Before you can reshape or edit a path, you need to select the path’s anchor points, segments, or a combination of both.
Do any of the following:
If the path is filled, you can also click inside the path with the Direct Selection tool to select all anchor points.
Use the standard menu functions to copy and paste paths within or between applications.
Press and hold Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and drag the path to the desired position, and then release the mouse button and Alt/Option key.
You can edit a path segment at any time, but editing existing segments is slightly different from drawing them. Keep the following tips in mind when editing segments:
If an anchor point connects two segments, moving that anchor point always changes both segments.
When drawing with the Pen tool, you can temporarily activate the Direct Selection tool (InDesign and Photoshop) so that you can adjust segments you’ve already drawn; press Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) while drawing. In Illustrator, pressing Ctrl or Command while drawing activates the last-used selection tool.
When you initially draw a smooth point with the Pen tool, dragging the direction point changes the length of the direction line on both sides of the point. However, when you edit an existing smooth point with the Direct Selection tool, you change the length of the direction line only on the side you’re dragging.
In Illustrator or InDesign, if you’re simply trying to make a rectangle wider or narrower, it’s easier to select it with the Selection tool and resize it using one of the handles on the sides of its bounding box.
To adjust the position of the segment, drag the segment. Shift-drag to constrain the adjustment to multiples of 45°.
To adjust the shape of the segment on either side of a selected anchor point, drag the anchor point or the direction point. Shift-drag to constrain movement to multiples of 45°.
You can also apply a transformation, such as scaling or rotating, to a segment or anchor point.
Using the Pen tool, position the pointer over the endpoint of the open path you want to extend. The pointer changes when it’s precisely positioned over the endpoint.
Click the endpoint.
Do one of the following:
In Illustrator, if you extend a path that ends in a smooth point, the new segment will be straight.
To create a smooth point, position the Pen tool where you want to end the new curved segment, and drag.
To connect the path to another open path, click an endpoint on the other path. When you precisely position the Pen tool over the other path’s endpoint, a small merge symbol appears next to the pointer.
To connect a new path to an existing path, draw the new path near the existing path, and then move the Pen tool to the existing path’s (unselected) endpoint. Click that endpoint when you see the small merge symbol that appears next to the pointer.
In InDesign, you can also use the Pathfinder panel to join paths. To close the path of an open path, use the Selection tool to select the path and click Close Path in the Pathfinder panel. To close the end points between two paths, select the paths and click Join Path. You may want to click Join Path a second time to join the second endpoint.
In Photoshop, you can move only anchor points in this manner.
Hold down the Shift key in addition to the arrow key to move 10 pixels at a time.
In Illustrator and InDesign, you can change the distance of a nudge by changing the Keyboard Increment preference. When you change the default increment, holding down Shift nudges 10 times the specified distance.
Adding anchor points can give you more control over a path or it can extend an open path. However, it’s a good idea not to add more points than necessary. A path with fewer points is easier to edit, display, and print. You can reduce the complexity of a path by deleting unnecessary points.
The toolbox contains three tools for adding or deleting points: the Pen tool , the Add Anchor Point tool , and the Delete Anchor Point tool .
By default, the Pen tool changes to the Add Anchor Point tool as you position it over a selected path, or to the Delete Anchor Point tool as you position it over an anchor point. (In Photoshop, you must select Auto Add/Delete in the options bar to enable the Pen tool to automatically change to the Add Anchor Point or Delete Anchor Point tool.)
You can select and edit multiple paths simultaneously in Photoshop and InDesign; however, you can add or delete points to only one path at a time in Illustrator. In Photoshop and InDesign, you can reshape a path while adding anchor points by clicking and dragging as you add.
Don’t use the Delete, Backspace, and Clear keys or the Edit > Cut or Edit > Clear commands to delete anchor points: these keys and commands delete the point and the line segments that connect to that point.
In Illustrator, you can add anchor points to a path by selecting the object and choosing Object > Path > Add Anchor Points.
You can override automatic switching of the Pen tool to the Add Anchor Point tool or the Delete Anchor Point tool. This is useful when you want to start a new path on top of an existing path.
Paths can have two kinds of anchor points—corner points and smooth points. At a corner point, a path abruptly changes direction. At a smooth point, path segments are connected as a continuous curve. The Convert Direction Point tool . lets you change an anchor point from a corner point to a smooth point or visa versa.
To temporarily switch from the Convert Direction Point tool to the Direct Selection tool, press Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS).
To convert a corner point to a smooth point, drag direction lines out of the corner point.
To convert a smooth point to a corner point without using direction lines, click a smooth point.
To convert a corner point without using direction lines to a corner point with independent direction lines, first drag direction lines out of a corner point (making it a smooth point). Release the mouse button, and then drag either direction line.
To convert a point, open the Pathfinder panel (choose Window > Object & Layout > Pathfinder), and click the Plain, Corner, Smooth, or Symmetrical button in the Convert Point section.
To convert a smooth point to a corner point with independent direction lines, drag either direction line.
To convert points, you can also use the Direct Selection tool to select a point, and then choose a command from the Object > Convert Point menu. For example, you can select the smooth point at the bottom of a “U” shape and choose Object > Convert Point > Plain. Doing so removes the direction lines and makes a “V” shape. Choose Corner to create a point with direction lines that can move independently of each other. Choose Smooth to create a point with handles that can have unequal lengths. Choose Symmetrical to create a point with handles of equal lengths.
You can split a path, graphics frame, or empty text frame at any anchor point or along any segment. When you split a path, keep the following in mind:
If you want to split a closed path into two open paths, you must slice in two places along the path. If you slice a closed path only once, you get a single path with a gap in it.
Any paths resulting from a split inherit the path settings of the original path, such as stroke weight and fill color. You may need to reset stroke alignment from inside to outside.
Use the Smooth tool to remove excess angles from an existing path or a section of a path. The Smooth tool retains the original shape of the path as nearly as possible. Smoothed paths generally have fewer points, which can make them easier to edit, display, and print.
If the Pencil tool is selected, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) to temporarily change the Pencil to the Smooth tool.
Controls how far your curves can stray before you have to modify the path. With lower Fidelity values, the curves will closely match the pointer’s movement, resulting in sharper angles. With higher Fidelity values, the path will ignore small pointer movements, resulting in smoother curves. The pixel value range is 0.5 to 20 pixels.
Controls the amount of smoothing applied when you use the tool. Smoothness can range from 0% to 100%; the higher the value, the smoother the path.
Determines whether to keep the path selected after you smooth it.
Drag around the anchor points you want to select.
Hold down Shift as you click the anchor points you want to select.
Selected points that act as the focal point move with the selection tool during dragging.
Selected points that aren’t the focal point move in tandem with the dragged focal point.
Unselected anchor points are not affected by reshaping.
The Position tool is not available in InDesign CS5. Instead, you can use the Selection tool to select and manipulate either the frame or the content within the frame. See Select objects.