How to Use the Scale Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Although there are several ways to scale objects in Adobe Illustrator, the simplest to understand and implement is the Scale Tool. Scaling refers to enlarging or reducing an object in a document. By default, strokes and effects, such as drop shadows, do not scale along with an object, yielding results true to the appearance of the original.

  • Launch Adobe Illustrator and open a document by clicking "File" in the menu bar and choosing "New" from the drop-down menu.

  • Draw a shape on the document using one of the shape tools in the toolbar. Apply a fill or stroke so your shape shows up on the screen.

  • Select the object using the Selection Tool from the toolbar. The Selection Tool resembles a solid arrow and is located at the top of the toolbar.

  • Choose the Scale Tool from the toolbar. The Scale Tool resembles a large rectangle with an arrow in it in front of a smaller rectangle behind.

  • Put your cursor on the selected object and drag, holding down your left mouse button. The object changes size depending on the direction you move the cursor. At this point, the size change is not constrained to remain proportional.

  • Hold down the shift key while you drag to constrain the object. Position the cursor anywhere inside the object. Hold down the shift key and drag to enlarge or reduce the object proportionally. Alternatively, position the cursor at one corner of the object; hold down the shift key and drag to reduce or enlarge the object in only one dimension while constraining the other dimension at its original size.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want a precise change in scale, check out object/transform/scale.

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