Adobe CS5 Illustrator Tips for Creating Shapes - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

Creating shapes is a central function of Adobe Creative Suite 5 (Adobe CS5) Illustrator and there are some simple tips which can improve your skills at creating those basic shapes.

  • Press and hold the Shift key while dragging with the Rectangle or Ellipse tool to create a perfect square or circle. This trick is also helpful when you’re using the Polygon and Star tools — holding down the Shift key constrains them so that they’re straight.

  • Create a shape from the center out by holding down the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) key while dragging. Hold down Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac) to pull a constrained shape out from the center.


  • When entering values in a shape dialog box, you can click either the Width or Height text to match the other value. We entered the value 4 in the Height text box and then clicked the word Width to make the values match.


  • When creating a star or polygon shape by clicking and dragging, if you keep the mouse button down, you can then press the up- or down-arrow key to interactively add points or sides to your shape.