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How to use the shape tool on Illustrator

Learn how to use this basic feature.

how to use the shape tool on Illustrator

 

The Shape Tool is one of the most basic features that you’ll find in Adobe Illustrator. If you learn how to use it properly, you’ll unlock infinite creative possibilities.

In today’s post, we’re going to explain how to display and use the Shape Tool. Follow our steps and you’ll see it’s effortless!

To learn more about Adobe Illustrator, check our Ultimate Graphic Design Guide. 

Let’s get started!

 

On this article:

What is the Shape Tool on Illustrator?
How to use the Shape Tool on Illustrator?
How to edit shapes with the Selection Tool on Illustrator?
How to edit shapes with the Direct Selection Tool on Illustrator?

 

What is the Shape Tool on Illustrator?

 

The Shape Tool allows you to create vectorial shapes on your canvas. You can choose between six different shapes: a rectangle, a rounded rectangle, an ellipse, a polygon, a star, and a flare.

You can find the Shape Tool in the left toolbar. It’s represented by the icon of a shape (the last one you selected, or a rectangle by default).

Hit the arrow at the corner of the icon to display all the shape options.

 

how to use the shape tool on Illustrator

 

If you press the arrow on the side of the options menu, Illustrator will display a vertical version with the icons of the shapes.

 

how to use the shape tool on Illustrator

 

If you press the double arrow on top of that menu, Illustrator will display the icons horizontally.

 

how to use the shape tool on Illustrator

 

Now, let’s look at what we can do with the shape tool.

 

How to use the Shape Tool on Illustrator?

 

To use the Shape Tool, go to the left menu. Hit the tool’s icon, and choose the shape that you prefer.

Once you have selected the right shape, click on the canvas and move the cursor to trace a shape. Once you release your mouse, the new shape will be created.

 

how to use the shape tool on Illustrator

 

You can change the outline and fill color of your shape at the upper menu. If you select the shape, you’ll see the properties panel at the right side of your canvas.

 

How to edit shapes with the Selection Tool on Illustrator?

 

The selection tool is the first icon that you’ll find on the left toolbar. The outline of a small arrow represents it.

You can use the selection tool to make some modifications to your shapes. Let’s look at some of them!

 

How to make the corners of a shape round on Illustrator?

 

The first thing you can do is to make the corners of your rectangle round. If you look at the image above, you’ll see a blue dot inside every angle of the shape. If you hit these dots with the Selection Tool and move them to the center, the corners will slowly become round.

 

how to use the shape tool on illustrator

 

How to change the size of a shape manually on Illustrator?

 

To change the size of a shape, grab one of its corners with the selection tool. While clicking on the edge, move your mouse towards the center or far from it.

If you move the corner to the center, the figure will become smaller. If you move it far from the center, the figure will be more prominent.

To scale the shape proportionally, press Shift while you move the corner.

 

how to use the shape tool on Illustrator

 

How to rotate a shape manually on Illustrator?

 

To rotate a shape manually, hover with your mouse over a corner of the figure. You’ll see a small, curved arrow. Press it and use it as a starting point to start rotating the figure.

You can rotate the shape with your mouse as much as you want to. Illustrator will display a counter where you can see how many degrees it has changed.

 

how to use the shape tool on Illustrator

 

 

How to edit shapes with the Direct Selection Tool on Illustrator?

 

The Direct Selection Tool allows you to edit some aspects of your shapes on Illustrator. You can activate it by hitting the icon with the white arrow on the left toolbar.

The first thing you can do with the Direct Selection tool is to move the anchor points of your figure. This way, you can modify the aspect of the shape. Look at the image below: we’ve moved one of the figure’s anchor points to create a different shape.

 

how to use the shape tool on Illustrator

 

The Direct Selection tool also allows you to turn straight lines into curves. It’s effortless: you just have to click on an anchor point. Illustrator will display the corresponding handles. By pulling these handles, you can modify the path of the lines.

 

how to use the shape tool on Illustrator

 

Our advice is always to experiment and see what you can create by pulling the handles. In just one movement, we have turned the figure from above in what you can see in the image below. It’s all about trying different combinations!

 

how to use the shape tool on Illustrator

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