Line Segment, Arc, Spiral, Rectangular & Polar Grid Tool

Featured image for 'Line segment tool, arc tool, spiral tool, rectangular grid tool, polar grid tool' blog post by Lalit Adhikari at Learn That Yourself (LTY)

In this Illustrator Lesson, we’ll be learning about Line Segment Tool, Arc Tool, Spiral Tool, Rectangular Grid Tool and Polar Grid Tool in illustrator by Lalit Adhikari at LTY.

These are the basic set of tools to create design in illustrator. They are easy to use and come quite handy at times of small changes and proportion management.



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Line Segment Tool

In Adobe Illustrator CC, Line Segment Tool is present inside the Rectangle Tool in the toolbar on the left side of interface. The shortcut key of this tool is the Forward slash key (\).

Before we learn more about Line Segment Tool, I would like clear few Mathematical concepts about a Line and a Line segment. It’ll help in our understanding of how to use Line Segment Tool.

  • Line – A line, in Mathematics is like a ray with one start point and has no end point.
  • Line Segment – A Line Segment. in Mathematics, stands for a Line with two end points.
Line segment tool in illustrator

Set the Stroke

option bar for line segment tools in illustrator
Option bar in Adobe Illustrator CS6. In case of Adobe Illustrator CC, you need to find it in Property Panel.

Before you use the line segment tool, first set the stroke.

So, in the Option Bar (in CS6) or Properties Panel (in CC), change Line Segment Tool settings by various options like stoke color, stroke width, width profile, brush definition, opacity and style. Currently, we only need to put Stroke Weight to 1 pt.


How to use Line Segment Tool

To use the line segment tool just click and drag. As we know, a Line Segment has two end points which means there will be one start point, the point from where we’ll start and end point where we’ll end our Line Segment. So, we are going to draw a line from one point to another. With this tool, you can draw a line at any angle and in any direction you want.

Line Segment Tool in illustrator
Drawing a Line Segment using Line Segment Tool
line segment tool in illustrator
Line Segment Created

If you hold Shift key while drawing a line segment, it will create a straight Line Segment and it will also lock the line’s rotational movement to a 45-degree rotation mode.

line drawn holding shift key
Drawing Line Segment while holding SHIFT key
drawing line segment while holding shift key
Rotating line while drawing and holding SHIFT key

If you hold the Alt key, it will scale in and out of the center.

Drawing line while holding ALT key
Drawing Line Segment while holding ALT key

Another way to use the Line Segment Tool with great mathematical precision is to click on the Art Board while selecting Line Segment Tool. It will open up a small ‘dialogue box’. From here you can assign the properties of your Line Segment Tool i.e. length and angle.

line segment tool options
Line Segment Tool Options in illustrator

Underneath these two options, there is a small checkbox called ‘fill line’ which visibly doesn’t do anything but adds a fill color to it.

Fill color is visible in the Fill and Stroke color boxes below the tools in toolbar.

In case, if you end up making a shape, by joining the Line Segments from Line Segment Tool then it will add a fill to the shape. Therefore, in most cases, we leave this checkbox blank.

Click on OK button after selecting the desired values.


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Missing Tools

In Adobe Illustrator CC, Arc Tool, Spiral Tool, Rectangular Grid Tool and Polar Grid Tool have been removed from the main toolbar. You can find them by clicking on Edit Toolbar button at the bottom of the toolbar.

Edit toolbar button in Adobe illustrator CC

After click on this button, a mega menu will open will all the inactive tools present in Illustrator. The Arc Tool, Spiral Tool, Rectangular Grid Tool and Polar Grid Tool are marked below.

Arc tool, Spiral tool, Rectangular Grid tool and Polar Grid tool

We have to click and drag them above other tool to make them active in toolbar. I will be drawing all these tools together under Line segment tool.


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Arc Tool

arc tool in illustrator
Arc Tool in illustrator

Mathematically, an arc is a quarter of an ellipse or one-fourth of an ellipse.

