Layer clipping mask (a bit like a paste-inside on steroids!)
I'd like to be able to convert a shape into a layer clipping mask which would then allow sub-layers to be created/converted so that they only remain visible within in the shape's boundary and would subsequently honour any sub-layer effects applied therein.
Well at the moment I have to expand any paths with effects applied to layers so that any effect is captured inside the clipping mask. This results in a destructive edit to my artwork and file duplication so that I can revert to the previous editable state when I need to make any changes.
I regularly make use of the appearance panel to build up various stroke effects (for example, 3 strokes layers per path of varying thicknesses when creating railway tracks/roads etc.) but apply that style to a layer so that the sub-layers / paths take on that appearance and seamlessly merge all my various paths.
Unfortunately, clipping masks remove any effects/styles applied to layers.
As Scott Falkner says in comments, you can clip a whole layer if you select a path you want to use as a mask, then open the Layers panel and select Make Clipping Mask from the flyout menu.
Rob Hutchings commented
Thanks Scott - deleting this as no longer relevant
Scott Falkner commented
Feature exists. Select a path then open the Layers panel and select Make Clipping Mask from the flyout menu.