How to Use the Illustrator Slice Tool

When developing web pages in Adobe Illustrator, there are a wide variety of interlocking pieces involved. These may include raster images, vector graphics, and HTML code, all working together to create a seamless web experience. To isolate and edit these different elements in the same application, Illustrator allows you to create boundaries between them called slices. Below, we've shared how to use the Illustrator Slice tool, so you can personalize each element on the page, exactly how you want it.

Creating Slices
After drawing and placing objects on the artboard according to your needs, it's easy to transform any of the objects into a slice. First, select the Slice tool (it looks like a scalpel) in the Tools panel and then drag a box around the object(s) that you want added to the slice. You can also select objects with the Selection tool, and then choose "Object" > "Slice" > "Make". 

When you use the Illustrator Slice tool, the program will automatically slice any surrounding objects and images. All slices are created in a table cell layout, so they're optimized for the web. Image slices have a mountain-shaped logo, HTML slices have a "T" logo, and non-image slices have an "X" logo.  

Selecting and Locking Slices 
To select a slice, choose the Slice Select tool from the Tools panel (it looks like the Slice tool, but with a tiny mouse cursor above it). Then, click on the slice. If you want to select multiple slices, just hold Shift and click on the slices one at a time. 

When you're happy with a slice's position and want to prevent accidental edits, you can lock it by going to the Layers panel clicking on the slice's edit column. To lock all of your slices at once, select "View" > "Lock Slices" from the top menu bar. 

Deleting, Releasing, and Hiding Slices
To delete a slice, select it with the Slice Select tool and then press the Delete key. If you'd like to delete all of the slices in your project and start over, go to "Object" > "Slices" > "Delete All". 

Deleting a slice will also delete the connected artwork, so if you want to keep the art intact, you should "release" the slice instead. To do this, select the desired slice and then go to "Object" > "Slice" > "Release". 

Finally, it's possible to hide your slices' table cells and corresponding logos, without deleting the slices from your project. To do this, choose "View" > "Hide Slices".  

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