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Lesson 4. Using Layers > Using the Arrange Commands

Using the Arrange Commands

You may have noticed that each object you’ve drawn on the page has been placed on top of the last object you drew. You haven’t defined any layers, but you are stacking objects as you draw them. All of the objects you’ve drawn up to now have been placed on the default layer: the Foreground layer. If you have followed the step-by-step instructions, you’ve drawn the objects in the proper sequence, and you may not have noticed the stacking order of the objects.

To see how the stacking order affects the objects on your page, you will use the Arrange commands to move your objects in front of or behind other objects. The FreeHand commands to bring objects to the front and send objects to the back work like similar commands in other graphics programs. If you are familiar with these concepts, you can skip this section and jump to the section “Using the Layers Panel.”

Open the film_canister.fh11 file if it is not already open. Select one of the two shapes (with the gradient) on the left side of the canister.

You can also use the film_canister_start.fh11 file in the Start folder within the Lesson04 folder if you no longer have your file.

You are going to experiment with the Arrange commands.

Choose Modify > Arrange > Send to Back.

The shape moves behind the black object. It is hidden except for its blue outline, indicating that it is still selected. Leave it selected.

Choose Modify > Arrange > Bring to Front.

The item returns to its original position, in front of the black object.

Although you didn’t need to change the arrangement of this item, there will be times when you want to move objects in front of or behind other objects. Remember that objects with fills hide the objects behind them. In a later lesson, you will apply transparency to objects. When you apply transparency, the opacity level of the top object determines how much of the object below it you see. For now, though, just remember that filled objects are opaque.


If you deselected the object before bringing it back to the front, you’ll discover that it is a bit difficult to select it again. An easier approach in this case is to select the black portion of the film canister and send it to the back. The smaller piece is then on top again.

The Arrange commands not only allow you to move objects to the very front or to the very back, but also forward or backward in the stack one object at a time. The left side of the film canister is only two objects deep, so choosing Send Backward would be the same as choosing Send to Back. If you’d like to experiment with the other commands, draw a filled rectangle on top of the left side of the film canister and place it so a portion of it is off the canister so you can see it move forward and backward.

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