Skip to Content

How to Smooth Edges in Illustrator — In-depth Guide

How to Smooth Edges in Illustrator — In-depth Guide

You’re working on a project and it’s nearly perfect, but a few of your objects are still a little rough around the edges. What can you do?

There are four ways to smooth the edges of an object in Illustrator. To smooth an edge, you can use the Smooth tool, the Sub-selection tool, the Simplify Window, or the Corner widget.

In some cases, you can even combine these tools to get the exact look you need. Here’s how to use each one.

 

1. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Smooth Tool – Quick Guide

Press “V” on your keyboard to equip the Selection tool, then click on your object. Next, right click on the Shaper tool, then click on the Smooth tool. Finally, drag the Smooth tool over the path along the shape you want to smooth. 

The Smooth tool lets you smooth out a jagged edge or line at the drag of a cursor by automatically smoothing the line for you. 

 

Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Smooth Tool – Step-by-step Guide

 

Step 1:

Find and select the Selection tool. Look for the Selection tool, located on the toolbar on the left side of your screen. You can also use the keyboard shortcut “V” to quick-select the tool.

1. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Smooth Tool 
 
Step 1

 

Step 2:

Select your shape. Use the selection tool to click on your shape. A highlighted border should appear around it.

1. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Smooth Tool Step 2

 

Step 3:

Find and select the Smooth tool. To equip the Smooth tool, right click on the Shaper tool, located on the toolbar on the left side of your screen, then click on the Smooth tool icon. While the smooth tool is equipped, all the anchor points on the border around your selected object will be highlighted and visible. 

1. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Smooth Tool Step 3

 

Step 4:

Smooth the edges of your shape. Click and drag the Smooth tool over the segment of the edge you want to Smooth out. Keep dragging the tool over this area until the desired result is reached.

1. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Smooth Tool 
 
Step 4
 

2. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Sub-selection Tool – Quick Guide

Press “V” on your keyboard to equip the Selection tool, then click on your object. Next, Press the “A” key on your keyboard to equip the Sub-selection tool and “Shift+click” on each anchor point along the edge you want to smooth. Then use the Sub-selection tool to adjust the edge of your shape.

With the Sub-selection tool you can select and alter specific anchor points and the paths connected by them, as well as the curve of these paths. Here’s a full guide.
 

Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Sub-selection Tool – Step-by-step Guide

 
Step 1:

Find and select the Selection tool. Look for the Selection tool, located on the toolbar on the left side of your screen. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut “V” to quick-select the tool.

2. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Sub-selection Tool Step 1

 

Step 2:

Select your shape. Use the selection tool to click on your shape. A highlighted border should appear around it.

2. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Sub-Selection Tool Step 2

 

Step 3:

Find and select the Sub-selection tool. Look for the Sub-selection tool, located on the toolbar on the left side of your screen. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut “A” to quick-select the tool.

2. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Sub-selection Tool Step 3

 

Step 4:

Select your anchor points. Use the Sub-selection tool to select the anchor point closest to the edge you want to smooth. Once selected, the anchor point should be highlighted while the rest remain white. To select multiple anchor points, press and hold the “Shift” key and click on each one. 

2. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Sub-selection Tool Step 4

 

Step 5:

Adjust the edges of your shape. From here you can adjust your shape by moving your anchor points, as well as any path that connects them. You can also use the anchor handles attached to the anchor points on any curved line to adjust the curve of that line.

2. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Sub-selection Tool Step 5

 

3. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Simplify Window – Quick Guide

Press “V” on your keyboard to equip the Selection tool, then click on your object. Next, go to “Object”, followed by “Path”, then click on “Simplify…”. Finally, use the slider on the resulting window to adjust the smoothness of your object.

 

Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Simplify Window – Step-by-step Guide

 
Step 1:

Find and select the Selection tool. Look for the Selection tool, located on the toolbar on the left side of your screen. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut “V” to quick-select the tool.

3. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Simplify Window Step 1

 

Step 2:

Select your shape. Use the selection tool to click on your shape. A highlighted border should appear around it.

3. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Simplify Window Step 2

 

Step 3:

Open the Simplify window. On the menu at the top of the screen, go to “Object”, followed by “Path”, then click on “Simplify…”. A small toolbar featuring a slider and two icons should pop up on your screen.

3. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Simplify Window Step 3
 
Step 4:

Adjust your shape. Use the slider on the Simplify window to adjust the amount of anchor points around your object. You can also click the “Auto-Simplify” icon to have Illustrator set the number automatically or the “More Options” icon to open a window where you’ll have more adjustment-options.

3. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Simplify Window Step 4
 

4. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Corner Widget – Quick Guide

Press “A” on your keyboard to equip the Sub-selection tool. Next, select the anchor point(s) you want to smooth. Then, click and drag any related corner widget.

This method is perfect for big shapes with sharp edges that need smoothing. 
 

Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Corner Widget – Quick Guide – Step-

 

Step 1:

Find and select the Sub-selection tool. Look for the Sub-selection tool, located on the toolbar on the left side of your screen. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut “A” to quick-select the tool.

4. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Corner Widget Step 1 

 

Step 2:

Select your anchor points. Press and hold the “Shift” key and click on each anchor point along the edge you want to smooth.

4. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Corner Widget Step 2

 

Step 3:

Adjust your edges. Click and drag any corner widget related to the selected anchor point(s) to smooth them. 

4. Smoothing Edges In Illustrator Using The Corner Widget Step 3