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Use the Pen tool

The Pen tool Cc294495.1824899c-bf6b-4368-b8c1-6251f7444d83(en-us,Expression.40).png lets you build Bezier paths by positioning a series of anchor points (sometimes named nodes) and control handles (or tangent handles). Each segment on the path consists of the two anchor points on either side of the path segment and the two control handles Cc294495.a4f9327e-d4b9-4d48-a712-656f4163fdac(en-us,Expression.40).gif. Both the lengths and directions of the control handles affect the shape of a Bezier curve.

A curve point on a Bezier path has visible control handles. A corner point has control handles that are fully retracted to the same position as the anchor point itself (so that you can't see them). A cusp point has either one control handle that is fully retracted or it has two control handles that act independently of each other. For more information about how to turn one type of point into another, see About corners versus curves.

Curve point (top), corner point (middle), and cusp point (bottom)

Cc294495.62c675f1-1b76-4315-a4c5-7a853ebc558a(en-us,Expression.40).png

Creating anchor points

To create a corner point

  • In the Toolbox, select the Pen tool, and click anywhere in the workspace.

To create a curve anchor point with visible tangent handles

  • In the Toolbox, select the Pen tool, click anywhere in the workspace, and drag.

To create a cusp point with the "in" handle retracted fully and the "out" handle extended

  • In the Toolbox, select the Pen tool, click anywhere in the workspace, and then press CTRL+ALT and drag.

To create a cusp point with the two control handles extended but acting independently of each other

  1. In the Toolbox, select the Pen tool, click anywhere in the workspace, and then press CTRL+ALT and drag.

  2. Press ALT and drag the out handle.

For all anchor points except the starting point, you can hold down the SHIFT key when you click or drag to constrain the new anchor point or its handles to a 45- or 90-degree angle from the previous anchor point.

To set the angle of rotation

  1. On the Edit menu, point to Options, and then click Units and Grids.

  2. In the Units and Grids panel, under Arrangements, set the number of Rotation steps.

Ending a path

To create a closed path

  • Using the Pen tool, position the pointer on top of the first anchor point (the starting point) and click or drag.

If you click, that anchor point will be a cusp point with a fully retracted "in" handle. If you drag, the point will be a curve or a cusp (depending on the status of its "out" handle).

To end a path

  • To end a path, select the Pen tool and do either of the following:

    • Double-click at any point to position an ending anchor point, which becomes a corner point.

    • Press ENTER to end the path at the last-positioned anchor point.

As you draw, you will not be able to see the path from the previous anchor point to the anchor point you're about to create until you actually click or drag.

Appending paths

To append a section to an existing path, first make sure that you have selected the Drawing tools append to path option.

To select options for Drawing tools append to path

  1. In the Edit menu, point to Options, and then click Stroke.

  2. In the Stroke panel, under Stroke, select Drawing tools append to path.

To extend an existing path

  • In the Toolbox, select the Pen tool, and do either of the following:

    • Position the pointer on the start or finish anchor point of a line and draw.

    • Draw a new path and position the pointer over one of the open ends of the path, and release the mouse button. The new path will be joined to the old one.

Adding and removing points

To add or remove an anchor point using the Pen tool

  • In the Toolbox, select the Pen tool and do one of the following:

    • To add an anchor point, position the pointer over a segment of a selected path. When the pointer changes to the Add Anchor Point tool, click to add an anchor point at that location.

    • To remove an anchor point, position the pointer over an anchor point. When the pointer changes to the Delete Anchor Point tool, click to remove the point from the path.

tip noteTip

You can also remove the last anchor point you added by pressing the BACKSPACE key.

For more information, see Add and remove anchor points.

Send feedback about this topic to Microsoft. © 2011 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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