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Draw and modify simple lines and shapes

Use the shape tools to effortlessly draw basic shapes like line segments, rectangles, and circles.

The shape tools in Illustrator let you create basic shapes with precision and ease. What's more, most shapes crafted using these tools are live shapes, enabling you to adjust them dynamically without the need to switch to a different tool.

Draw basic shapes

You can find most shape tools when you select and hold the Rectangle   tool in the toolbar. To find the other shape tools, select   at the bottom of the toolbar.


Select the Rectangle (M) tool and drag on the canvas to draw a rectangle. Press Shift as you drag to draw a square.


Select the Rounded Rectangle tool and drag on the canvas to draw a rounded rectangle.


Select the Ellipse (L) tool and then drag on the canvas to draw an ellipse. Press Shift as you drag to draw a circle.


Select the Polygon tool, select the canvas, and specify the Sides of the polygon.


Select the Star (S) tool and then drag on the canvas to draw a star.


Select the Line Segment (\) tool and then drag on the canvas to draw a line.


Select the Arc tool and then drag on the canvas to draw an arc.


Select the Spiral tool and then drag on the canvas to draw a spiral.


Select the Shaper tool and draw rough shapes such as polygons, circles, and rectangles. The Shaper tool converts them to perfect geometrical shapes.

The shapes that you draw with the Rectangle tool, Rounded Rectangle tool, Ellipse tool, Polygon tool, Line Segment tool, and Shaper tool are live shapes.

Draw basic shapes using advanced options

Draw lines

  1. Select the Line Segment  tool.

  2. Click on the canvas where you want the line to begin. In the dialog box, specify the Length and the Angle of the line. If you want to fill the line with the current fill color, select Fill Line.

Draw arcs

  1. Select the Arc   tool.

  2. Click on the canvas where you want the arc to begin. In the Arc Segment Tool Options dialog box, set the following options:

    •   : Select the reference point locator to determine the point from which the arc is drawn. 
    • Length X‑Axis: Specify the width of the arc.
    • Length Y‑Axis: Specify the height of the arc.
    • Type: Specify whether you want the arc to be an open path or a closed path.
    • Base Along: Specify the direction of the arc. Select X Axis or Y Axis depending on whether you want to draw the arc's base along the horizontal (X) or vertical (Y) axes.
    • Slope: Specify 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: Fill the arc with the current fill color.

Draw spirals

  1. Illustrator User Guide
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    1. Introduction to Illustrator on the iPad
      1. Illustrator on the iPad overview
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      3. System requirements | Illustrator on the iPad
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      5. Illustrator cloud documents | Common questions
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      1. Troubleshoot create or save issues for Illustrator cloud documents
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  6. Add and edit content
    1. Drawing and dimensioning
      1. Drawing basics
      2. Edit paths
      3. Draw pixel-perfect art
      4. Draw with the Pen, Curvature, or Pencil tool
      5. Draw simple lines and shapes
      6. Draw rectangular and polar grids
      7. Draw and edit flares
      8. Image Trace
      9. Simplify a path
      10. Symbolism tools and symbol sets
      11. Adjust path segments
      12. Design a flower in 5 easy steps
      13. Create and edit a perspective grid
      14. Draw and modify objects on a perspective grid
      15. Use objects as symbols for repeat use
      16. Draw pixel-aligned paths for web workflows
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      1. About 3D effects in Illustrator
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  1. Select the Spiral   tool.

  2. Click on the canvas where you want the spiral to begin. In the Spiral dialog box, set the following options:

    • Radius: Specify the distance from the center to the outermost point in the spiral.
    • Decay: Specify the amount by which each wind of the spiral should decrease relative to the previous wind.
    • Segments: Specify how many segments the spiral has. Each full wind of the spiral consists of four segments.
    • Style: Specify the direction of the spiral.

Draw stars

  1. Select the Star   tool.

  2. Click on the canvas where you want the center of the star to begin. In the Star dialog box, set the following options:

    • Radius 1: Specify the distance from the star's center to the star’s innermost points.
    • Radius 2: Specify the distance from the star's center to the star’s outermost points.
    • Points: Specify how many points (arms) you want the star to have.

    You can also use the up and down arrow keys to increase or decrease the number of Points in the star.

Modify shapes

To modify live shapes, you can use the on-shape control widgets.

Scale live shapes

To scale a live shape, drag any of its eight bounding box handles.

Rotate live shapes

To rotate a live shape, move the cursor toward an anchor point until you see the Rotate  icon, and then drag.

Move live shapes

To move a live shape, drag its center point widget to the desired area.

Create pie shapes

To create a pie shape, drag the pie widget of an ellipse.

Add or remove sides from polygons

To change the number of sides of a polygon, drag its side widget.

Change the corner radius of live shapes

To change the corner radius of a live shape, drag a corner widget. To change a star's inner and outer corner radius, drag its inner and outer corner widgets, respectively. Switch to the Direct Selection tool for more control over shaping the corners.

Add or remove sides from stars

To change the number of sides (points) of a star, drag its side widget.

Change the inner and outer radius of stars

To change the inner and outer radius of a star, drag its inner and outer radius widgets respectively.

You can also modify the shapes from the Transform section of the Properties panel. For more options, select   in the Transform section. Alternatively, open the Transform panel (Window > Transform).

Use Direct Selection tool and corner widgets to shape corners

When you switch to the Direct Selection tool, a corner widget appears next to each corner point of the selected shape. Drag a corner widget to automatically drag all corners, or select and drag a specific corner widget.

Change the corner settings

  1. Double-click a corner widget.

  2. Select the widget's Corner and Rounding styles, and then specify a corner Radius.

Tips and tricks

  • You can't change the corner radius after drawing a rounded rectangle. If you feel that you might need to change the corner radius, draw a regular rectangle, select Effect > Convert to Shape > Rounded Rectangle, and then specify the rounded rectangle parameters.

  • To hide or view corner widgets when you select the Direct Selection tool, select View > Hide Corner Widget or View > Show Corner Widget.
  • To enhance the live appearance of objects when you work on them, select the following option: 
    • Edit > Preferences > Performance > Real-Time Drawing and Editing (Windows)
    • Illustrator > Preferences > Performance > Real-Time Drawing and Editing (macOS)
  • To hide corner widgets for corner angles greater than a specified value, select the following option:
    • Edit > Preferences > Selection & Anchor Display > Hide Corner Widget for angles greater than (Windows)
    • IllustratorPreferences > Selection & Anchor Display > Hide Corner Widget for angles greater than (macOS)

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The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

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Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online