Transforming encompasses moving, rotating, reflecting, scaling, and shearing objects. You can transform objects using the Transform panel, Object > Transform commands, and specialized tools. You can also perform many types of transformations by dragging the bounding box for a selection.

Sometimes you may want to repeat the same transformation several times, especially when you are copying objects. The Transform Again command in the Object menu lets you repeat a move, scale, rotate, reflect, or shear operation as many times as you want, until you perform a different transform operation.


Use the Info panel to view the current dimensions and position of your selection as you transform it.

For a video on scaling, skewing, and rotating objects, see

Transform panel overview

The Transform panel (Window > Transform) displays information about the location, size, and orientation of one or more selected objects. By typing new values, you can modify the selected objects, their pattern fills, or both. You can also change the transformation reference point and lock the object’s proportions.

All values in the panel refer to the bounding boxes of the objects except for the X and Y values, which refer to the selected reference point. To pixel-align individual objects to pixel grid, check the Align to Pixel Grid check box.

note: The reference point locator in the Transform panel specifies an object’s reference point only when you transform the object by changing the values in the panel. Other methods of transforming (such as using the Scale tool) use the object’s center point or the pointer location as the reference point.

Transform panel
Transform panel

A. Reference point locator B. Panel menu C. Lock proportions icon 

Transform an object’s patterns

When you move, rotate, reflect (flip), scale, or shear an object that is filled with a pattern, you can transform just the object, just the pattern, or both the object and pattern. Once you transform an object’s fill pattern, all patterns that you subsequently apply to that object are transformed the same way.

  • To specify how you want to transform patterns when using the Transform panel, select an option from the panel menu: Transform Object Only, Transform Pattern Only, or Transform Both.
  • To specify how you want to transform patterns when using a transform command, set the Objects and Patterns options in the corresponding dialog box. For example, select Patterns and deselect Objects if you want to transform the pattern but not the object.
  • To transform patterns but not objects when using a transform tool, hold down the tilde key (~) while dragging. The borders of the object appear to be transformed, but when you release the mouse button, the borders snap back to their original configuration, leaving only the pattern transformed.
  • To prevent patterns from transforming when using transform tools, choose Edit > Preferences > General (Windows) or Illustrator > Preferences > General (Mac OS) and deselect Transform Pattern Tiles.
  • To return an object’s fill pattern to its original state, fill the object with a solid color, and then reselect the desired pattern.

Transform using the bounding box

When you select one or more objects with the Selection tool, a bounding box displays around them. Use the bounding box to easily move, rotate, duplicate, and scale objects by dragging the object or a handle (one of the hollow squares along the bounding box).

  • To hide the bounding box, choose View > Hide Bounding Box.
  • To show the bounding box, choose View > Show Bounding Box.
  • To reorient the bounding box after you rotate it, choose Object > Transform > Reset Bounding Box.
Transform using the bounding box
Selected objects before (left) compared to after (right) scaling using the bounding box

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