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Tools in Illustrator

  1. Illustrator User Guide
  2. Get to know Illustrator
    1. Introduction to Illustrator
      1. What's new in Illustrator
      2. Common questions
      3. Illustrator system requirements
      4. Illustrator for Apple silicon
    2. Workspace
      1. Workspace basics
      2. Learn faster with the Illustrator Discover panel
      3. Create documents
      4. Toolbar
      5. Default keyboard shortcuts
      6. Customize keyboard shortcuts
      7. Introduction to artboards
      8. Manage artboards
      9. Customize the workspace
      10. Properties panel
      11. Set preferences
      12. Touch Workspace
      13. Microsoft Surface Dial support in Illustrator
      14. Undo edits and manage design history
      15. Rotate view
      16. Rulers, grids, and guides
      17. Accessibility in Illustrator
      18. Safe Mode
      19. View artwork
      20. Use the Touch Bar with Illustrator
      21. Files and templates
    3. Tools in Illustrator
      1. Tools at a glance
      2. Select tools
        1. Selection
        2. Direct Selection
        3. Group Selection
        4. Magic Wand
        5. Lasso
        6. Artboard
      3. Navigate tools
        1. Hand
        2. Rotate View
        3. Zoom
      4. Paint tools
        1. Gradient
        2. Mesh
        3. Shape Builder
      5. Text tools
        1. Type
        2. Type on a Path
        3. Vertical Type
      6. Draw tools
        1. Pen
        2. Add Anchor Point
        3. Delete Anchor Point
        4. Anchor Point
        5. Curvature
        6. Line Segment
        7. Rectangle
        8. Rounded Rectangle
        9. Ellipse
        10. Polygon
        11. Star
        12. Paintbrush
        13. Blob Brush
        14. Pencil
        15. Shaper
        16. Slice
      7. Modify tools
        1. Rotate
        2. Reflect
        3. Scale
        4. Shear
        5. Width
        6. Free Transform
        7. Eyedropper
        8. Blend
        9. Eraser
        10. Scissors
        11. Dimension
    4. Generative AI (not available in mainland China)
      1. Generate a vector graphic using a text prompt
      2. Recolor your artwork using a text prompt
    5. Quick actions
      1. Retro text
      2. Neon glow text
      3. Old school text
      4. Recolor
      5. Convert sketch to vector
  3. Illustrator on the web (beta)
    1. Illustrator on the web (beta) overview
    2. Illustrator on the web (beta) FAQ
    3. Troubleshooting issues FAQ
    4. Keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator on the web (beta)
    5. Create and combine shapes on the web
    6. Add and edit text on the web
    7. Apply colors and gradients on the web
    8. Draw and edit paths on the web
    9. Work with cloud documents on the web
    10. Invite collaborators to edit on the web
  4. Illustrator on the iPad
    1. Introduction to Illustrator on the iPad
      1. Illustrator on the iPad overview
      2. Illustrator on the iPad FAQs
      3. System requirements | Illustrator on the iPad
      4. What you can or cannot do on Illustrator on the iPad
    2. Workspace
      1. Illustrator on the iPad workspace
      2. Touch shortcuts and gestures
      3. Keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator on the iPad
      4. Manage your app settings
    3. Documents
      1. Work with documents in Illustrator on the iPad
      2. Import Photoshop and Fresco documents
    4. Select and arrange objects
      1. Create repeat objects
      2. Blend objects
    5. Drawing
      1. Draw and edit paths
      2. Draw and edit shapes
    6. Type
      1. Work with type and fonts
      2. Create text designs along a path
      3. Add your own fonts
    7. Work with images
      1. Vectorize raster images
    8. Color
      1. Apply colors and gradients
  5. Cloud documents
    1. Basics
      1. Work with Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Share and collaborate on Illustrator cloud documents
      3. Share documents for review
      4. Upgrade cloud storage for Adobe Illustrator
      5. Illustrator cloud documents | Common questions
    2. Troubleshooting
      1. Troubleshoot create or save issues for Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Troubleshoot Illustrator cloud documents issues
  6. Add and edit content
    1. Drawing and dimensioning
      1. Drawing basics
      2. Edit paths
      3. Draw pixel-perfect art
      4. Draw with the Pen, Curvature, or Pencil tool
      5. Draw simple lines and shapes
      6. Draw rectangular and polar grids
      7. Draw and edit flares
      8. Image Trace
      9. Simplify a path
      10. Symbolism tools and symbol sets
      11. Adjust path segments
      12. Design a flower in 5 easy steps
      13. Create and edit a perspective grid
      14. Draw and modify objects on a perspective grid
      15. Use objects as symbols for repeat use
