Select the Pen tool ().
The simplest path you can draw with the Pen tool is a straight line, made by clicking the Pen tool to create two anchor points. By continuing to click, you create a path made of straight line segments connected by corner points.
Select the Pen tool ().
Click again where you want the segment to end (Shift-click to constrain the angle of the segment to a multiple of 45°).
Continue clicking to set anchor points for additional straight segments.
The last anchor point you add always appears as a solid square, indicating that it is selected. Previously defined anchor points become hollow, and deselected, as you add more anchor points.
You create a curve by adding an anchor point where a curve changes direction, and dragging the direction lines that shape the curve. The length and slope of the direction lines determine the shape of the curve.
Curves are easier to edit and your system can display and print them faster if you draw them using as few anchor points as possible. Using too many points can also introduce unwanted bumps in a curve. Instead, draw widely spaced anchor points, and practice shaping curves by adjusting the length and angles of the direction lines.
Position the Pen tool where you want the curve to begin, and hold down the mouse button. The first anchor point appears, and the Pen tool pointer changes to an arrowhead.
In general, extend the direction line about one third of the distance to the next anchor point you plan to draw. (You can adjust one or both sides of the direction line later.)
Hold down the Shift key to constrain the tool to multiples of 45°.
A. Positioning Pen tool B. Starting to drag (mouse button pressed) C. Dragging to extend direction lines
To create a C‑shaped curve, drag in a direction opposite to the previous direction line. Then release the mouse button.
To create an S‑shaped curve, drag in the same direction as the previous direction line. Then release the mouse button.
Press Command/ Ctrl while dragging the handles of a smooth point, to make them inequal in length when you're drawing a curve.
A. Opposite handles are equal and paired B. Cmd/Ctrl pressed, opposite handles are unequal and paired
Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (macOS) direction lines to break out the direction lines of an anchor point.
You can make finer adjustments to the closing curve:
A. Reposition the closing anchor point B. Break the paired handles to adjust the closing anchor point
After you click to create an anchor point, keep the mouse button pressed down, hold down the spacebar, and drag to reposition the anchor point.
To leave the path open, you can also select a different tool, or choose Select > Deselect.
Position the Pen tool over the selected endpoint. In Illustrator, a convert-point icon appears next to the Pen tool when it is positioned correctly. To set the slope of the curved segment you’ll create next, click the anchor point, and drag the direction line that appears.
A. Straight segment completed B. Positioning Pen tool over endpoint C. Dragging direction point
A. Positioning Pen tool B. Dragging direction line C. New curve segment completed
A. First smooth point of curved segment completed and Pen tool positioned over endpoint B. Dragging to complete the curve
A. Positioning Pen tool over existing endpoint B. Clicking endpoint C. Clicking next corner point
Reposition the Pen tool and drag to create a curve with a second smooth point; then press and hold Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) and drag the direction line toward its opposing end to set the slope of the next curve. Release the key and the mouse button.
This process converts the smooth point to a corner point by splitting the direction lines.
A. Dragging a new smooth point B. Pressing Alt/Option to split direction lines while dragging, and swinging direction line up C. Result after repositioning and dragging a third time
The Reshape Segment cursor supports reshaping with touch input on touch-based devices and touch workspace. To use it with the Pen tool, follow these steps:
While using the pen tool, press the Alt / Option key.
When you hover the pointer over a path segment, the cursor changes to the Reshape Segment cursor.
Dragging a segment will reshape the path segment
A. Original shape B. The Reshape Segment cursor indicates a reshape-ready segment C. When the Reshape Segment cursor is visible, modify the shape of the segment by clicking and dragging. D. Reshape as many segments as required E. Final shape when reshaping tasks are complete
To continue drawing with the Pen tool, release the Alt / Option key.
To create a semi-circular segment hold the Shift key while reshaping a segment. Holding the Shift modifier constrains the handles to a perpendicular direction, and ensures that the handles are of equal length.
The Curvature tool simplifies path creation and makes drawing easy and intuitive. This tool enables you to create, toggle, edit, add, or remove smooth or corner points. You don't have to switch between different tools to work quickly and precisely with paths.
Select the Curvature tool ().
Drop two points on the artboard, and then view the rubber band preview display the shape of the resulting path depending on where you hover your mouse.
Note: Rubber-banding is turned on by default in the tool. To turn it off, use preference setting: Preferences > Selection & Anchor Display > Enable Rubber Band.
Use the mouse to drop a point or tap to create a smooth point. To create a corner point, double-click or press the Alt key while clicking or tapping.
A. By default, smooth points are created for curves B. To create a corner point, double-click or press the Alt key while dropping a point
You can perform several actions:
You can enable the Real-Time Drawing and Editing feature to enhance the live appearance of objects when you work on them. To enable this feature:
[Windows] Choose Edit > Preferences > Performance > Real-Time Drawing and Editing.
