Draw a Path with the Pen Tool

The Pen tool Pen tool icon lets you draw both straight and curved lines. To draw a path, you should add one segment after another. If any of the added anchor points or segments require adjustments, you can edit the path after it is created.

The Disable touch drawing option can make your work with drawing tools more convenient if you are using Apple Pencil.

Controls of the Pen Tool

The Pen tool displays several options in the Control panel. They let you choose different modes of the tool. The use of those modes is discussed further in this section and also in Edit a Path.

Control panel of the Pen tool

1 - Draw a path. In this mode, you add anchor points to create a new path.

2 - Add an anchor point to an existing path. Tap on the path with this tool.

3 - Delete an anchor point. Tap on the anchor point with the tool.

4 - Change the type of an anchor point from smooth to corner, and vice versa. This tool lets you manipulate the direction points in order to adjust the curvature of path segments. In this mode, you can simply select anchor points in order to delete or edit them using other tools.

5 - Convert a selected anchor point to the corner point type.

6 - Convert a selected anchor point to the smooth point type.

7 - Delete an anchor point. You should select the anchor point with the Pen tool and then tap on this button.

You can change the anchor point type from smooth to corner or vice versa by double-tapping on that point with the Pen tool. To remove a direction line (actually make its length equal to zero), tap on its direction point with the Pen holding two fingers on the screen.

The Button in the Control panel used to finish drawing a path. button temporarily appears in the Control panel while you are drawing a path. It lets you finish drawing the current path without deactivating the Pen tool. The tool will finish drawing automatically if you close the path.

Draw a Straight Line

  1. Activate the Pen tool.
  2. Tap at the point where the line should start.
  3. Tap at the point where the line should end.
  4. To stop drawing, tap on Button in the Control panel used to finish drawing a path. in the Control panel. Or, activate any other tool (for example, Move).

Draw a Polygon

  1. Activate the Pen tool.
  2. Tap at the point where one of the polygon's corners should be located.
  3. Tap several times at points where other corners should appear.
  4. Tap on the first point to close the outline of the polygon.

Draw Curved Line

In order to draw a curved line, you should touch the screen with the Pen tool activated, and drag off the initial point. The direction line will follow your finger. The direction line bends the segment you are drawing near the corresponding anchor point. Using this method, you can set the initial direction of the curve near each anchor point. Later, you can adjust direction lines to make the shape of the curve more precise.

Draw Curved Path

  1. Activate the Pen tool.
  2. Touch the screen and hold at the point where the line should start.
  3. Move your finger aside to see the direction line. Set the length and angle of the direction line. Both of them will affect the curvature of the line you draw. Detach your finger.
    Adjust the direction line
  4. Touch and hold at the next point.
    Adjust the direction line
  5. Repeat the two preceding steps.
  6. Tap on the first point if you want to close the shape.
    Tap on Button in the Control panel used to finish drawing a path. in the Control panel to stop adding more segments to the path.

Notice that you can combine curved and straight segments.

As an alternative technique of drawing a curved path, you can create it out of straight segments. Then make them curved as explained on the Edit a Path section.

While you are drawing a path, you can switch the type of a segment, that you are about to add, from curved to straight. To do this, tap on the point that is currently the last point of the path.

Continue Drawing an Existing Path

After you have finished drawing a path, it is possible to add more segments at one of its ends. To do this, select the path and then activate the Pen tool. The anchor point that was added the last may have an additional circle around indicating that a new segment will begin at this point.

One of path ends is ready to attach a new segment.

If no point was selected by default, or you want to choose the opposite end of the path, select the respective point with the Selection tool. Then activate the Pen tool to draw a segment.

Rotating Direction Lines

The Pen tool in its default mode lets you rotate direction lines by dragging the corresponding direction points. If the angle between the two adjoining direction lines is 180 degrees, they will rotate together preserving this angle.

To change the angle from 180 degrees to any other, rotate a direction line holding one finger on the screen. The second direction line will preserve its position. If you perform this operation with an arbitrary angle, the direction lines will snap to 180 degrees and rotate together again.

By holding two fingers on the screen, you rotate the direction lines together preserving 180 degree angle between them no matter what the original angle was.

Stroke Width and Color

To change the stroke width and color, use the Appearance panel.

Modifier Keys and Shortcut Summary

With an external keyboard, you can use the following shortcut and modifier keys.


Pen tool modifier keys: