Drawing with the Pen Tool

Drawing 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.

Draw Straight Line Segments with the Pen Tool

View a simple video tutorial on designing a new shape

The simplest path you can draw with the Pen tool is a straight line which can be 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 on the Library category.
  2. Position the Pen tool where you want the straight segment to begin, and click to define the first anchor point (do not drag).

     Note: The first segment you draw will not be visible until you click a second anchor point.

  1. Click again where you want the segment to end.
  2. Continue clicking to set anchor points for additional straight segments.
  3. The last anchor point you add always appears as a solid square, indicating that it is selected. Previously defined anchor points become hollow, and deselected, as you add more anchor points.
  4. Complete the path by doing one of the followings:
  1. To close the path, position the Pen tool over the first (hollow) anchor point. Click to close the path.
  2. To leave the path open, right-click anywhere away from all objects.
  3. To leave the path open, you can also double-click anywhere away from the first anchor point.

Draw Curves with the Pen Tool

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 bring 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 on the Library category.
  2. Position the Pen tool where you want the curve to begin, and hold down the mouse button and drag. The first anchor point and first direction line appears.
  3. Drag to set the slope of the curve segment you're creating, and then release the mouse button.
  1. In general, extend the direction line about one third of the distance to the next anchor point you plan to draw. (You can adjust one or both sides of the direction line later.)


A. Position pen tool  B. Drag the direction line  C. Release mouse button and moving to next point position

  1. Position the Pen tool where you want the curve segment to end, and do one of the followings:
  1. To create a C shaped curve, drag in a direction opposite to the previous direction line. Then release the mouse button.
  2. To create an S‑shaped curve, drag in the same direction as the previous direction line. Then release the mouse button.



A. Starting to drag second smooth point  B. Dragging away from previous direction line, creating a C curve  C. Dragging in the same direction as previous direction line, creating an S curve

  1. Continue dragging the Pen tool from different locations to create a series of smooth curves. Note that you are placing anchor points at the beginning and end of each curve, not at the tip of the curve.

Complete the path by doing one of the followings:

  1. To close the path, position the Pen tool over the first (hollow) anchor point. Click to close the path.
  2. To leave the path open, right-click anywhere away from all objects.
  3. To leave the path open, you can also double-click anywhere away from the first anchor point.

Draw Curves Followed by Straight Lines

  1. Select the Pen tool.
  2. Using the Pen tool, drag to create the first smooth point of the curved segment, and release the mouse button.
  3. Move to the position where you want the straight segment to end.

A. Curve line completed  B. Move to straight segment end  C. Finish drawing

Draw Straight Line Followed by Curved Lines

  1. Select the Pen tool.
  2. Using the Pen tool, click corner points in two locations to create a straight segment.
  3. Move to second point. To set the slope of the curved segment you'll create next, drag the direction line that appears.

A. Straight line completed  B. Move to second point  C. Drag first direction line to set the slope of the curve  D. Move to end point and finish drawing

Draw two curved segments connected by a corner

  1. Select the Pen tool.
  2. Using the Pen tool, drag to create the first smooth point of the curved segment, and right click the mouse button.
  3. Position the Pen tool over the selected endpoint.

A. Move to the end point of the first curve segment  B. Drag the direction line  C. Right click to finish the first curve segment

  1. 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.

A. Drag the second curve segment  B. Finish drawing

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