Draw basic lines and shapes

  1. In the toolbox, do one of the following:
    • To draw a line or shape, select the Line tool , the Ellipse tool , the Rectangle tool , or the Polygon tool . (Click and hold the Rectangle tool to select either the Ellipse or Polygon tool.)

    • To draw a placeholder (empty) graphics frame, select the Ellipse Frame tool , the Rectangle Frame tool , or the Polygon Frame tool  .

  2. Drag in the document window to create the path or frame.
    • To draw from the center out, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS).

    • To constrain a line to 45° angles, or to constrain the width and height of a path or frame to the same proportions, hold down Shift as you drag.

    • To create multiple shapes in a grid, press the arrow keys while holding down the mouse button. See Draw multiple objects as a grid.

    • To change the number of sides of a polygon, begin dragging, press the Spacebar, and then press the Up and Down arrow keys. Press the Left and Right arrow keys to change the star inset. Press the Spacebar again to return to grid mode.

Dragging to create a basic circle
Dragging to create a basic circle

Note:

The result shown above displays a bounding box around the path. If the Selection tool  was recently active, you’ll see this bounding box. If the Direct Selection tool  was more recently active, the path appears with anchor points instead.

Draw multiple objects as a grid

When using frame-creation tools such as the Rectangle tool or Type tool, you can create a grid of equally spaced frames by using modifier keys.

  1. Select a tool that lets you draw a frame.

  2. Begin dragging. While still holding down the mouse button, do any of the following actions:

    • Press the Left and Right Arrow keys to change the number of columns. Press the Up and Down Arrow keys to change the number of rows.

    • Hold down Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) and press arrow keys to change the spacing between the frames.

  3. Release the mouse button.

If you want to use the arrow keys to change the number of sides or star inset while using the Polygon tool, press the Spacebar while holding down the mouse button.

Draw a placeholder shape

A placeholder shape is an ellipse, rectangle, or polygon that appears in the document window with an X, indicating that it should be replaced by text or an image later.

  1. In the toolbox, select the Ellipse Frame tool , the Rectangle Frame tool , or the Polygon Frame tool  .
  2. Drag in the document window to create the path or frame. Hold down Shift to constrain the width and height of the frame.

Note:

You can change the crop amount, reference point, and other fitting options for a placeholder frame by choosing Object > Fitting > Frame Fitting Options.

Specify polygon settings

  1. If you want the polygon settings to apply to existing shapes, select the polygons.
  2. Double-click the Polygon tool , specify the following settings, and click OK:
    • For Number of Sides, type a value for the number of sides you want for the polygon.

    • For Star Inset, type a percentage value to specify the length of a star’s spikes. The tips of the spikes touch the outer edge of the polygon’s bounding box, and the percentage determines the depth of the depression between each spike. Higher percentages create longer, thinner spikes.

Change the shape of a path automatically

You can convert any path into a predefined shape. For example, you can convert a rectangle to a triangle. The stroke settings for the original path remain the same for the new path. If the new path is a polygon, its shape is based on the options in the Polygon Settings dialog box. If the new path has a corner effect, its radius size is based on the size setting in the Corner Options dialog box.

  1. Select the path.
  2. Do any of the following:
    • Choose Object > Convert Shape > [new shape].

    • In the Pathfinder panel (Window > Object & Layout > Pathfinder), click a shape button in the Convert Shape area.

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