What Is Magic Wand Tool In Illustrator?

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the Magic Wand Tool in Illustrator.

what is magic wand tool in illustrator

What Is Magic Wand Tool in Illustrator?

The Magic Wand Tool in Adobe Illustrator is a selection tool designed to make your life easier. It selects objects or areas within your Illustrator file based on various attributes such as color, stroke color, and opacity.

It’s far more than just a magic wand; it’s a smart, efficient tool for your Adobe Illustrator projects. Imagine you have a canvas full of stars, circles, and rectangles. Some are red, some are blue, and others are yellow.

If you want to select all the red shapes to change them to green, instead of clicking each red shape one by one, you can simply use the Magic Wand Tool to select them all in one go.

The tool identifies and selects objects that share the same (or similar) attributes according to your criteria, essentially doing the heavy lifting for you.

You can also refine your selection by adjusting the “Tolerance” setting to control the range of selection, from strict to more generous.

Adobe Illustrator’s Selection Tools

Among Adobe Illustrator’s selection tools, you have the Direct Selection Tool, Pen Tool, and Lasso Tool. But the Magic Wand Tool stands apart because it’s an automated selection tool, designed to save time and effort.

Magic Wand Tool vs. Photoshop Magic Wand Tool

The Magic Wand Tool in Illustrator should not be confused with the Photoshop Magic Wand Tool available in Adobe Photoshop CC.

Both are used for selection but have different functionalities. The Magic Wand Tool in Illustrator is attribute-based and vector-centric, unlike the pixel-based tool in Photoshop.

Using Stroke Color And Fill Color

Stroke Color and Fill Color

One of the fantastic features of this selection tool is the ability to select based on stroke color and fill color. For instance, you can select all shapes that have a similar color in just one click.

Blending Mode and Opacity

It also allows you to select objects based on blending mode and opacity settings. You can adjust these parameters from the Magic Wand Panel.

Transparency Options and Tolerance

This tool offers transparency options and a setting called “tolerance,” which helps you control the range of selected colors or other attributes.

How to Use the Magic Wand Tool

Find It in the Toolbar

Firstly, locate the Magic Wand Tool in the Toolbar or use the shortcut ‘Y‘ to activate it.

Configure in Magic Wand Panel

The Magic Wand Panel allows you to set up your selection criteria. You can specify attributes like color, tolerance, and even whether to include the background color.

Make Your Selection

Click on an object, shape, or anchor point you want to select. If your goal is to remove the background, you can easily select it and hit delete.

Related: Adobe Illustrator Anchor Points Not Showing

Working with Image Trace and Raster Images

If you have a raster image in your Illustrator file, you can convert it to a vector object using the Image Trace function before using the Magic Wand Tool.

Save Selection for Future Use

Once you’ve fine-tuned your selection settings, the ‘Save Selection’ feature allows you to reuse those settings, saving time on future projects.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Ignoring White Background

When aiming to remove a white background, make sure your Magic Wand Tool settings are correctly configured to prevent including white or similar colors in the selected area.

Quick Selection Tool in Photoshop

The Quick Selection Tool is specific to Photoshop and operates on a pixel level, unlike the vector object-based Magic Wand Tool in Illustrator.

Overlooking Multiple Object Selection

The tool allows you to select multiple objects simultaneously if they meet the set criteria in the Magic Wand Panel, making it a powerful feature for complex projects.

Final Thoughts: Magic Wand Tool In Illustrator

So there you have it! The Magic Wand Tool in Illustrator CS2 and later versions is a powerful selection tool for both beginners and seasoned professionals. From fill color to stroke color, from opacity to blending modes, this tool can handle it all.

With the Magic Wand Panel, you can customize your selection to the nth degree. The next time you open an Illustrator file and need to make complex selections, give the Magic Wand Tool a try!

Magic Wand Tool In Illustrator: FAQs

What Does The Magic Wand Tool Do In Illustrator?

The Magic Wand Tool in Illustrator is a versatile selection tool that enables you to select objects, shapes, or areas in your design based on specific attributes. These attributes can range from color and stroke color to opacity and blending modes.

Essentially, it allows you to make selections without having to manually click on each object, saving you both time and effort. The tool is particularly useful for intricate designs where manual selection could be error-prone and time-consuming.

How Do You Use A Magic Wand Tool In Illustrator?

Here’s how you use a Magic Wand Tool in Illustrator:

  1. Locate the Tool: First, find the Magic Wand Tool in the Tools Panel. You can also activate it by pressing the ‘Y’ key on your keyboard.
  2. Configure Settings: Open the Magic Wand Panel by double-clicking on the tool icon in the Tools Panel. Here, you can specify the attributes you want the tool to consider while making a selection, such as color or stroke color.
  3. Make the Selection: Click on the object, shape, or area you wish to select. The Magic Wand Tool will automatically select all elements that match your pre-configured settings.
  4. Adjust If Needed: If you’re not happy with the selection, you can modify the settings in the Magic Wand Panel and click again.
  5. Finalize: Once satisfied with your selection, you can then proceed to apply edits like color changes, deletions, or applying effects.

