Use the Polyline tool

The Polyline tool Cc294631.5dded845-525b-4a3d-ab38-85d2140112b4(en-us,Expression.40).png lets you build a Bezier path made of segments that are either straight lines or circular arcs. This is useful because it is difficult to draw a circular arc in the middle of a path any other way.

A path drawn with the Polyline tool made of a straight segment, followed by a circular arc, and so on


Creating a path

To create a path with the Polyline tool

  1. In the Toolbox, select the Polyline tool.

  2. Click anywhere in the document and then do one of the following:

    • Move the pointer, and then click to add another anchor point for a straight-line segment. Hold down the SHIFT key to constrain the position of the anchor point to 90- or 45-degrees from the previous anchor point.

    • Move the pointer, and then drag to add a circular arc segment. The point at which you click to start dragging determines the tangent of the curve that will be created. This point will not actually be on the curve, but will define the angle between the straight line segment and the arc segment. You can hold down the SHIFT key to constrain the circular arc to 90, 180, or 270 degrees. When you release the mouse button, Microsoft Expression Design adds the appropriate anchor points to the path.

  3. To end the path, do one of the following:

    • To create a closed path, position the pointer on top of the first anchor point (the starting point) and click.

    • Double-click at any point to add an ending anchor point.

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


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

The angle of the rotation depends on the value set in the Options dialog box.

To set the number of rotation steps

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

  2. In the Units and Grids panel, under Arrangement, adjust the number of Rotation steps.

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 the Drawing tools append to path option

  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 Polyline tool, and do either of the following:

    • Place 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.

tip noteTip

Using the Polyline tool to draw straight line segments is easy. You just click, click, and click. However, drawing arcs takes some getting used to. When you draw an arc, remember that the point where you click determines the angle at which the arc attaches to the line, but it does not affect the actual size of the arc. Therefore, you'll find that you sometimes have more control over the shape of the arc when you click farther away from the previous anchor point (before you start dragging), even if you're trying to create a small arc.

To draw this polyline curve, click once at point 1, again at point 2, and then hold down the mouse button at point 3 and drag to point 4


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