How to Make a Triangle in Adobe Illustrator

How to Make a Triangle in Adobe Illustrator

The default shape tool on the toolbar is the Rectangle Tool. When you click on it, a submenu will open and you’ll see several other shape tools like ellipse, polygon, start, etc.

The most commonly used shape tools in Illustrator are probably rectangle and ellipse. Other than these two essential shapes, I would say the triangle is another popular shape.

Working as a graphic designer for years, I think that triangle is such a strong geometric shape that catches attention.

You’re probably looking for a triangle tool among the shape tools like I did at the beginning.

So, where’s the triangle tool? Unfortunately, there isn’t such a tool. You’ll have to use other shape tools or the pen tool to make a triangle.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn three quick and easy ways to make a triangle from a square, polygon, and anchor points.

Table of Contents

2. How to Make a Triangle in Illustrator

Let’s start with the most basic method. Select the Pen Tool (P) from your toolbar and create your triangle with three simple clicks.

Holding down the Shift key while drawing the lines will create perfect straight lines, making it a lot easier to create a 90-degree angle in Illustrator.

Illustrator How to Make a Triangle out of a Square

Yet another way to create a triangle in Illustrator is to first create a square or rectangle by using the Rectangle Tool (found in the same sublist as the Polygon Tool on the Tool Bar). Drag on the art board to create a rectangle, or SHIFT drag to create a perfect square.

Next, with the square / rectangle selected, go to Object/Path/Add Anchor Points. Four new anchor points will appear on the shape, positioned precisely half way between the existing corner anchor points.

Now choose the Pen Tool and hover over the top left corner until a little ‘-’ symbol appears next to the Pen icon. Click when you see this and the top left corner anchor will be deleted. Repeat this for the new anchor point half way down the left side, then the top right, then the middle right.

Once these four anchor points have been deleted you’ll have your new Isosceles triangle, although you’ll probably want to delete the final dividing anchor point on the bottom middle edge in order to get unbroken sides all round. You can now edit this triangle in the same way as any created by other means.

How To Make A Triangle in Illustrator

The first step is to the grab the Polygon Tool. You probably won’t immediately see it in your toolbar because it’s hidden within the Rectangles Tool, so click and hold on the Rectangles Tool icon to bring up a fly out menu that displays various other shapes to choose from.

Select Polygon Tool and click on your canvas once. This will bring up the polygon settings menu.

Leave the Radius input at whatever value is already there, but make sure you set the Sides input to 3. We’ll technically be creating a 3-sided polygon as opposed to a triangle, but it’s all the same.

Once you click OK, an equilateral triangle will be generated on your canvas. An equilateral triangle is a triangle in which all three sides are equal in length.

Isosceles Triangles

An isosceles triangle is a triangle in which only 2 of the sides are equal in length. If you’d like to make your triangle into an isosceles triangle, simple grab the Selection Tool (keyboard shortcut: V) and click and drag on the edges to resize them to your preferences.

Scalene Triangles

A scalene triangle is a triangle in which none of the three sides are equal in width. If you’d like to further edit your triangle into a scalene triangle, you can do so by grabbing the Direct Selection Tool (keyboard shortcut: A) and clicking and dragging each individual corner to set that at your desired angle. You can also drag entire sides rather than just the corners.

How To Make Right Angle Triangles

A right triangle is a triangle in which one of the corners is at a 90 degree angle. Making right triangles in Illustrator requires a different approach than making the standard types of triangles outlined above.

To make a right triangle in Illustrator, grab the Rectangles Tool (keyboard shortcut: M) then hold Shift on your keyboard and click and drag on the canvas to make a perfectly symmetrical square.

Now grab the Direct Selection Tool (keyboard shortcut: A) and click and drag over one of the corners of the square to select it, then click the Remove selected anchor points icon in the menu at the top of your toolbar.

The icon looks something like this…

This will delete one of the corners of the square, leaving you with a right triangle.

Fourth Method with the Shaper Tool

The fourth method you can use to make a triangle in Illustrator is to use the Shaper Tool. This is like a magic wand that helps you use freehand drawing to make a regular triangle. You can quickly scribble or doodle the shape of a triangle without being precise, and the Shaper Tool turns your rough action into a standard triangle with straight smooth edges. In fact, you can use it to draw any shapes.

Step 1: Select the Shaper Tool

First, go to the Toolbar to look for the Shaper Tool with an icon that has a stick with an irregular circle or shape under it. If you don’t see it, chances are you have the Basic Toolbar opened and you have to switch it to the Advanced Toolbar.

