How to Curve a Line in Adobe Illustrator

This page may contain links from our sponsors. Here’s how we make money.

Curving a line? It seems like a pretty simple thing, right?

But in software like Adobe Illustrator, it's a little more complicated than drawing a curved line on paper. Here I'll explain four simple and effective methods to curve a line.

Anchor Point Tool 

In my opinion, this is one of the easiest methods to curve a line. To use the Anchor Point tool, first, you need to create a line using the Line Segment tool. You can find the anchor point tool in the toolbar to the left and in the dropdown menu for the Pen tool. Similarly, you can also click Shift + C if you prefer keyboard shortcuts. 

How to select the anchor tool in illustrator.

Once you've selected the tool, all you have to do is click on the path and drag it to create a curve. The good part about this is that you can use the available handles and anchor points to adjust the curve according to your preference. 

Moreover, one of my favorite things is that if you click on the anchor point once more, the line will return to what it was previously. Now, you can edit it again. 

Using anchor tool in illustrator

 Curvature Tool in Illustrator  

This is also available on the toolbar at the left, as shown.

Curvature tool in illustrator

The Curvature tool is different from the Anchor Point tool because it does not have handles. With this tool, you can create several anchor points. And simple as that, by moving the anchor points, you can curve the line as much as you want.  

For example, creating a replica of the Apple logo with the pen tool can be time-consuming. Thus, I'll show you the simplest way to do that with the curvature tool. First, you must hold down the Alt key (in Windows) or Option key (in Mac). This will make sure that the lines drawn are straight.  

Then by selecting the first anchor point we made, stretch-out lines between each corner of the logo.  

After doing this, you can select any point on the line and drag it upwards or inwards to adjust the curve according to the logo. You can adjust the anchor point according to whatever you need, and you can easily create the perfect designs.  

Curving the apple logo in illustrator

And there it is! The final product will then look like this. Now, even amateur designers can create unique and complicated designs! 

Direct Selection Tool 

The Direct Selection tool is also available on the toolbar at the left. It's next to the Selection tool, but it's special because it allows you to select the anchor points directly. But, with this, you cannot curve a single straight line. Thus, if that's what you are trying to do, you should try the tools explained above.  

Using the direct selection tool

This tool can be used to curve edges. For example, if there's a rectangle with sharp edges and you want them to be curved, all you have to do is select the line to show the anchor points. The small blue dots near the corner of the shapes are the anchor points. 

Once that's done, drag the anchor points inwards, and the edges will curve.  

How to curve edges in illustrator

One of the best parts of this tool is that there are direction handles to adjust the shape according to your preference.  Because the direction handles can then be used to adjust the curve to your liking, so rather than having to go back and revise your work, you can simply adjust the errors right there and then. For example, if you want to change the oval below to a teardrop, simply follow the steps I have outlined. 

Using handles to curve an image in illustrator

Tip: If you want to create sharp-edged curves, you can press the Alt key while moving the handlebar. For example, if you want to change the shape above into a teardrop, then simply click Alt, and move the handlebars. 

making sharp edged objects in illustrator

As you can probably see, the handlebars bent downwards form sharp edges for the curved tear droplet.  

Curving a Line Using the Pen Tool in Illustrator  

This is another handy tool that's commonly used. To access the Pen tool, you can select it from the toolbar on the left, or you can simply click P to quickly select it. Now, I'll show you how to curve lines using this tool. 

Th pen tool in Illustrator

First and foremost, you need to click Shift and continue holding Shift throughout this process. The purpose of this is to keep the lines straight and ordered. Now click on the screen and drag upwards. 

Straight line

 The resulting line will look something like this. Now, while holding Shift, continue the line and create another anchor point across from the first one. And voila, you have your first curve! Notice the handles. These can help adjust the curve according to your preference.  

Curved line

To form a pattern, drag the next line downwards, and select the anchor point on the other side. Continue doing this to form the pattern seen below.   

Wavy line

That's it! These are the four simplest and most reliable methods (in my opinion) to curve a line in Illustrator.