Moving, Grouping, and Converting Objects in Ortelius

Before you can move, modify or perform other operations on shapes, you must select them. A selected shape has handles that let you move and manipulate the shape. Use Artboard’s single direct select tool to select and move objects, and a variety of handy keyboard shortcuts and commands to modify them.

To Move, Resize and Rotate Objects:

  • REPOSITION – Move objects by selecting with the Select [s] tool and dragging, or use the Geometry panel to adjust the object’s x.y location.
  • RESIZE (SCALE) – Shapes by dragging any of the object handles with the Select [s] tool, or use the Geometry panel to adjust size.
  • ROTATE – Drag an object’s purple rotation handle with the Select [s] key to rotate around their center point, or use the Geometry panel to set the rotation angle.
  • REPOSITION AN OBJECT’S CENTER POINT – Drag the center blue crosshair target with the Select [s] tool to move the point of object rotation.

To Change the Stack Order of Objects – Moving Forward and Back:


Within each layer, objects have a stack order as they are drawn. Newer objects are drawn on top of existing objects. This is independent of layers, which control the display order of all objects among individual layers.

Do one of the following:

  • Use the Graphic > Bring To Front, Bring Forward, Send To Back, Send Backward commands from the main menu to change the stack order of objects.
  • Right-click on a graphic for quick access to the contextual menu stack order commands.
  • These functions are also available as toolbar icons via the Customize toolbar menu.

HINT: Occasionally, an object with a larger bounding box may be stacked “in front” of another object. Because of the overlap, the top object may either hide the lower object or make it difficult to select because the top object bounding box is in the way. Select the top object and use the Tab-key to cycle through a series of overlapping objects to select them.

To Group Objects:


Do one of the following:

  • Choose Graphic > Group from the main menu to group two or more objects.
  • Use the CMND-G keyboard shortcut.
  • Click the Group icon in the toolbar.

Note that when objects are grouped, they are moved to the top of the stack order. If a style is applied to a group, all objects within the group will receive the new style. Text within a group can be double-clicked for convenient editing without ungrouping.

HINT: When you place clip art onto your drawing canvas the clip art are composed of regular drawing objects, though they may need ungrouped to edit.

To Ungroup Objects:

Do one of the following:

  • Choose Graphic > Ungroup from the main menu.
  • Use the SHIFT-CMND-G keyboard shortcut.
  • Click the Ungroup icon in the toolbar.

To Convert Objects From Shape Mode to Edit Path Mode:


Do one of the following:

  • Double-click a path or shape to quickly switch between shape mode and edit path mode. For example, a path object can be converted to a shape object and vice-versa.
  • Choose Graphic > Convert To Path (or Shape) from the main menu.
  • Right-click and choose the ‘Convert To…’ command from the object’s contextual menu.

HINT: Special shapes, such as stars and round rectangles, will be converted into paths then back to normal shapes through this process (they cannot be converted back into special shapes).

HINT: Text objects are conveniently converted to Path, Shape, or Shape Group using the ‘convert to’ commands. Text-box text can also be converted to Text On Path. Converting text to a Shape Group enables several glyphs to be converted into a group of individual shapes. Ungroup the shape group to render each glyph as an individual shape which can be independently styled and manipulated.