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Draw and modify simple lines and shapes

Use the shape tools to effortlessly draw basic shapes like line segments, rectangles, and circles.

The shape tools in Illustrator let you create basic shapes with precision and ease. What's more, most shapes crafted using these tools are live shapes, enabling you to adjust them dynamically without the need to switch to a different tool.

Draw basic shapes

You can find most shape tools when you select and hold the Rectangle     tool  tool in the toolbar. To find the other shape tools, select   at the bottom of the toolbar.

  

Select the Rectangle (M) tool and drag on the canvas to draw a rectangle. Press Shift as you drag to draw a square.

  

Select the Rounded Rectangle tool and drag on the canvas to draw a rounded rectangle.

  

Select the Ellipse (L) tool and then drag on the canvas to draw an ellipse. Press Shift as you drag to draw a circle.

  

Select the Polygon tool, select the canvas, and specify the Sides of the polygon.

  

Select the Star (S) tool and then drag on the canvas to draw a star.

  

Select the Line Segment (\) tool and then drag on the canvas to draw a line.

  

Select the Arc tool and then drag on the canvas to draw an arc.

  

Select the Spiral tool and then drag on the canvas to draw a spiral.

 

Select the Shaper tool and draw rough shapes such as polygons, circles, and rectangles. The Shaper tool converts them to perfect geometrical shapes.

The shapes that you draw with the Rectangle tool, Rounded Rectangle tool, Ellipse tool, Polygon tool, Line Segment tool, and Shaper tool are live shapes.

Draw basic shapes using advanced options

Draw lines

  1. Select the Line Segment  tool.

  2. Click on the canvas where you want the line to begin. In the dialog box, specify the Length and the Angle of the line. If you want to fill the line with the current fill color, select Fill Line.

Draw arcs

  1. Select the Arc  tool.

  2. Click on the canvas where you want the arc to begin. In the Arc Segment Tool Options dialog box, set the following options:

    •   : Select the reference point locator to determine the point from which the arc is drawn. 
    • Length X‑Axis: Specify the width of the arc.
    • Length Y‑Axis: Specify the height of the arc.
    • Type: Specify whether you want the arc to be an open path or a closed path.
    • Base Along: Specify the direction of the arc. Select X Axis or Y Axis depending on whether you want to draw the arc's base along the horizontal (X) or vertical (Y) axes.
    • Slope: Specify the direction of the arc’s slope. Enter a negative value for a concave (inward) slope. Enter a positive value for a convex (outward) slope. A slope of 0 creates a straight line.
    • Fill Arc: Fill the arc with the current fill color.

Draw spirals

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  1. Select the Spiral  tool.

  2. Click on the canvas where you want the spiral to begin. In the Spiral dialog box, set the following options:

    • Radius: Specify the distance from the center to the outermost point in the spiral.
    • Decay: Specify the amount by which each wind of the spiral should decrease relative to the previous wind.
    • Segments: Specify how many segments the spiral has. Each full wind of the spiral consists of four segments.
    • Style: Specify the direction of the spiral.

Draw stars

  1. Select the Star  tool.

  2. Click on the canvas where you want the center of the star to begin. In the Star dialog box, set the following options:

    • Radius 1: Specify the distance from the star's center to the star’s innermost points.
    • Radius 2: Specify the distance from the star's center to the star’s outermost points.
    • Points: Specify how many points (arms) you want the star to have.

    You can also use the up and down arrow keys to increase or decrease the number of Points in the star.

Modify shapes

Once you create a shape, you can modify its attributes from the Transform, Appearance, and Align sections of the Properties panel. For more options, select   in each of these sections.

In addition, to modify live shapes, you can use the on-shape control widgets as follows:

Scale live shapes

Rotate live shapes

To scale a live shape, drag any of its eight bounding box handles.

To rotate a live shape, move the cursor toward an anchor point until you see the Rotate  icon, and then drag.

Move live shapes

Create pie shapes

To move a live shape, drag its center point widget to the desired area.

To create a pie shape, drag the pie widget of an ellipse.

Add or remove sides from polygons

Change the corner radius of live shapes

To change the number of the sides of a polygon, drag its side widget.

To change the corner radius of a live shape, drag any Live Corner widget.

Use Live Corner widgets to reshape corners

When you switch to the Direct Selection tool, a Live Corner widget appears next to each corner point. Dragging a Live Corner widget causes the corner point to change shape into one of three available corner types. The three available corner types are round, inverted round, and chamfer.

  1. Select the Direct Selection  tool.

  2. Drag a Live Corner widget to automatically drag all corners, or select and drag a specific Live Corner widget.

Change the corner settings

The Corners dialog lets you modify corner settings. In the Corners dialog, you can set the corner style, the radius of the corner, and the type of rounding. To modify the corner settings:

  1. Double-click a Live Corner widget.

  2. Select the widget's Corner and Rounding styles, and then specify a corner Radius.

Tips and tricks

  • You can't change the corner radius after drawing a rounded rectangle. If you feel that you might need to change the corner radius, draw a regular rectangle, select Effect > Convert to Shape > Rounded Rectangle, and then specify the rounded rectangle parameters.

  • To hide or view Live Corner widgets when you select the Direct Selection tool, select View > Hide Corner Widget or View > Show Corner Widget.
  • To enhance the live appearance of objects when you work on them, select the following option: 
    • Edit > Preferences > Performance > Real-Time Drawing and Editing (Windows)
    • Illustrator > Preferences > Performance > Real-Time Drawing and Editing (macOS)
  • To hide Live Corner widgets for corner angles greater than a specified value, select the following option:
    • Edit > Preferences > Selection & Anchor Display > Hide Corner Widget for angles greater than (Windows)
    • IllustratorPreferences > Selection & Anchor Display > Hide Corner Widget for angles greater than (macOS)

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