Use this easy guide to get familiar with the Live Corners tool in Adobe Illustrator. Take control of your curved edges to make custom shapes with perfectly smooth corners.

Cover image via Incomible.

Back in ye olde days, if you wanted a shape with round corners, you would choose the rounded-corner box and just accept it as-was. Likewise, you could have used the pen tool to add anchor points and draw a curve, then work on it for an hour, tweaking and blinking at it. . . then repeat for the rest of the corners. Not real fun stuff.

A few years ago, Adobe gave us a quiet gift called Live Corners. Once you get familiar with it, it becomes one of those go-to techniques you wonder how designers lived without for so long. In this easy guide, I’ll show you how the use Live Corners to quickly make rounded shapes.

Create Uniform Rounded Corners

To round the corners of a shape all at once, start by creating your shape. While it’s still selected, click and drag one of the corner handles (the blue dots inside the corners of the shape). When you do this, you’ll see a blue preview outline. Use this to eyeball how your shape will look when you’re done.

An Easy Guide to Using Live Corners in Adobe Illustrator – Uniform Rounded Corners on Shapes

In addition, you can select the shape, hit A on the keyboard to activate the Direct Select tool (the white arrow), and then change the numerical values of the Corner Radius in the Corners sections of the Control bar.

Simply enter a value or use the arrow keys on the keyboard to increase or decrease the radii by 1/10″ increments (.1 inches).

An Easy Guide to Using Live Corners in Adobe Illustrator – Uniform Rounded Corners on Shapes

Customize Curves on Individual Corners

Sometimes you want to round off only certain corners, or you want different radii for different corners. This is a very handy option for custom shapes in flat designs and illustrations.

With the shape selected, hit A on the keyboard for the Direct Selection too (white arrow). Instead of dragging the corner, thus uniformly adjusting the curve on all corners, click once on the corner you want to change, then click-drag to your preference. Or, you can click to select the corner, then use the Corner Radius field in the Control bar at the top to enter a value, as in the above section.

An Easy Guide to Using Live Corners in Adobe Illustrator – Customize Curves on Individual Corners

More Corner Shape Options

Tired of round? There are two other preset shapes in this handy tool: Chamfer (diagonal angles) and Inverted Round (think border on a certificate or picture frame mat). You can access these options by clicking on Shapes in the control menu. A menu pops out and you can click each field representing the four corners of the shape to choose the shape you desire.

An Easy Guide to Using Live Corners in Adobe Illustrator – Other Corner Shape Options

Using these techniques you can build more elaborate shapes to use in your designs. Use it also to create patterns with uniform and interlocking edges, or compound shapes for iconography.

The fun doesn’t end with solid shapes. Use Live Corners to make an outline that undulates uniformly instead of haphazardly. Check out this primer on the Shapes tool for using these techniques on multi-angled shapes and paths.


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