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How to Use the Pen Tool to Add & Delete Anchor Points

Learn how to use the Adobe Illustrator pen tool to add and delete anchor points from expert Will "Focus" Dubois in this Howcast video.


This is how you add and delete anchor points in Adobe Illustrator. We're going to head over to our tools mantel, click our pencil, and we're going to click out. Let's say, one long line. And let's say we want to keep this line straight, we're going to hold down our shift key, just so we have a straight line. And we're actually going to have, let's decrease our stroke just a little bit. So that way we can see what we're about to add. So right now there are only two anchor points on this line. We click again, we add a third, click again we add a fourth, and a fifth and so on.

But, let's say we just want to add anchor points to the actual area that's already existing on a stroke. Now, we don't want to click to keep adding because that doesn't give us what we want. What we want to do is, if you were to head to the pencil and you were to click and hold down, you'll notice there are other options in your actual pen tool. One of those options is to add an anchor point. And you'll see, it's right here. And the shortcut for that is actually the plus symbol on your keyboard. So it's really easy to remember. You want to add something, addition, plus symbol. So you would just click anywhere on this pad, anywhere on the line segment. Anywhere, it doesn't matter where. When you click it, now you'll have a different anchor point. And you can do that as many times as you want. Just so you know that it's there, you'll now see that you can flex and move that point according. And prior to that you couldn't do that because there was only one anchor point on one end, and one on the other. So, let's straighten this back out. Again, hit our plus symbol, you can select anywhere, multiple times. You can change it. Click anywhere on that segment and you'll notice that you get added anchor points.

Now, if we wanted to remove these anchor points, and we just wanted our two original ones, the opposite of adding is subtracting. So, instead of the plus symbol we would use the minus symbol. Or, we can click in our pencil area, hold down, and you'll notice that there's a delete anchor point tool. And you go to the anchor points that you created, let's say I clicked this one. You'll notice that if I delete this anchor point, the end point will then adjust to connect to the nearest anchor point. So, click that, that's there. If I were to delete this one, and then adjust there. But let's say I want it back to the original spot, remember these anchor points have not moved, so if I were to click this point right here, we're now back to our original line segment. And that's how you add and remove anchor points in Adobe Illustrator.

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