Learn to use Adobe XD's drawing and text tools to create graphic and text objects.

Drawing tools

You can quickly draw simple icons and graphics in Adobe XD using the drawing tools on the left toolbar - the rectangle, ellipse, line, and pen tools. The selection tool helps you select specific line, shapes, or objects to edit them.

You can then combine these shapes in different ways to create compound shapes and objects, or mask portions of the shape. For more information on combining and masking techniques, see Edit objects using Boolean operations and masking techniques.

Draw rectangles and squares

  1. Select the Rectangle tool .

  2. Perform one of the following actions:

    • 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.
  3. To draw a rounded rectangle, draw a rectangle, and then click it to see the radius editing handles. Click any handle and drag toward the center of the rectangle. You can also use the Property Inspector to enter a specific value for the radius of one or more corners.

    Draw rounded rectangles and squares
    Draw rounded rectangles and squares
  4. To further customize your square or rectangle, you can edit the corner radii.

    • To adjust the radius of a single corner only, do one of the following:
      • Hold the Option key (Mac) or the Alt key (Win), click the handle of the corner, and drag your mouse.
      • Edit each corner radius value individually after selecting   in the Property Inspector.
    • To adjust the radius of all the corners simultaneously, do one of the following:
      • Click a corner radius and drag your mouse. 
      • Edit the value of the radius after selecting  in the Property Inspector.
    Adjusting all four corners simultaneously
    Adjusting all four corners simultaneously
    Adjusting the corners one by one
    Adjusting the corners one by one

Draw ellipses and circles

  1. Select the Ellipse tool  .

  2. Perform one of the following actions:

    • Drag diagonally until the ellipse is the desired size.
    • To create a circle, hold down the Shift key while dragging.
    Resize Ellipse
    Drag and resize the ellipse.
    Drag and resize circle.
    Hold Shift and drag to resize circle.

Draw lines

  1. Select the Line tool .

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

    Draw lines using the Line tool.
    Draw lines using the Line tool.

Draw with the Pen tool

The simplest path you can draw with the Pen tool is a straight line, made by clicking the Pen tool to create two anchor points. By continuing to click, you create a path made of straight-line segments connected by corner points.

  1. Select the Pen tool .

  2. Position the Pen tool where you want the straight segment to begin, and click to define the first anchor point.

  3. Click again where you want the segment to end (Shift-click to constrain the angle of the segment to a multiple of 45°).

  4. Continue clicking to set anchor points for more straight segments.

    Opomba:

    To convert an anchor point from straight to curved and the opposite way, double-click the anchor point.

    The last anchor point you add always appears as a solid circle, indicating that it is selected. Previously defined anchor points become hollow, and deselected, as you add more anchor points.

  5. Complete the path by doing one of the following:

    • To leave the path open, click Esc.
    • To close the path, position the Pen tool over the first (hollow) anchor point. Click or drag to close the path.
    • To select and drag the start point without closing the path, hold down the Cmd/Ctrl key.
    Draw straight lines
    Draw straight lines using the pen tool.

Draw curves

You create a curve by adding an anchor point where a curve changes direction, and dragging the direction lines that shape the curve. The length and slope of the direction lines determine the shape of the curve.

Curves are easier to edit and your system can display and print them faster if you draw them using as few anchor points as possible. Using too many points can also introduce unwanted bumps in a curve. Instead, draw widely spaced anchor points, and practice shaping curves by adjusting the length and angles of the direction lines.

  1. Select the Pen tool .

  2. Position the Pen tool where you want the curve to begin, and hold down the mouse button.

  3. Drag to set the slope of the curve segment you’re creating, and then release the mouse button.

    Opomba:

    Hold down the Shift key while dragging to constrain the tool to multiples of 15°.

  4. Position the Pen tool where you want the curve segment to end, and do one of the following:

    • To create a C‑shaped curve, drag in a direction opposite to the previous direction line. Then release the mouse button.
    • To create an S‑shaped curve, drag in the same direction as the previous direction line. Then release the mouse button.
    Draw curves using the Pen tool
    Draw curves using the Pen tool
  5. To create a series of smooth curves, continue dragging the Pen tool from different locations.

    Opomba:

    You can also drag direction lines to break out the direction lines of an anchor point.

  6. Complete the path by doing one of the following:

    • To close the path, position the Pen tool over the first (hollow) anchor point. Click or drag to close the path.
    • To leave the path open, press Esc.

