How to Create a Triangle in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is one of the hallmarks of digital art. Yet, figuring out how to make a triangle on the app can be tricky. It has no dedicated tool for triangle creation, unlike with other common shapes such as rectangles and circles. Thankfully, triangles won’t be out of your reach for long.

How to Create a Triangle in Illustrator

This article demonstrates four ways you can create triangles in Illustrator.

Drawing Triangles Using the Polygon Tool

Perhaps the most straightforward way to create a triangle is with the Polygon tool:

  1. Create a new illustrator page and click the “Rectangle” tool icon.
  2. Scroll down the dropdown menu and select the “Polygon” tool.
  3. Click on the blank page to open the polygon settings menu.
  4. Navigate to the “Sides” settings and input a value of 3 representing a triangle’s three sides.
  5. Click “OK,” and an equilateral triangle will appear on the blank page.

Making a Triangle Using the Pen Tool

The simplest way you can create a freehand triangle is by using the Pen Tool. This feature works very similarly to its counterpart found in the Adobe Photoshop application. You’ll also have to manually set the corners when using this method which isn’t the case with the Polygon Tool. The instructions below will guide you in making the triangle:

  1. Select the Pen tool on the toolbar to activate it.
  2. Click on the canvas four times using the tool. The first three clicks mark the triangle’s three points, and the fourth should go to the first point created to close the shape.

Alternatively, you can:

  1. Click on the Pen tool on the toolbar.
  2. Select the three points where you want your triangle corners to be using the tool.
  3. Click on the “Direct Selection” tool.
  4. Use it to select two of the triangle’s open endpoints.
  5. Press Ctrl+J on your keyboard to close the shape.

The Pen tool allows incredible flexibility and is an excellent option if you don’t require the triangle’s angles to take a specific size. But, long pressing the Shift key when using the alternative method will create a shape with angles taking on 450 increments.

Creating a Right-angled Triangle Out of a Rectangle

Right-angled triangles can be a bit cumbersome, but you can make them by reducing a rectangle to three points. Below are steps to help make this shape:

  1. Select the Rectangle tool from the toolbar.
  2. Drag the cursor to create a diagonal, which Illustrator will autocomplete as a rectangle. Alternatively, press and hold the Shift key as you click and drag on the blank page to create a square.
  3. Activate the “Direct Selection” tool.
  4. Use it to select one of the square corners, then click “Delete” to erase the selected anchor point.
  5. Connect the remaining points to finish the triangle.

You can also create an isosceles right triangle out of a square. Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Select the Rectangle tool on the toolbar.
  2. Long press Shift and drag the tool on the canvas to create a uniform square.
  3. Select the square and click “Object” on the top navigation bar.
  4. Choose “Path” from the dropdown menu.
  5. Click “Add anchor points” on the pop-up menu.
  6. Select the “Pen Tool” and move it along the square’s top right corner until a “- “sign appears.
  7. Click on it to delete the corner anchor. Repeat the process for the anchor on the top right, middle right, and left middle side.
  8. A new isosceles triangle will be created.

You can also delete the anchor point on the bottom middle side to achieve a smooth finish on all sides.

Creating a Triangle Using the Star Tool

The Star Tool bears close semblance to the Polygon Tool regarding how they function. But, the Star tool provides more flexibility to create more triangle variations. Below are steps to guide you in making this shape with the Star Tool:

  1. Go to the toolbar and click on the “Rectangle” icon.
  2. Select the “Start Tool” from the dropdown menu.
  3. You’ll notice that your cursor takes on a “+” symbol with a dot at its center. Drag it to your canvas and click once.
  4. Input a value of 200 on the “Radius 1” field and 100 on the “Radius 2” field under the “Star” dialog box.
  5. Enter a value of 3 under the “Points” field.
  6. Click “OK” to create a triangle.

You can enter different values to see their effect on the triangle. You’ll also notice that the triangle you create using the Star tool bears more path points than the one made with the Polygon Tool. This allows you to quickly transform the shape.

Creating Triangles Using the Shaper Tool

The Shaper Tool can be used to create a variety of shapes. Here’s how you can use it to make a triangle:

  1. Navigate to the toolbar and select tool. Its symbolized by a stick with an irregular shape under it.
  2. If you can’t see it on the basic toolbar, switch to the advanced toolbar by clicking the “Meatball” menu icon.
  3. Click on the checklist icon on the top-right corner of the dropdown menu and select advanced from the appearing panel.
  4. Use the Shaper Tool to freely draw the triangle shape.

Additional Transformations You Can Make on a Standard Triangle

Illustrator offers a variety of tools and features that allow you to experiment with different designs. You can make a few extra transformations to this triangle as explained below:

  • Isosceles Triangle: This triangle only bears two identical edges. To transform a regular triangle into an isosceles, you’ll need the help of the “Selection Tool.” It allows you to manipulate the shape by selecting and dragging the sides until you achieve your preferred design.
  • Scalene Triangle: None of the three sides of this triangle correspond. The “Direct Selection” tool will help you convert your triangle into a scalene shape. Use the tool to adjust the sides or corners of the triangle to your desired angles.

Design Endless Triangle Variations With Illustrator

Learning to make triangles in Illustrator is an essential skill that helps elevate your artwork designs. The best and easiest way to create a triangle is using the Shaper Tool since the design is highly flexible, and you can obtain a perfect triangle from the start. Using the Pen Tool is ideal if you’re looking to create dynamic triangles. All in all, these methods come in handy in creating triangles in Illustrator since there’s no dedicated tool for drawing one.

Which method in this list would you recommend to newbie graphic designers? Is there a better method that wasn’t listed in the article? Let us know in the comments section below.

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