How to Duplicate a Layer in Adobe Illustrator

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When you're working in Adobe Illustrator, you may need multiple layers. And when we're talking about having multiple layers, it's easy to confuse layers with artboards. However, duplicating layers and duplicating artboards are not the same. You can have multiple artboards (or canvases) in Illustrator, and you can create multiple layers on a single artboard.

In this tutorial, we'll look at how to duplicate a layer in Illustrator, and we'll show a few different ways you can complete the task. The process is a bit different than merging layers in Illustrator, which is another task that you may need to do at times.

Related reading: How to Move Artboards in Illustrator

Duplicate a Layer in Illustrator, Method 1: Click, Hold, and Drag

Follow these steps if you want to make a duplicate or make a copy of a layer.

Step 1:

Open the Layers Panel from the right toolbar. If you cannot find the Layer Panel, that means it's not enabled yet. Go to Window and select Layers to enable your Layers Panel. Now you can see the Layers panel on your screen.

Step 2:

In this Layers Panel, you'll see the layers in your Illustrator document. Select the main layer that you want to duplicate.

Step 3:

Now, while holding down the Alt key, click on it and drag the layer in the Layer Panel down to the bottom of the list. When you reach the bottom, your mouse pointer will show you a plus icon.

Step 4:

Once you see your cursor showing the plus icon, you can release the mouse button and the Alt key. Your layer is duplicated as you release the mouse button.

Related reading: How to Lock Layers in Illustrator

Method 2: Using the Duplicate Option

Here's another easy way to duplicate a layer in Illustrator.

Step 1:

Open the Layers Panel that you can find on the right side toolbar. You can also use the keyboard shortcut F7 to enable the Layers Panel.

Step 2:

Now from the Layers Panel, select the layer you want to duplicate. Just click on the layer to select it

Step 3:

Click on the hidden Options Menu, located in the top right corner of the Layers Panel, as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 4:

From the extended menu, select Duplicate “Layer 1”. Remember, this will show the name of the layer you selected for duplicating. Here, the selected layer's name was “Layer 1”. This is why it showed Duplicate “Layer 1”.

Step 5:

Once you click on Duplicate “Layer 1”, your layer will be duplicated.

Method 3: Copy and Paste Your Layers

Want to know how to copy a layer in Illustrator?

Step 1:

Open the Layers Panel from the right toolbar or use the keyboard shortcut F7.

Step 2:

Now you need to create a new layer. To create a new layer, click on the plus icon at the bottom of the panel.

Step 3:

After creating the new layer, select the original layer you want to copy and press Ctrl + C on PC (or Cmd + C on Mac). This will copy the layer.

Step 4:

Now select the new layer and press Ctrl + F on PC (or Cmd + F on Mac). Your selected layer will now be pasted on the newly created layer.

Final Thoughts on Duplicating Layers in Adobe Illustrator

Knowing how to duplicate a layer in Illustrator is something you'll need to do from time to time as you work in Illustrator. I hope this article helped you by showing three different ways to copy or duplicate layers.