Create Live Shapes and lines in Adobe Illustrator. Once they're created, use control widgets to dynamically modify the width, height, and corner radius properties to create the exact shape you want.

Draw a Live Rectangle

Select the Rectangle tool in the toolbar, and drag on the artboard. To change the corner radii, drag any of the four corner widgets. A red arc appears when you reach the maximum corner radius.

To modify a single radius, use the Direct Selection tool to click an anchor point, and then click the corner widget and drag to edit.

Scale a rectangle by dragging any of the eight bounding box handles. To rotate, move the pointer away from a corner until you see the Rotate icon, and then drag.

Use the center point widget to reposition the shape with the shape tool selected.


Edit a shape precisely

In the Transform section of the Properties panel, you can change the shape's dimensions, rotation angle, and other attributes. Click More Options (three dots) to view additional shape properties like corners.

Tip: To reset a rotated shape or path to its original angle, simply choose 0° in the Rotate field.


Draw a Live Polygon

Press and hold the Rectangle tool in the toolbar to view other nested shape tools. Select the Polygon tool, and drag a shape on the artboard.

The default polygon is six-sided, but you can drag its side widget to dynamically change the number of sides. Alternatively, click More options in the Transform section of the Properties panel, and use the slider or enter the number of sides.

You can scale polygons non-uniformly without losing their live characteristics. To return a shape to an equal-sided polygon, click Make Sides Equal.


Round Live Polygon corners

Drag the single rounded corner widget to round all corners of a polygon. To modify a corner individually, use the Direct Selection tool and click a corner widget of a single corner.

Tip: Option-click (MacOS) or Alt-click (Windows) the corner widget to cycle through styles, such as Round, Inverted Round, and Chamfer. 


Draw a Live Ellipse

Press and hold the Polygon tool and select the Ellipse tool in the toolbar. Drag to create an oval. You can change the dimensions of a Live Ellipse dynamically by dragging the bounding box handles.

Shift-drag a bounding box handle to resize the shape proportionally. Press Option+Shift (MacOS) or Alt+Shift (Windows) and drag to scale proportionally from the center.

To rotate an ellipse, move the pointer away from a bounding box handle until you see the Rotate icon. Then drag to rotate. A tooltip appears showing the rotation angle. 

Tip: Press Shift while rotating to snap to 45° angles.


Make some pies

Select an ellipse and drag one of the pie widgets to create a pie shape. In the Transform section of the Properties panel, click More Options. Click the Invert Pie button (double arrows) to create a wedge shape.

Tip: To reset a pie shape back to an ellipse, double-click one of the pie widgets.


Draw a Live Line

Press and hold the Ellipse tool in the toolbar and select the Line Segment tool. As you drag a line, a tooltip provides instant readouts for the length and angle. 

To rotate the line, move the pointer away from an end widget until you see the Rotate icon. Then drag to rotate. The line rotates around its center.


Easily resize and align

Resize a line by dragging the end widgets. Or click More Options in the Transform section and type the desired length and angle. 

The center point widget makes it easy to locate the line’s center — to precisely position and align objects with the center.


Draw precise, perfect shapes every time

With Smart Guides turned on (View > Smart Guides), colored guidelines appear to provide hints as you draw. For example:

  • As you drag the end of a line to extend it, a hinting guide appears along its trajectory.
  • A diagonal guide appears inside a rectangle as you draw a square.
  • Hinting crosshairs appear inside an ellipse as you draw a perfect circle.

Align adjacent objects accurately

Helpful alignment and equal-spacing guides appear when you move and position objects in relation to each other or to other objects on the artboard with Smart Guides on (View > Smart Guides).


Practice drawing variations of these common shapes — they’re the foundation of more complex illustrations. The best part is that you can edit and refine them infinitely.


Adobe Stock Contributors: New Africa, softulka

Was this page helpful?