Posted in Adobe Illustrator

Line, Arc, Spiral, Rectangular & Polar Grid Tool in Adobe Illustrator


In this blog post, I will tell you how to work with the line segment tool in Adobe Illustrator. Line segment tool is a little slash icon (/) in the toolbar on the left side of the Adobe Illustrator interface. The shortcut key of this tool is the forward slash key (\).

Set the Stroke

Before you use the line segment tool, first set the stroke. So, in the properties panel in the top of the interface below the menu bar, you can change your stroke settings by clicking on different kinds of options that are available on the panel like stoke color, stroke width, width profile, brush definition, opacity and style.

How to use

To use the line segment tool just click and drag. It’s going to draw a line from one point to another. With this tool, you can draw a line at any angle and in any direction you want.

If you hold Shift while using this tool, it will lock into a 45 degree, 90 degree, 180 degree and 360 degree respectively. But if you hold the Alt key, it will scale in and out of the center.

If you click on the canvas while selecting this tool, it will open up a small dialogue boxin the options panel. From here you can designate the properties of your line segment i.e. length and angle.

Underneath these two options, there is a small checkbox called fill line which visibly doesn’t do anything but adds a fill to it which can be visible in the foreground and background color boxes below the toolbar. In case, if you end up making a shape from this line segment then it will add a fill to the shape. Therefore, in most cases, we leave this checkbox unchecked.

And when you are done making your line, then you can hit ‘OK’ button to close the dialogue box.

Arc Tool

This tool is the second option in the fly-out menu of the line segment tool in Adobe Illustrator and the way it works is pretty straight-forward. Just click and drag the tool and you’ll see that you’ve created an arc which looks somewhat like a quarter of an ellipse.

Like the line segment tool you can also change the stroke settings but as soon as you put fill color on the arc you can see the change in it.

Pro Tip: A small tip to work with the arc tool in Adobe Illustrator is that if you press F option on the keyboard while drawing an arc then it will flip the arc on the opposite side. And this option comes quite handy when you are making any intricate design.

If you click on the canvas, you will get a dialogue box consisting of various arc tool options like the length of the X and Y axis. On the right side of this option, you get a ‘reference point option’ which means that our arc will be drawn from one of these reference points that are symbolized by the point in the corners of the rectangle.

Next option is the Type of the arc which has two options: Open and Closed.

In Open the path is usually open without any closure.

In Closed it means the path of the arc will be closed by two other line segments. And this will give you an arc in the shape of a quarter of a circle.

There are other options like choosing the ‘base’ along the X or Y axis and slope of the arc, whether it will concave or convex.

And after you are done with the options you can click the OK button to apply your settings.

Spiral Tool

The spiral tool has some similarities to the arc tool. It does come out in an arc but it wraps around itself essentially. And Like the arc tool, you can also flip the spiral but pressing R on your keyboard.

The spiral tool in Adobe Illustrator create spiral based on three measurements:

  • The Radius
  • Decay
  • Number of Segments

If you hold down the uparrow while drawing the spiral in your canvas, it will increase the line segments of the line segments which will create the more spiral effect. If you hold the Down arrow while drawing the spiral it will reduce the line segments.

Another point to keep in mind is that, if you hold the Ctrl Key on your keyboard then you can stretch out your spiral like pulling it out from itself or if you drag inwards you will get more like a concentric circle effect. The spiral tool is basically used for making floral intricate designs.

Rectangular Grid Tool

You can make any grid or table with this tool. Just like other tools in the line segment tool’s list, this tool also works by clicking and dragging the cursor on your canvas. And as you do so, you will get a grid, but if you hold shift key while drawing the grid then you will have a perfectly proportionate square grid. To increase or decrease the number of squares or rectangle inside the grid you can hit the up or down arrow respectively.

A key thing to remember here is

  • The up and down arrow will change the number of horizontal lines
  • The left and right arrow will change the number of vertical lines.

You can also change the number of divisions and other settings from the ‘Rectangle Grid Tool Option’ which you can get by clicking on the canvas while selecting the tool.

Polar Grid Tool

This is the last option in the fly-out menu of the line segment tool. Just like the rectangular grid tool, through polar grid tool, you can create concentric circular grids. The tool’s settings are similar to the rectangular grid tool where you can set the stroke width, number of the concentric circle and the dividers.

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