Draw straight lines using the Line Segment tool

Use the Line Segment tool when you want to draw one straight line segment at a time. For a learning game that will help you learn to use the Line Segment tool, see How to use the Line tool.

  1. Select the Line Segment tool .

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Position the pointer where you want the line to begin, and drag to where you want the line to end.

    • Click where you want the line to begin, and specify the length and angle of the line. If you want to fill the line with the current fill color, select Fill Line. Then click OK.

Draw rectangles and squares

  1. Select the Rectangle tool  or the Rounded Rectangle tool .

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To draw a rectangle, drag diagonally until the rectangle is the desired size.

    • To draw a square, hold down the Shift key while you drag diagonally until the square is the desired size.

    • To create a square or rectangle using values, click where you want the top-left corner to be. Specify a width and height (and a corner radius for a rounded rectangle), and click OK.

For a video on using shape tools, see How to draw basic shapes.

Specify the corner radius of a rounded rectangle

The corner radius determines the roundness of the rectangle’s corners. You can change the default radius for all new rectangles, and you can change the radius for individual rectangles as you draw them.

  • To change the default corner radius, choose Edit> Preferences > General (Windows) or Illustrator > Preferences > General (Mac OS), and enter a new value for Corner Radius. Alternatively, select the Rounded Rectangle tool, click in the document window, and enter a new value for Corner Radius. The default radius applies only to new rounded rectangles you draw, not to existing rounded rectangles.

  • To change the corner radius while dragging with the Rounded Rectangle tool, press the Up Arrow key or Down Arrow key. When the corners are the desired roundness, release the key.

  • To create square corners while dragging with the Rounded Rectangle tool, press the Left Arrow key.

  • To create the most rounded corners while dragging with the Rounded Rectangle tool, press the Right Arrow key.

Note:

You can't change the corner radius after you’ve drawn a rounded rectangle. If you feel that you might need to change the corner radius, draw a normal rectangle and choose Effect > Convert to Shape > Rounded Rectangle and specify the rounded rectangle parameters. To change the corner radius or other parameters, modify the effect parameters in the Appearance panel.

Draw ellipses

  1. Select the Ellipse tool . Click and hold the rectangle tool to see and choose the ellipse tool. For more information on selecting tools, see Select a tool.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Drag diagonally until the ellipse is the desired size.

    • Click where you want the top-left corner of the ellipse’s bounding box to be. Specify a width and height for the ellipse, and click OK.

      Note: To create a circle, hold down the Shift key while dragging. To specify dimensions, once you’ve entered a width value, click the word Height to copy that value into the Height box.

For a video on using shape tools, see How to draw basic shapes.

Draw polygons

  1. Select the Polygon tool .

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Drag until the polygon is the desired size. Drag the pointer in an arc to rotate the polygon. Press the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to add and remove sides from the polygon.

    • Click where you want the center of the polygon to be. Specify a radius and number of sides for the polygon, and click OK.

Note:

Triangles are polygons too! You can draw one just as you would any other polygon.

For a video on using shape tools, see How to draw basic shapes.

Draw stars

  1. Select the Star tool .

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Drag until the star is the desired size. Drag the pointer in an arc to rotate the star. Press the Up Arrow and Down Arrow to add and remove points from the star.

    • Click where you want the center of the star to be. For Radius 1, specify the distance from the center of the star to the star’s innermost points. For Radius 2, specify the distance from the center of the star to the star’s outermost points. For Points, specify how many points you want the star to have. Then click OK. To increase or decrease the number of points in the star, you can also use the up and down arrow keys while drawing the star.

For a video on using shape tools, see How to draw basic shapes.

Draw arcs

  1. Select the Arc tool .

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Position the pointer where you want the arc to begin, and drag to where you want the arc to end.

    • Click where you want the arc to begin. In the dialog box, click a square on the reference point locator  to determine the point from which the arc is drawn. Then set any of the following options, and click OK.

      Length X‑Axis

      Specifies the width of the arc.

      Length Y‑Axis

      Specifies the height of the arc.

      Type

      Specifies whether you want the object to be an open path or a closed path.

      Base Along

      Specifies the direction of the arc. Choose X Axis or Y Axis depending on whether you want to draw the base of the arc along the horizontal (x) axis or vertical (y) axis.

      Slope

      Specifies 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

      Fills the arc with the current fill color.

      Note: To see a dynamic preview of the arc as you set options, double-click the arc tool in the Tools panel.

For a video on using shape tools, see How to draw basic shapes.

Draw spirals

  1. Select the Spiral tool .

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Drag until the spiral is the desired size. Drag the pointer in an arc to rotate the spiral.

    • Click where you want the spiral to begin. In the dialog box, set any of the following options, and click OK.

      Radius

      Specifies the distance from the center to the outermost point in the spiral.

      Decay

      Specifies the amount by which each wind of the spiral should decrease relative to the previous wind.

      Segments

      Specifies how many segments the spiral has. Each full wind of the spiral consists of four segments.

      Style

      Specifies the direction of the spiral.

For a video on using shape tools, see How to draw basic shapes

Draw grids

The grid tools help you quickly draw rectangular and polar grids. Use the Rectangular Grid tool to create rectangular grids of a specified size with a specified number of dividers. Use the Polar Grid tool to create concentric circles of a specified size and a specified number of dividers.

Draw rectangular grids

  1. Select the Rectangular Grid tool .

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Drag until the grid is the desired size.

    • Click to set the grid’s reference point. In the dialog box, click a square on the reference point locator  to determine the point from which the grid is drawn. Then set any of the following options, and click OK.

      Default Size

      Specifies the width and height of the entire grid.

      Horizontal Dividers

      Specifies the number of horizontal dividers you want to appear between the top and bottom of the grid. The Skew value determines how the horizontal dividers are weighted toward the top or bottom of the grid.

      Vertical Dividers

      Specifies the number of dividers you want to appear between the left and right sides of the grid. The Skew value determines how the vertical dividers are weighted to the left or right side.

      Use Outside Rectangle As Frame

      Replaces the top, bottom, left, and right segments with a separate rectangular object.

      Fill Grid

      Fills the grid with the current fill color (otherwise, the fill is set to none).

Draw circular (polar) grids

  1. Select the Polar Grid tool .

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Drag until the grid is the desired size.

    • Click to set the grid’s reference point. In the dialog box, click a square on the reference point locator  to determine the point from which the grid is drawn. Then set any of the following options, and click OK.

      Default Size

      Specifies the width and height of the entire grid.

      Concentric Dividers

      Specifies the number of circular concentric dividers you want to appear in the grid. The Skew value determines how the concentric dividers are weighted toward the inside or outside of the grid.

      Radial Dividers

      Specifies the number of radial dividers you want to appear between the center and the circumference of the grid. The Skew value determines how the radial dividers are weighted counterclockwise or clockwise on the grid.

      Create Compound Path From Ellipses

      Converts the concentric circles into separate compound paths and fill every other circle.

      Fill Grid

      Fills the grid with the current fill color (otherwise, the fill is set to none).

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