[macOS] Choose Illustrator > Preferences > Performance > Real-Time Drawing and Editing.
The Pen tool and the Curvature tool display a preview of the path that will be drawn from the previous anchor point to the current position of the pointer.
Using the Pen tool or the Curvature tool, click once on the artboard to draw a smooth point, and drag the mouse to create the handles as required.
Note: When you draw a smooth point, the opposite handles are always equal and paired. Press Command / Ctrl while dragging the handles of a smooth point, to create handles that are unequal in length (pairing remains intact).
Release the mouse button. When you move the mouse pointer across the artboard, a path is displayed indicating what will be drawn if you choose to drop an anchor point at the location of the mouse pointer.
A. First anchor point and its handles B. Rubber Band preview of the path between the first anchor point and the mouse pointer
When the preview displayed is the path that you wanted to draw, click the location, and Illustrator draws the path as previewed.
When the preview is on, pressing Esc stops showing the preview and ends the path. This is the same action as hitting the keyboard shortcut P while working with the Pen tool (with the preview feature off).
Open the Preferences dialog (Ctrl + K)
Browse to the Selection and Anchor Display tab
Select or clear the desired option(s):
The Pencil tool lets you draw open and closed paths as if you were drawing with a pencil on paper. It is most useful for fast sketching or creating a hand-drawn look. Once you draw a path, you can immediately change it if needed.
Anchor points are set down as you draw with the Pencil tool; you do not determine where they are positioned. However, you can adjust them once the path is complete. The number of anchor points set down is determined by the length and complexity of the path and by tolerance settings in the Pencil Tool Preferences dialog box. These settings control how sensitive the Pencil tool is to the movement of your mouse or graphics-tablet stylus.
Click and hold the Shaper tool (). Select the Pencil tool .
Position the tool where you want the path to begin, and drag to draw a path. The Pencil tool () displays a small x to indicate drawing a freeform path.
As you drag, a dotted line follows the pointer. Anchor points appear at both ends of the path and at various points along it. The path takes on the current stroke and fill attributes, and remains selected by default.
You can use the pencil tool to draw constrained or unconstrained straight segments.
Select the Pencil tool ().
Position the tool where you want the path to begin, and start dragging to draw a path.
After you’ve begun dragging, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS). The Pencil tool displays a small circle () to indicate that you’re creating a closed path.
When the path is the size and shape you want, release the mouse button (but not the Alt or Option key). After the path closes, release the Alt or Option key.
You don’t have to position the cursor over the starting point of the path in order to create a closed path; if you release the mouse button in some other location, the Pencil tool will close the shape by creating the shortest possible line back to the original point.
You can edit any path using the Pencil tool and add freeform lines and shapes to any shape.
Select the Pencil tool ().
You can tell you’re close enough to the endpoint when the small x next to the pencil tip disappears.
Select both paths (Shift-click or drag around the two with the Selection tool).
Select the Pencil tool ().
Position the pointer where you want to begin from one path, and start dragging toward the other path. The Pencil tool displays a small merge symbol () to indicate you’re adding to the existing path.
Drag onto the endpoint of the other path and release the mouse button.
For best results, drag from one path to the other as if you were simply continuing the paths in the direction they were created.
You can tell you’re close enough to the path when the small x disappears from the tool.
Depending on where you begin to redraw the path and in which direction you drag, you may get unexpected results. For example, you may unintentionally change a closed path to an open path, change an open path to a closed path, or lose a portion of a shape.
Double-click the Pencil tool () to set any of the following options:
Controls how far you have to move your mouse or stylus before a new anchor point is added to the path. The Fidelity slider has five presets you can choose from. The leftmost slider preset (Accurate) is most accurate for drawing paths. The rightmost slider preset (Smooth) creates the smoothest paths. Choose a preset that suits your drawing needs best.
Fill New Pencil Strokes
Applies a fill to pencil strokes you draw after selecting this option, but not to existing pencil strokes. Remember to select a fill before you draw the pencil strokes.
Alt/ Option Key Toggles To Smooth Tool Option
With this checkbox enabled, while using the Pencil tool or the Brush tool, you can press Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) to switch to the Smooth tool.
Close Paths When Ends Are Within: _ Pixels
When the endpoints of a path you are drawing are in close proximity and within a certain predefined number of pixels of each other, the path-close cursor () is shown. When you release the mouse button, such a path is closed automatically.You can set the predefined number of pixels using this option.
Edit Selected Paths
Determines whether or not you can change or merge a selected path when you are within a certain distance of it (specified with the next option).
Within: _ pixels
Determines how close your mouse or stylus must be to an existing path in order to edit the path with the Pencil tool. This option is only available when the Edit Selected Paths option is selected.