Reset bounding box grayed out in Illustrator

Quick Fix: Why Reset Bounding Box is Grayed Out in Illustrator

Quick Fix: Why Reset Bounding Box is Grayed Out in Illustrator 800 470 Nick Saporito

In this post I’ll be going over a simple solution for a common problem — why Reset Bounding Box is grayed out in Illustrator.

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Resetting The Bounding Box

In Adobe Illustrator, the Bounding Box is an interactive selection that indicates a particular object you have selected. It allows you to move, rotate, shear, and scale the selected object.

The bounding box usually originates as a rectangular shape with the sides running parallel with the vertical and horizontal axis. If you rotate an object though, for example, you may end up with your bounding box looking like this…

Bounding box

Notice how the bounding box rotated with the object

However, let’s say you wanted to reposition that bounding box back into an upright rectangle, as indicated by the red outline below…

Desired boundary

To do this, you could simply navigate to Object > Transform > Reset Bounding Box. This should result in the following…

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New bounding box

Sometimes this doesn’t work though because the option is grayed out.

Why Reset Bounding Box is Grayed Out in Illustrator

The reason why Reset Bounding Box is grayed out in Illustrator is because the feature does not work on certain shapes and lines. To fix this, click on the shape and navigate to Object > Shape > Expand Shape in the menu. You should now be able to reset the bounding box.

When trying to reset your bounding box in Illustrator, you may run into a problem where you can’t select it because it’s grayed out.

Grayed out selection

This can be both confusing and frustrating. Why does it work for some objects and not others?

The reason why is because, for whatever reason, you cannot reset the bounding box of certain shapes like rectangles, ellipses, polygons, stars, lines, etc. unless you Expand them first.

To “expand” your object, simply select it and navigate to Object > Shape > Expand Shape. Once you’ve done that you should be able to reset the bounding box of your object without a problem because it will no longer be grayed out.

If that doesn’t work then leave a comment below and I’ll see if there’s anything else I can do to help. And don’t forget to check out some of my other Illustrator tutorials!

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Nick Saporito

Designer, content creator, and the founder of — an educational media platform for learning about graphic design.

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