Scale Tool in Illustrator: What It Does and How to Use It 

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Ready to add the finishing touches to your design in Adobe Illustrator? But the objects aren’t properly aligned? Does your design look unprofessional because it isn’t adjusted properly?

Well, worry no more! Because with just a few steps, this tutorial explains how to use Illustrator's Scale Tool to resize, adjust, and align your design perfectly.  

How to Use the Scale Tool in Illustrator 

Basically, the Scale Tool in Illustrator helps adjust, enlarge, or even reduce the shape of an object or design in Adobe Illustrator. To access Illustrator's Scale Tool, you can either select it from the toolbar at the left, or use the keyboard shortcut “S“. 

An image showing the location of the Scale tool in Adobe Illustrator

Now, using the polygon tool from the toolbar at the left, I drew the vector shape you can see on the artboard above. Through the options on the right, you can adjust the fill color or the stroke (outline) of the shape according to your preference.  

You can use the Scale Tool if you want to increase or reduce its size. Simply select the edge of the shape and drag it outwards to increase the size, or inwards to reduce it.  

A polygon in Illustrator after you increase its size using the Scale tool.

If you only want to increase the size in the vertical direction, then drag the shape in the vertical direction. To increase the size horizontally, drag the shape outwards in the horizontal direction you want to stretch. Similarly, the cool part about the tool is that you can even flip in laterally.  

How to Scale an Object in Illustrator Proportionally 

Now you may be thinking, you can resize objects with the selection tool and transform tool as well. What is so special about Adobe Illustrator's Scale Tool? Well, in most cases, you'll want to increase the shape's width and height proportionally, and the scale tool allows you to do just that.  

To scale objects without changing the proportion, press and hold the Shift key while aligning the object.  

Representation of how to increase the size of a polygon proportionally in Illustrator.

In the above image, you can probably see that when I dragged the shape's edges outwards, the size increased proportionally. That is, the object increased by the same amount on all sides.  

How to Scale in Illustrator Using One Point as a Pivot

To do this, you can simply select any point on the object which you want to make the pivot. And then, you can adjust the shape along that point. For example, I can select a point by simply clicking on any corner of the object. 

An image where a point is selected as a pivot, on a polygon in Illustrator.

If, for example, you want to flip the object along that point, you can select any corner of the object and drag it across to flip the selected object laterally along the selected point. It's a simple click and drag technique.

Visual representation of how to flip an object using the Scale tool in Illustrator

How to Scale by Percentage in Adobe Illustrator

Another more professional scaling method is to use the pop-up window and specify the amount you want to scale in percentage points. To open the pop-up window, press Alt and click on the screen. You will see a pop-up window appear.  

An image of a pop-up window that helps in scaling an object properly In Illustrator.

Right now, the scale on the horizontal as well as the vertical plane is 100%. If you want to decrease this by 50% on both planes, then simply adjust the values and make them 50%. Below you can see how the object is adjusted at once. 

An image showing the effects of adjusting the shape of an object using the pop-up window in Illustrator

Another feature is that you can adjust the strokes, effects, or even the corners of the objects. For example, if I want to scale the strokes and scale corners of the above image proportionally, I will simply select both options under the options section in the dialog box pop-up window.  

An image showing how to adjust the strokes, and effects, using Scale tool, to create a professional design.

The resulting image will look like this! It's just that simple! Now that you know how to use the scale tool in Illustrator properly, you can easily create those new and innovative designs and artwork. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the scale tool in illustrator?

The scale tool makes it easy to increase or decrease the size of a shape, object, or image in Illustrator.

Where is the scale tool in illustrator?

You can access the scale tool from the left toolbar. The icon looks like a small square and a bigger square. You can also use the keyboard shortcut “S” to select the tool and scale an object.