      16. Draw pixel-aligned paths for web workflows
      17. Measure and plot dimensions
    2. 3D objects and materials
      1. About 3D effects in Illustrator
      2. Create 3D graphics
      3. Map artwork over 3D objects
      4. Create 3D Text
      5. Create 3D objects
    3. Color
      1. About color
      2. Select colors
      3. Use and create swatches
      4. Adjust colors
      5. Use the Adobe Color Themes panel
      6. Color groups (harmonies)
      7. Color Themes panel
      8. Recolor your artwork
    4. Painting
      1. About painting
      2. Paint with fills and strokes
      3. Live Paint groups
      4. Gradients
      5. Brushes
      6. Transparency and blending modes
      7. Apply stroke on an object
      8. Create and edit patterns
      9. Meshes
      10. Patterns
    5. Select and arrange objects
      1. Select objects
      2. Layers
      3. Group and expand objects
      4. Move, align, and distribute objects
      5. Stack objects    
      6. Lock, hide, and delete objects
      7. Copy and duplicate objects
      8. Rotate and reflect objects
      9. Intertwine objects
      10. Create realistic art mockups
    6. Reshape objects
      1. Crop images
      2. Transform objects
      3. Combine objects
      4. Cut, divide, and trim objects
      5. Puppet Warp
      6. Scale, shear, and distort objects
      7. Blend objects
      8. Reshape using envelopes
      9. Reshape objects with effects
      10. Build new shapes with Shaper and Shape Builder tools
      11. Work with Live Corners
      12. Enhanced reshape workflows with touch support
      13. Edit clipping masks
      14. Live shapes
      15. Create shapes using the Shape Builder tool
      16. Global editing
    7. Type
      1. Add text and work with type objects
      2. Create bulleted and numbered lists
      3. Manage text area
      4. Fonts and typography
      5. Convert text within images into editable text
      6. Add basic formatting to text
      7. Add advanced formatting to text
      8. Import and export text
      9. Format paragraphs
      10. Special characters
      11. Create type on a path
      12. Character and paragraph styles
      13. Tabs
      14. Find missing fonts (Typekit workflow)
      15. Arabic and Hebrew type
      16. Fonts | FAQ and troubleshooting tips
      17. Create 3D text effect
      18. Creative typography designs
      19. Scale and rotate type
      20. Line and character spacing
      21. Hyphenation and line breaks
      22. Spelling and language dictionaries
      23. Format Asian characters
      24. Composers for Asian scripts
      25. Create text designs with blend objects
      26. Create a text poster using Image Trace
    8. Create special effects
      1. Work with effects
      2. Graphic styles
      3. Appearance attributes
      4. Create sketches and mosaics
      5. Drop shadows, glows, and feathering
      6. Summary of effects
    9. Web graphics
      1. Best practices for creating web graphics
      2. Graphs
      3. SVG
      4. Slices and image maps
  7. Import, export, and save
    1. Import
      1. Place multiple files
      2. Manage linked and embedded files
      3. Links information
      4. Unembed images
      5. Import artwork from Photoshop
      6. Import bitmap images
      7. Import Adobe PDF files
      8. Import EPS, DCS, and AutoCAD files
    2. Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator 
      1. Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator
    3. Save
      1. Save artwork
    4. Export
      1. Use Illustrator artwork in Photoshop
      2. Export artwork
      3. Collect assets and export in batches
      4. Package files
      5. Create Adobe PDF files
      6. Extract CSS | Illustrator CC
      7. Adobe PDF options
      8. Document info panel
  8. Printing
    1. Prepare for printing
      1. Set up documents for printing
      2. Change the page size and orientation
      3. Specify crop marks for trimming or aligning
      4. Get started with large canvas
    2. Printing
      1. Overprint
      2. Print with color management
      3. PostScript printing
      4. Print presets
      5. Printer's marks and bleeds
      6. Print and save transparent artwork
      7. Trapping
      8. Print color separations
      9. Print gradients, meshes, and color blends
      10. White Overprint
  9. Automate tasks
    1. Data merge using the Variables panel
    2. Automation with scripts
    3. Automation with actions
  10. Troubleshooting 
    1. Known issues
    2. Crash issues
    3. Recover files after crash
    4. File issues
    5. Supported file formats
    6. GPU device driver issues
    7. Wacom device issues
    8. DLL file issues
    9. Memory issues
    10. Preferences file issues
    11. Font issues
    12. Printer issues
    13. Share crash report with Adobe
    14. Improve Illustrator performance