Draw straight lines followed by curves

  1. Using the Pen tool (), click corner points in two locations to create a straight segment.

  2. Position the Pen tool over the selected endpoint. To set the slope of the curved segment you create next, click the anchor point, and drag the direction line that appears.

  3. Position the pen where you want the next anchor point; then click (and drag, if desired) the new anchor point to complete the curve.

Draw curves followed by straight lines

  1. Using the Pen tool (), drag to create the first smooth point of the curved segment, and release the mouse button.

  2. Reposition the Pen tool where you want the curved segment to end, drag to complete the curve, and release the mouse button.

  3. Position the Pen tool over the selected endpoint.

  4. Reposition the Pen tool where you want the straight segment to end, and click to complete the straight segment.

    Draw curves followed by straight lines
    Draw curves followed by straight lines

Draw two curved segments connected by a corner

  1. Using the Pen tool (), drag to create the first smooth point of a curved segment.

  2. Reposition the Pen tool and drag to create a curve with a second smooth point.

  3. Reposition the Pen tool where you want the second curved segment to end, and drag a new smooth point to complete the second curved segment.

Drawing versus editing mode

To toggle between drawing mode and edit mode, press the Esc key.

You can also enter the 'path edit mode' by double-clicking the shape or path. In this mode, anchor points of the shape are visible, but moving the mouse does not draw anything. You can manipulate existing anchor/control points or insert new anchor points on existing segments on path.

When drawing with the pen tool, you can perform all the edits described above in addition to drawing new segments.

Extend existing paths

When you select the pen tool, all paths on the artboard under the mouse display handles over their start and end point. Click one of the handles to continue drawing the path from that point.

Extending a closed path reopens the path and then puts the pen tool in drawing mode for that path.

Select anchor points

Double-click the drawing to view the anchor points. You can then click an anchor point to select it. To select multiple anchor points, hold Shift and select the anchor points, or marquee select the anchor points using the Selection tool.

Nudge the selected anchor points using your keyboard, drag them using mouse, or edit their properties (x and y-coordinates) in the Property Inspector.

Disable anchor point snapping

While placing a new anchor point or dragging an existing anchor point, snap lines appear when an anchor is vertically or horizontally near another anchor point. Hold down the Cmd /Ctrl key to disable anchor point snapping.

Add and edit anchor points

Double-click the drawing to select it and view the existing anchor points. Click the path to add new anchor points at the cursor location.

Adding and editing anchor points
Adding and editing anchor points

Delete anchor points

Select the anchor points and then press Delete.

Drawing shortcuts

Drawing tool Keyboard shortcut on MacOS Keyboard shortcut on Windows
Select V V
Rectangle R R
Ellipse E E
Line L L
Pen P P
Zoom

Enter zoom mode: Z

  • Zoom in: Click anywhere in the Adobe XD canvas, or click the required artboard. Or, marquee-select an area to zoom in.
  • Zoom out: Option+Click

To temporarily activate zoom in and zoom out:

  • Press Space+Cmd, then click or marquee select an area on the artboard to zoom in.
  • Space+Cmd+Opt to zoom out

Enter zoom mode: Z

  • Zoom in: Click anywhere in the Adobe XD canvas, or click the required artboard. Or, marquee-select an area to zoom in.
  • Zoom out: Alt+Click

To temporarily activate zoom in:

  • Press Space+Ctrl, then click or marquee select an area on the artboard to zoom in.
Zoom to Selection ⌘3 Ctrl + 3

Measure distances

Measure distances between an object and the artboard, or an object and other surrounding objects by clicking the object and pressing the Option key on Mac, or the Alt key on Windows. 

Opomba:

If the selected object is not a square or a rectangle, then XD draws a bounding box around the object. It then displays the measurements from the boundaries of the bounding box.

To measure an object's distance from the edges of the artboard:

Simply click the object and press the Option key (on Mac), or Alt key (on Windows).

Adobe XD measures the distances and displays the measurements for as long as you press the Option or Alt key.

Measuring the distance between an object and the edge of the artboard
Measuring the distance between an object and the edge of the artboard

To measure an object's distance from other objects in the artboard:

Click the object, press the Option (on Mac) or Alt (on Windows) key, and hover the mouse over other objects.

Adobe XD measures the distances between the closest boundaries of both the objects and displays the measurements as long as you press the Option or Alt key.

Measuring the distance between two objects
Measuring the distance between two objects

Text tools

Enter text at a point

Click the text tool and click at the location where you want the text to begin. Type the text and press Esc to commit your text changes, or Return to go to the next line.