Can The Magic Wand Tool Select Objects Of The Same In Adobe Illustrator?

Yes — the Magic Wand Tool can select multiple objects in Adobe Illustrator that share the same attributes.

For instance, if you have multiple shapes with the same fill color, using the Magic Wand Tool and clicking on one of these shapes will automatically select all the shapes with that particular fill color.

The same applies to other attributes like stroke color, opacity, and blending modes. This feature is particularly useful in complex projects where selecting each object individually would be cumbersome.

The Magic Wand Tool simplifies this by allowing batch selections based on shared characteristics.

How To Use The Magic Wand Tool To Remove Background In Illustrator?

Removing backgrounds in Illustrator becomes an easy task when you use the Magic Wand Tool. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Find the Magic Wand Tool: Locate this tool on the Tools Panel or activate it by pressing the ‘Y’ key.
  2. Configure Magic Wand Settings: Open the Magic Wand Panel by double-clicking on the tool icon. Adjust the “tolerance” settings to control how precisely the tool selects the background color.
  3. Select the Background: Click on the background area you want to remove. The Magic Wand Tool will automatically select the entire background if the color is consistent.
  4. Check Your Selection: Before hitting delete, make sure all the background areas you want removed are selected. If not, adjust your tolerance settings.
  5. Delete: Once satisfied with your selection, simply hit the ‘Delete’ key. You’ll be left with a transparent background.

What Are The Three Options Used With The Magic Wand Tool?

The Magic Wand Tool in Illustrator has several settings you can tweak, but let’s focus on three key options:

  1. Tolerance: This setting determines how much variation from your selected color or attribute is acceptable. A lower tolerance will result in a more precise selection, while a higher tolerance will include more variations.
  2. Fill Color and Stroke Color: These options enable you to specify whether the Magic Wand should select objects based on their fill color, stroke color, or both. This is especially useful for vector objects where the fill and stroke might be different but you want to select based on one or the other.
  3. Use Existing: This option allows the Magic Wand to consider other similar attributes when making a selection. For example, if you’re selecting based on stroke color, enabling this will consider objects with the same stroke color that already exist in the selection.

What Is The Difference Between Lasso Tool And Magic Wand Tool in Illustrator?

The Lasso Tool and Magic Wand Tool in Adobe Illustrator serve similar purposes — they are both selection tools — but they operate in fundamentally different ways. Here are the differences between Lasso Tool and Magic Wand Tool In Illustrator:

Method of Selection

  1. Lasso Tool: The Lasso Tool is manual and allows you to draw a freeform selection area around objects. You have to go around each object you want to select.
  2. Magic Wand Tool: This is an automated selection tool. It selects objects based on specific attributes like fill color, stroke color, opacity, etc.

Precision and Control

  1. Lasso Tool: Offers higher control in the sense that you can manually outline irregular shapes to make a selection. However, it can be less precise if you have shaky hands or if the area you’re trying to select is intricate.
  2. Magic Wand Tool: It’s precise in a different way. It selects all objects that match your predefined attributes, reducing human error but sometimes including unwanted elements if the attributes are too general.

Complexity of the Selection

  1. Lasso Tool: Best for complex selections where objects are irregularly shaped or don’t share common attributes.
  2. Magic Wand Tool: Ideal for simpler selections where multiple objects share common attributes like color or stroke.

Time and Effort

  1. Lasso Tool: Can be time-consuming and requires a lot of effort, especially for complex selections.
  2. Magic Wand Tool: A more efficient tool when you want to quickly select multiple objects that share similar attributes.


  1. Lasso Tool: Does not have many configurable settings. What you select is entirely based on your manual control.
  2. Magic Wand Tool: Comes with a variety of options like tolerance, fill color, and stroke color which can be tweaked according to your needs.

Use Cases

  1. Lasso Tool: Good for artwork where the objects are too diverse in terms of attributes or are closely packed.
  2. Magic Wand Tool: Useful in scenarios like background removal or applying uniform changes to multiple objects.

Integration with Other Tools

  1. Lasso Tool: Often used in conjunction with other manual selection tools like the Direct Selection Tool.
  2. Magic Wand Tool: Sometimes used alongside Photoshop’s Magic Wand Tool for image editing tasks that involve both raster and vector elements.

In summary, the Lasso Tool offers manual, hand-drawn selections suitable for complex, irregular objects.

The Magic Wand Tool, on the other hand, is attribute-based and is efficient for selecting multiple objects that share common characteristics.

Knowing when to use each can significantly speed up your workflow in Adobe Illustrator.

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