Learn about the tools in Illustrator that will help you create stunning artwork.

Illustrator tools help you create and refine your artwork with speed, precision, and ease. Based on your expertise and requirements, pick your tools or a combination to draw, paint, reshape, and much more! 

Get to know your Illustrator toolbar

When you open a document in Illustrator, the default toolbar appears at the left of the screen. It includes a set of tools that you frequently need while working in Illustrator.

Hover over the tools to display a visual tool description.

Press and hold tool icons to view more hidden tools.

Click the Edit Toolbar icon         to view the complete list of tools.

Types of tools in Illustrator

Tools in Illustrator are divided into six categories. Select any of these categories to learn about the tools within them. 

Draw tools

Select tools

Navigate tools

Paint tools

Text tools

Modify tools

Draw tools

Draw tools help you to draw and edit objects and paths, and create perspective. You can also add symbols and graphs to your artwork.

Watch this animation to see some of the Draw tools in action.

Pen tool

Pen tool[P]lets you draw connected lines and curves with precision using anchor points and direction handles.

Pencil tool

Pencil tool[N]lets you draw freehand paths like drawing with a pencil.

Add Anchor Point tool

Add Anchor Point tool[+]lets you add anchor points on paths.

Delete Anchor Point tool

Delete Anchor Point tool[-]lets you remove anchor points from paths.

Anchor Point tool

Anchor Point tool[Shift+C]lets you convert from corner points to smooth anchor points, and adjust the direction handles if smooth.

Curvature tool

Curvature tool[Shift+~]lets you draw and edit connected lines and curves easily using anchor points.

Line segment tool

Line Segment tool[\]lets you draw line segments.

Arc tool

Arc tool lets you draw arcs.

Spiral tool

Spiral tool lets you draw spirals and rotate them to adjust the size.

Rectangular grid tool

Rectangular Grid tool lets you add rectangular grids.

Polar grid tool

Polar Grid tool lets you add polar grids containing concentric circles and radial divisions.

Rectangle tool

Rectangle tool [M]lets you draw rectangles and squares.

Rounded rectangle tool

Rounded Rectangle tool lets you draw rectangles with rounded corners.

Ellipse tool

Ellipse tool [L]lets you draw ellipses and circles.

Polygon tool

Polygon tool lets you draw polygons of up to 1000 sides.

Star tool

Star tool lets you draw stars of up to 1000 arms.

Flare tool

Flare tool lets you add flare objects that have a bright center, a halo, rays, and rings.

Paintbrush tool

Paintbrush tool[B]lets you apply brush strokes freehand.

Blob brush tool

Blob Brush tool[Shift+B]lets you draw filled shapes freehand.

Smooth tool

Smooth tool lets you draw over an existing path to smooth it.

Path Eraser tool

Path Eraser tool lets you erase parts of a path segment by drawing over the path.

Join tool

Join tool lets you join two paths to create a single path.

Shaper tool

Shaper tool[Shift+N]lets you sketch rough freehand shapes and converts them into crisp vector shapes.

