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Transform gradients

Once you apply a gradient to an object's fill or stroke, you have three ways to adjust or transform that gradient: the Fill Transform pane, the Fill Transform tool, or the Gradient Transform tool. Each option works slightly differently and offers slightly different ways to produce effects. Note that if the selected object has both a gradient fill and a gradient stroke, both gradients will be affected.

To use the Fill Transform pane

  1. Select an object that has a gradient fill or stroke.

  2. In the Properties panel, in the Appearances category, at the lower-right corner of the Color Picker, click the Fill Transform Cc295032.b86b90b8-18d5-4348-85a0-ada46b29149f(en-us,Expression.30).png icon.

  3. In the Fill Transform pane, you can control the position, scale, and rotation of the gradient. You can drag these values to change them, or click them to enter a numeric value.

  4. To return the gradient back to its original state, at the bottom of the Fill Transform pane, click Reset.

Clicking the Fill Transform button displays additional controls


The Fill Transform pane contains slightly different information depending on whether you are adjusting a linear or radial gradient.

You can use the Fill Transform Cc295032.44ac4043-0600-4643-8fef-67d531624598(en-us,Expression.30).png tool to move, scale, rotate, and skew the gradient fill of a shape or path independently of the shape or path itself.

To use the Fill Transform tool

  1. Select an object that has a gradient fill or stroke.

  2. In the Toolbox, select the Fill Transform Cc295032.44ac4043-0600-4643-8fef-67d531624598(en-us,Expression.30).png tool. The resize handles that appear refer to the fill instead of the object itself.

  3. Drag the handles to scale, rotate, or skew the gradient. To shift the gradient, drag it.

You can control a gradient's starting and ending points, in addition to its angle, with the Gradient Transform tool.

A gradient has two axes: the main axis (along which the color varies) and the second axis (which affects how the gradient is skewed). For linear gradients, the two axes are always exactly perpendicular. In other words, the color blends along the first axis and at a 90-degree angle from the second color. However, for radial gradients, the angle and length of the second axis controls whether the blend appears round or elliptical.

To change the direction of a gradient

  1. Select an object that has a gradient fill or stroke.

  2. In the Toolbox, select the Gradient Transform Cc295032.3f0a00bf-24ed-4487-94df-478ba622d10a(en-us,Expression.30).png tool.

  3. Using the Gradient Transform tool, do one or more of the following:

    • Set the main gradient axis   Position the pointer where you want the gradient's starting point to be and drag it in the angle you want the gradient to travel. Release the mouse button where you want the gradient's ending point. For a gradual blend, set the starting and ending points farther apart. For a sharp blend, set them closer together. (In a radial gradient, the direction doesn't matter. Just the location of the start and end points matters.)

    • Set the second gradient axis   Hold down the ALT key when you drag. The start point of the gradient will not change. In a linear blend, only the angle of the second gradient matters (the distance you drag is ignored). In a radial gradient, the two axes define the ellipse that contains the gradient. Therefore, both the angle and the distance matter. If you hold down the SHIFT key when you drag, the angle is constrained to a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal angle.

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