Skip to main content

How to Scale Objects with Adobe Illustrator

Learn how to scale objects with Adobe Illustrator from expert Will "Focus" Dubois in this Howcast video.


This is how you scale objects in Adobe Illustrator. So, we're going to go to our handy-dandy tools panel and we're going to click the Rectangle tool. We're going to drag us out a rectangle. And let's say we have this rectangle here and we want to increase the size of the rectangle. Now, a quick way to increase the size is, if you were to click on it with your selection tool, you'll notice there are little squares on the outside of this actual rectangle. You can click on any one of these squares, you can drag it and it will actually scale the size up or down. But sometimes that can be rather annoying because it'll warp the orientation of your shape.

And, almost everybody wants their shape to remain the same, unless they're actually trying to warp it on purpose. So, if you were to grab a corner, you were to click and you were to hold down your shift key, you'll notice that, as you drag it, the actual shape itself will maintain its proportions and its orientation. So it won't actually warp. Now, if we wanted to scale that, instead of it just going out to the right, and let's say we wanted to center-scale it. If we click that and we hold the Shift key and we hold our Alt key, you'll notice that it'll scale out from the center. So it'll actually maintain positioning based upon the center of the object as well. Now that's one way for you to scale. Another way to scale is to actually select the Scale tool. This is your free transform tool. If you were to click this and click a corner, drag this up. Same thing as just having your selection tool. Same exact thing. Now let's say we wanted to do this with just numbers, uniformly changing the size. We can actually go over to our Scale tool itself. If you look in your tools panel, you go about halfway down you'll notice, right above your Width tool, there's is a tool with two rectangles, and there is an arrow from one rectangle going upward.

That designates the fact that this is actually going to scale. So when we double-click on that, what it does is, it gives you your scale options. The first says Uniform and the second one says Nonuniform. And you notice when you click Nonuniform, you have horizontal and you have vertical. Again, most people want their shape to scale uniformly. So what we're going to do is we're going to click on the Preview button. And this is going to show us what's happening to our shape, live on our panel. So we're just going to increase - bump up - the numbers uniformly. And you'll notice that it scales. All the numbers are changing and you can click OK and it will actually change that live on your board. If you were to double-click on that again, and we were to go to Nonuniform, let's say we change this only to change the horizontal aspect. If we were to change that, you'll notice that it increases or decreases left and right. If we were to do it vertically, same thing. Now, you'll notice that, in your options panel you have a Scale, Strokes and Effects. If at some point in time, you decide to add effects onto an object, or part of your artwork, you want to scale it, or if you have a stroke around your object, it will actually scale the stroke according to the size of the object.

So right now, as is, let's add a black stroke and let's increase the size. All right. So now we have this rectangle with a black stroke. We want to scale that. If we were to scale this up, let's say 200%, you'll notice that the stroke stays the same size. Now if we were to go back down, all right, and to copy you can Command-C or Control-C and you can Command- or Control-F to just paste in front. Now, if we were to scale this object without the scale and stroke effects at 200%, the stroke remains the same. But if we were to scale this at 200% but scale, stroke and effects, you'll notice that the stroke will double, just like the size doubled. And that's how you work with the scale tool in Adobe Illustrator.

Popular Categories