Symbol sprayer tool

Symbol Sprayer tool[Shift+S]lets you create multiple instances of a symbol picked from the Symbols panel.

Symbol shifter tool

Symbol Shifter tool lets you rearrange symbol instances in a symbol set.

Symbol scruncher tool

Symbol Scruncher tool lets you adjust the spacing between symbol instances in a symbol set.

Symbol sizer tool

Symbol Sizer tool lets you resize symbol instances.

Symbol spinner tool

Symbol Spinner tool lets you rotate symbol instances.

Symbol stainer tool

Symbol Stainer tool lets you gradually change the hue of symbol instances.

Symbol screener tool

Symbol Screener tool lets you adjust transparency of symbol instances.

Symbol Styler tool

Symbol Styler tool lets you apply a style from the Graphic Styles panel to symbol instances.

Column Graph tool

Column Graph tool[J]lets you create a graph with data presented as vertical bars.

Stacked column graph tool

Stacked Column Graph tool lets you create a column graph with partitions that correspond to components of the whole.

Bar Graph tool

Bar Graph tool lets you create a graph with data presented as horizontal bars.

Stacked bar graph tool

Stacked Bar Graph tool lets you create a bar graph with partitions that correspond to components of the whole.

Line Graph tool

Line Graph tool lets you create a graph with lines connecting individual data points, showing the data trend.

Area Graph tool

Area Graph tool lets you create a graph with lines connecting individual data points, and fills the area below the line with a solid color.

Scatter Graph tool

Scatter Graph tool lets you create a graph using x-axis and y-axis values.

Pie Graph tool

Pie Graph tool lets you create a circular graph with slices corresponding to the proportions of data components.

Radar Graph tool

Radar Graph tool lets you create a circular graph with axes that grow outward from the center, in which each axis represents a variable.

Slice tool

Slice tool[Shift+K]lets you divide the artboard into different areas and save them as separate images.

Slice selection tool

Slice Selection tool lets you select, move, or transform a slice.

Perspective Grid tool

Perspective Grid Tool [Shift+P]lets you show, move, and adjust the perspective grid.

Perspective Selection tool

Perspective Selection tool[Shift+V]lets you select, move, scale, and duplicate objects that are in perspective, or bring an existing object into perspective.

Select tools

Before you work on your artwork, you need to select some or all of its elements. Select tools let you not just select, but move, rotate, scale, and transform your artwork, with varying degrees of precision.

Watch this animation to see some of the Select tools in action. Use the practice file to try them out.

Selection tool

Selection tool [V] lets you select an object or a group of objects to move and resize.

Direct Selection tool

Direct Selection tool [A] lets you select anchor points and path segments to reshape objects.

Group Selection tool

Group Selection tool lets you select an object within a group, or a group of objects within a parent group.

Magic Wand tool

Magic Wand tool [Y] lets you select objects that share an attribute, like color or opacity.

Lasso tool

Lasso tool [Q] lets you drag to draw a shape around the elements that you want to select.

Artboard tool

Artboard tool [Shift+O] lets you select, create, and adjust artboards on the canvas.

Navigate tools

Navigate tools let you set your focus on an area of the artwork. You can perform basic actions like zoom in or out, rotate the view, drag artwork, or add grids to work on the canvas.

Watch this animation to see some of the Navigate tools in action.

Hand tool

Hand tool[H]lets you move the canvas around to view parts of your artwork.

Print Tiling tool

Print Tiling tool lets you adjust the printable area of artboards.

Rotate View tool

Rotate View tool [Shift+H]lets you change the canvas orientation to a specific angle.

Zoom tool

Zoom tool[Z]lets you zoom in and out of the canvas.

Paint tools

Illustrator offers a fine collection of vector brushes with which you can apply fills and strokes to elements in your artwork. You can also add blends and build complex shapes to get the desired visual effect.

Watch this animation to see some of the Paint tools in action. Use the practice file to try them out.

Gradient tool

Gradient tool[G]lets you create a gradual blend between colors.

