Here at Vecteezy, we offer millions of vectors that can be downloaded and incorporated into your own work. The tips covered in this article will help you to master some of the common tasks new users may face when downloading and working with stock vector files in both Illustrator and Inkscape.

Related: What is a Vector File?

1. Checking for Locked Layers

Depending on how an author creates an image, certain elements may be in their own layers and locked, and therefore uneditable. But there’s an easy fix. In Illustrator, go to Window > Layers.

Window > Layers

Look for any locked layers (indicated by the lock icon), or look at the thumbnails to find the specific elements and corresponding layers you want to unlock. Then click the lock icon next to each one that you want to unlock.

Unlocking Layers

In Inkscape, go to the Layer menu and open the Layers palette.

Layers Palette

Then look in the Layers panel for any layers that are locked, designated by the lock icon. Click the icon to then unlock the layer.

Unlocking Layers in Inkscape

Now you can edit those layers and the elements within them.

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2. Ungrouping Objects

To keep objects together within a vector image, an author may group certain pieces together. This means if you attempt to move an item, for example, other items might move along with it.

Grouped Items

To ungroup elements in Illustrator, simply click on a grouped item, go to the Object menu and choose Ungroup.

Ungrouping Objects in Illustrator

In Inkscape, the process is exactly the same. Click on a grouped object and then go to the Object menu and select Ungroup. Now each object is on its own.

Ungrouping Objects in Inkscape

3. Releasing a Compound Path

Let’s say you have an object with a cutout or hole in it and you want to remove its gap.

Object with a Hole

In Illustrator, simply click on the object and then right-click and choose Release Compound Path.

Release Compound Path

Illustrator will then fill the gap back into the original object.

Filling the Gap

In Inkscape, click the object and then go to the Path menu and choose Break Apart.

Break Apart

Now you can easily remove gaps within objects.

4. Using the Direct Selection Tool or Node Tool

The Selection tool (black arrow icon) allows you to choose objects in groups.

Selecting Groups

The Direct Selection tool (white arrow icon in Illustrator) and the Node tool in Inkscape allow you to select individual anchor points or path segments by clicking on them.

Direct Selection

In Illustrator, select an object by using the Selection tool and then switch to the Direct Selection tool to modify a point within the object.

Direct Selection Tool

In Inkscape, use the Selection tool to select an object, and then use the Node tool to modify a point within the object.

Node Tool

Now you can change the path or shape of an object by manipulating its points.

Related: Raster vs. Vector

5. Changing the Color of Objects

One of the most common tasks in manipulating a vector image will be changing its elements’ colors. To do this in Illustrator, simply click on an object or element, then determine if you’re looking to change its fill color or its stroke color. Double click on either the fill color or the stroke color to open the color picker and select a new color.

Color Picker

In Inkscape, click on an object and then go to Object and select Fill and Stroke from the menu.

Fill and Stroke

Then use the Color panel to choose a new color.

Change Color in Inkscape

Now you can easily change an element’s color.

With the help of these tips, you’ll be able to easily edit and modify the vectors you download from Vecteezy.

For more tips, please see:

Lead image by swayaway1.