Arc Tool is the second option in the fly-out menu of the Line Segment Tool in Adobe Illustrator and the way it works is pretty straight forward.


How to use Arc Tool

Just click and drag with the Arc Tool selected and you’ll see that you’ve created an arc.

Like the Line Segment Tool you can also change the stroke settings but as soon as you put fill color on the arc you can see the change.

Pro Tip: A small tip to work with the arc tool in Adobe Illustrator is that if you press F button on the keyboard while drawing an arc then it will flip the arc on the opposite direction.

And this option comes quite handy when you are making any intricate design.

arc tool options in illustrator
Arc Tool Options in illustrator

If you click on the canvas, you will get a dialogue box consisting of various arc tool options like the length of the X and Y axis.

On the right side of this option, you get a ‘reference point option’ which means that our arc will be drawn from one of these reference points that are symbolized by the point in the corners of the rectangle.

Next option is the ‘Type’ of the arc which has two options: Open and Closed.

In ‘Open’ the path is usually open without any closure.

In ‘Closed’ it means the path of the arc will be closed by two other line segments. And this will give you an arc in the shape of a quarter of a circle.

There are other options like choosing the ‘base’ along the X or Y axis and slope of the arc, whether it will concave or convex.

And after you are done with the options you can click the ‘OK’ button to apply your settings.


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Spiral Tool

spiral tool
Spiral Tool

The spiral tool has some similarities to the arc tool. It does come out in an arc but it wraps around itself essentially. And Like the arc tool, you can also flip the spiral but pressing ‘R’ on your keyboard.


How to use Spiral Tool

The spiral tool in Adobe Illustrator create spiral based on three measurements:

  • The Radius
  • Decay
  • Number of Segments
spiral options in illustrator
Spiral options in illustrator

If you hold down the Up arrow while drawing the spiral in your canvas, it will increase the line segments of the line segments which will create the more spiral effect.

If you hold the Down arrow while drawing the spiral it will reduce the line segments.

Another point to keep in mind is that, if you hold the Ctrl Key on your keyboard then you can stretch out your spiral like pulling it out from itself or if you drag inwards you will get more like a concentric circle effect.

The spiral tool is basically used for making floral intricate designs.


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Rectangular Grid Tool

Rectangular Grid Tool in illustrator
Rectangular Grid Tool

Rectangular Grid Tool is used for ‘Gridding’ purpose. To get the idea or proportions of a design. Although some designers also use it to create ‘Tables’ or ‘Grid for division of Content’.


How to use Rectangular Grid Tool

You can make any grid or table with this tool. Just like other tools in the line segment tool’s list, this tool also works by clicking and dragging the cursor on your canvas.

And as you do so, you will get a grid, but if you hold shift key while drawing the grid then you will have a perfectly proportionate square grid.

To increase or decrease the number of squares or rectangle inside the grid you can hit the up or down arrow respectively.

Key things to remember here:

  • The up and down arrow will change the number of horizontal lines
  • The left and right arrow will change the number of vertical lines.

You can also change the number of divisions and other settings from the ‘Rectangle Grid Tool Option’ which you can get by clicking on the canvas while selecting the tool.


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Polar Grid Tool

Polar grid tool in illustrator
Polar Grid tool

This is the last option in the fly-out menu of the line segment tool. Just like the rectangular grid tool, through polar grid tool, you can create concentric circular grids.


How to use Polar Grid Tool

The tool’s settings are similar to the ‘rectangular grid tool’ where you can set the stroke width, number of the concentric circle and the dividers.

A key thing to remember here:

  • The up and down arrow will change the number of concentric circles.
  • The left and right arrow will change the number of radial dividers.

If you are following our Free Illustrator Lessons and Tutorial Guide, then next you should read about Rectangle Tool, Rounded Rectangle Tool, Ellipse Tool, Polygon Tool, Star Tool and Flare Tool.


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26 thoughts on “Line Segment, Arc, Spiral, Rectangular & Polar Grid Tool”

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