When you type text by selecting a point on your canvas, you get a horizontal line of text that begins where you click and expands as you enter characters. Each line of text is independent—the line expands or shrinks as you edit it, but doesn’t wrap to the next line. Entering text this way is useful for adding a few words to your artwork.

Enter text at a point
Enter text at a point.

You can type text over other objects and arrange the text to appear in the front using the Object > Arrange options.

Enter text in an area

Click the Text tool, click at the location you want the text on the canvas and drag to define the text area. Then, click inside the area to begin typing text.

When you define a text area, the boundaries of an object control the flow of characters, either horizontally or vertically. When the text reaches a boundary, it automatically wraps to fit inside the defined area. Entering text this way is useful when you want to create one or more paragraphs, such as for a brochure.

Enter text in Experience Design
Click the Text tool and start typing text.

Spell check

From the Edit menu, select Turn Spellcheck On. The spell check feature works only on the incorrect text in the text container. Misspelled words are underlined in red and auto-corrected words are underlined in blue. Grammatical errors are highlighted with a green underline.

Turn spellcheck on
Turn spellcheck on

Right-click the misspelled word and select the contextually accurate spelling from the suggested list.

Select correctly spelled word
Select correctly spelled word

To revert the auto-corrected spellings to the word you initially entered, press Cmd + Z on Mac OS and Ctrl + Z on Windows OS.

Undo auto-correct
Undo auto-correct
Learn spelling
Learn spelling

Switch between point and area text

You can switch between point and area text with one click. 

Select a text object and toggle between the Point text and Area text options in the Property Inspector.

Switching between point and area text
Switching between point and area text

Import text from text files

You can easily include pre-written text to your artboard using one of the following methods:

  • Drag a text file on to the artboard.

You can easily include pre-written text in your design by simply dragging a plain text file to your artboard. This action creates an area text on the artboard with the contents of the text file.          

  • Drag a text file on to a repeating grid.

You can also drag a text file (with new lines) on to and drag that file over a text component in a Repeat grid. All of the text elements are populated with the text from that file.

For more information, see Drag a return-separated text file to your text object in a Repeat Grid

  • Copy and paste text on to the artboard.

You can also copy and paste text on to the artboard, creating an area text element that you can easily move and edit in Adobe XD.

Resize the text area

Click the text and drag the handle to change the size of the typeface. This feature is available only for point text.

Drag the handle to resize text.
Drag the handle to resize text.

Format text

Click the text and then specify the type, font size, and text alignment for the text using the Property Inspector.

You can also select individual words or characters in a block of text and format those sections alone.

Format the entire text object or individual sections of text
Format the entire text object or individual sections of text

Change character, line, and para spacing

To change character spacing, click the text object and specify the character spacing using the Character Spacing option in the Property Inspector.

To change the character spacing in a subset of text, select the text and modify the character spacing in milli-ems using the Property Inspector.

Changing the character spacing for text in a text object
Changing the character spacing for text in a text object

To change the line spacing, click the text area, and then specify the line spacing using the Line Spacing option in the Property Inspector.

To reset the line height to the default, enter 0 in the Line Spacing option in the Property Inspector.

Changing the line spacing
Changing the line spacing

Similar to Photoshop and InDesign, Adobe XD allows you to change the space before and after paragraphs within the same text element.

To change the paragraph spacing, select a paragraph and click the paragraph icon in the Formatting panel. Change the spacing value as per requirement.

 

Setting para spaces
Setting para spaces

Underline text

To underline text, click the text area, and then click the Underline icon in the Property Inspector. XD draws a smooth underline that breaks around the descenders in text (creating a more aesthetic line).

Underlining in XD
Underlining in XD

Create precision designs with math calculations

Use the math calculation to create designs with greater precision or move objects to a new location or modify the width and height.

Select one or more objects. In the Property Inspector, perform simple math in any box that accepts numeric values. Adobe XD supports +, -./, * math operations to calculate the changes.

For example, if you want to move selected object 3 units to the right using the current measurement units, enter +3 after the current value.


In the Property Inspector text box that accepts numerical values, do one of the following:

  •   To replace the entire current value with a mathematical expression, select the entire current value.
  •   To use the current value as part of a mathematical expression, click before or after the current value.

 

Math calculations
Math calculations

Opomba:

Adobe XD can only perform one operation at a time. That is, it can handle “4in+2p”, but it cannot handle “4in+2p-1p” because they are construed as two different operations.

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