Do that by clicking the three dots at the bottom of the Toolbar. Then, click on the options button that has a checklist icon on the top right-hand corner of the dropdown menu. Next, click on Advanced in the second dropdown menu.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut by pressing Shift and N together to change your cursor to a Shaper Tool.

Step 2: Make the Triangle

With the Shaper Tool, just click anywhere you desire on the artboard and do a rough action of the shape of a triangle. You don’t have to be precise with your drawing action. Just make sure your cursor moves to form a triangular shape will do and you have a triangle.

If you want a small triangle, your action has to be small and a big triangle can be created with a bigger drawing action.

Click and hold the Line Segment tool (). Select the Rectangular Grid tool .

Do one of the following:

Drag until the grid is the desired size.

Click to set the grid’s reference point. In the dialog box, click a square on the reference point locator to determine the point from which the grid is drawn. Then set any of the following options, and click OK .

Default Size : Specifies the width and height of the entire grid.

Horizontal Dividers : Specifies the number of horizontal dividers you want to appear between the top and bottom of the grid. The Skew value determines how the horizontal dividers are weighted toward the top or bottom of the grid.

Vertical Dividers : Specifies the number of dividers you want to appear between the left and right sides of the grid. The Skew value determines how the vertical dividers are weighted to the left or right side.

Use Outside Rectangle As Frame : Replaces the top, bottom, left, and right segments with a separate rectangular object.

Fill Grid : Fills the grid with the current fill color (otherwise, the fill is set to none).

Create a triangle and other polygonal shapes

Now press and hold the Rectangle tool in the Toolbar to view other nested shape tools and select the Polygon tool.

One way to start a shape is to simply click on the artboard and enter the number of sides — for example, type 3 to create a triangle, or 5 to create a pentagon.

Change your shape’s dimensions by dragging the bounding box handles; press Shift while dragging to constrain proportions.

You can easily manipulate these shapes to create non-uniform polygons. Click outside so nothing is selected, and then use the Direct Selection tool to select a control point and drag to transform the shape.

January 6th, 2011

I’ll be sharing a few basics as I come across simple little Illustrator tricks. Today’s quick tip: How to quickly make a triangle in Adobe Illustrator CS4. There are two ways to do it; one will make you a triangle of two equal sides (isosceles), while the other will make you a triangle with all three sides identical (equilateral).

Method One: Making a Triangle From a Box (Isosceles)

Skills learned: Using Average and Join.

  1. Use the rectangle tool from your sidebar tool set. Hold “shift” while you drag in order to make a perfect square.
  2. Choose the Direct Selection Tool, otherwise known as the white pointer arrow, from your sidebar tool set (or by pressing “a” on your keyboard), click along one line of the box (you won’t get any highlighting to confirm this, unfortunately), and press “delete” on your keyboard. The line itself should vanish, not the points. Update: A commenter pointed out difficulty with selecting just the line segment this way; their solution was to drag a box between the two points to select it.
  3. Drag a selection box around the two points.
  4. Right click one of the points and choose “average,” then “both” from the resulting dialog box.
  5. Still with both points highlighted, right click the points and choose “join,” then “corner.” (If you accidentally deselected the points after step 4, drag a selection box around the tip of your triangle to re-select them both again; clicking the top point will only select one of the two points.)

Method Two: Making a Triangle Using the Star Tool (Equilateral)

Skills learned: Tool selection, direct parameter entry

  1. Click and hold over the Rectangle tool in your sidebar tool set, then choose Star Tool.
  2. Single click anywhere on your canvas to bring up the direct parameter entry dialog box for the tool. Choose 3 points, enter a reasonable size (which you can adjust at any time later using the Select tool and drag), and press “OK”.

Now you have two perfect triangles! Maybe in their next iteration, Adobe will just give us a triangle shape.

Add color

Type V to access the Selection tool and click the long rectangle base. In the Properties panel, click the Fill Color swatch and select the Swatches option at the top. Choose a color from the Swatches panel. Then click the Stroke Color swatch and select None to remove the shape’s outline stroke.

Repeat to color all the walls and roofs.

Next, press Shift and click all parts of the window to select them. Set Fill color to None, and Stroke color to white or another color. Change the Stroke weight if desired.

Tip: It’s easy to reuse color attributes already applied to an object. Select an uncolored shape. Select the Eyedropper tool and click a colored object to sample its color, and then apply it to the selected shape.

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