arrow: When Alternating Mode is active, increases or decreases the Skip chunk size.

A: Steps through the two Alternating Modes and back to Non-Alternating Mode.

B: Toggles Boolean Mode off and on. When off, the default, the Shift key works as with the native selection tools, to invert the selection status of any marqueed objects. When on, separate modifier keypresses can add to, subtract from, or intersect the marqueed objects with the current selection (see above).

C: Changes the live highlighting color among the following choices: red, blue, magenta, green, black, and grey.

D: Toggles the Selected Object count annotation that appears next to the cursor. The count refers to the number of objects currently being selected by the marquee (taking into account Alternating or Random Modes), not any existing selection.

E: Toggles between Enclosing Mode and Traditional Mode. In Enclosing Mode, objects are only selected if their bounds are entirely within the marquee, rather than simply needing to touch it.

F: Toggles Full Selection Mode off and on. In Full Selection Mode, groups and compound paths can only be selected in their entirety (like the native Selection tool). Turning it off allows the selection of individual group members and subpaths of compound paths (like the native Direct Selection tool).

Super Marquee Tool Full Partial Selection

Super Marquee Tool Full Partial Selection

N: When an Alternating Mode is active, resets the Select and Skip chunk sizes to their default values of 1.

Q: When Boolean Mode is on, allows you to marquee from the center out (as the Option/Alt modifier, which normally handles this function, is instead used to subtract from the selection).

R: Toggles Random Mode on and off.

S: When Random Mode is on, shuffles the random seed.

X: Changes the marquee shape. The default is rectangular, but you can also choose elliptical, square, or round.