Ok, I'll admit that I thought of the title for this post while "Money, Money, Money" by ABBA was what iTunes has chosen for me to listen to at the moment. But there's a deeper meaning here as well. Symbols, within Symbols, within Symbols -- oh yes -- it's a nested symbols fiesta!
At a recent session that I gave, someone had asked me if it would be possible to "nest" symbols -- meaning, placing a symbol within a symbol. I hadn't really thought of it before, so my initial reaction was no. But lately I've been playing with Flash a lot more and in Flash, you CAN nest symbols. So I headed back over to Illustrator and decided to give it a try. And wouldn't you know it -- IT WORKED.
Go ahead and try it. Create some artwork and define it as a symbol. Then create another symbol. Drag instances of each of those symbols out onto your artboard, select them both and define a symbol of the two. The result? A symbol that contains two symbols inside of it.
No go ahead and redefine one of the first symbols you created -- you'll find that the symbol with the other symbols nested within it will update as well! Yay! I can think of many cool uses for this, and I'm sure that you can as well. But it defintely means you can think of your designs in a more modular fashion, which could save you some valuable time when it comes to making updates.
UPDATE: Teri Petit has informed me that a bug exists in Illustrator CS2 that will cause nested symbols to print incorrectly. The bug does not exist with Illustrator CS or Illustrator 10. See comments for more details (thanks Teri).