 Mesh tool

Mesh tool[U]lets you blend colors and create contours on the surfaces of objects.

Shape Builder tool

Shape Builder tool[Shift+M]lets you create complex shapes by merging and erasing simpler objects.

Live Paint Bucket tool

Live Paint Bucket tool[K]lets you create a Live Paint group and apply color, patterns, or gradients to different elements.

Live Paint Selection

Live Paint Selection tool[Shift+L]lets you select elements of the Live Paint group.

Text tools

Text tools help you to add and edit text (type) in your artwork. Apart from plain text, you can also add text on a path or in an area, and apply the desired text effects.

Watch this animation to see some of the Text tools in action.

Type tool

Type tool[T]lets you enter text at a point or in an area.

Area Type

Area Type tool lets you use the boundaries of objects to enter and control the flow of text.

Type on a Path tool

Type on a Path tool lets you enter text along the shape of a path.

Vertical Type tool

Vertical Type tool lets you enter text vertically at a point.

Vertical Area Type tool

Vertical Area Type tool lets you use the boundaries of objects to enter and control the flow of vertical text.

Vertical Type on a Path tool

Vertical Type On A Path tool lets you enter vertical text along the shape of a path.

Touch Type tool

Touch Type tool[Shift+T]lets you move, scale, and rotate individual characters in a word.

Modify tools

Use advanced Modify tools in Illustrator to manipulate objects and paths.

Watch this animation to see some of the Modify tools in action. Use the practice file to try them out.

Rotate tool

Rotate tool[R]lets you rotate an object around a reference point.

Reflect tool

Reflect tool[O]lets you flip an object over a reference point.

Scale tool

Scale tool[S]lets you resize an object relative to a reference point.

Shear tool

Shear tool lets you slant or skew an object relative to a reference point.

Reshape tool

Reshape tool lets you reshape a path relative to an anchor point on the path.

width tool

Width tool[Shift+W]lets you change the thickness of strokes.

Warp tool

Warp tool[Shift+R]lets you shape an object inward or outward.

Twirl tool

Twirl tool lets you twirl an object around a reference point.

Pucker tool

Pucker tool lets you stretch or shrink an object to give a spiky appearance.

Bloat tool

Bloat tool lets you stretch or shrink an object to give a rounded appearance.

Scallop tool

Scallop tool lets you add rounded projections on an object's outline.

Crystallize tool

Crystallize tool lets you add spiky structures on an object's outline.

Wrinkle tool

Wrinkle tool lets you add wrinkled structures on an object's outline.

Puppet warp tool

Puppet Warp tool lets you add pins to warp an object.

Free transform tool

Free Transform tool[E]lets you distort an object freeform.

Measure tool

Measure tool lets you measure the distance between two points.

Eye dropper tool

Eyedropper tool[I]lets you pick a color from one object and apply it to another.

Blend tool

Blend tool[W]lets you blend objects or paths together.

Eraser tool

Eraser tool[Shift+E]lets you remove parts of the artwork.

Scissors tool

Scissors tool[C]lets you split a path at a segment or an anchor point.

Knife tool

Knife tool lets you cut out objects or text along a freehand path. 

Dimension tool

Dimension tool lets you easily measure and plot dimensions such as distance, angle, and radius. 

Customize the Illustrator toolbar

As you get more familiar with Illustrator tools, you can customize the toolbar according to your preference. You can choose to group frequently used tools and place them at the top of the toolbar or hide those tools you don't use frequently.

Learn more

While these tools are powerful in themselves, experienced users often combine multiple tools to achieve more precise and complex results. Watch some tutorials and try out beginner projects to learn how to combine various tools.

If you'd like to be part of a lively creative community, share your artwork on Behance, Adobe's own platform.

Can't find the Illustrator toolbar?

The Illustrator toolbar should appear on the left of your canvas by default. If you're unable to locate it or closed it by mistake, learn how to bring back the toolbar.

Have a question or an idea?

Ask the Community

If you have a question to ask or an idea to share, come and participate in Adobe Illustrator Community. We'd love to hear from you.


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Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online