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How to Round Corners in Illustrator

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In the following tutorial, you'll learn how to round corners in Illustrator. There are several different methods to achieve this, so pick the one which best helps solve your problem.

1. How to Round Corners Using Live Corner Widgets

Let's get to rounding some corners in Adobe Illustrator.

A couple of helpful panels to get you started are:

  • Transform panel (Window menu > Transform)
  • Properties panel (Window > Properties)
  • Control bar (Window > Control)

Step 1

Let's say we have this star object, and you wish to apply rounded corners to all its edges.

By using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and selecting the shape, you will notice the appearance of the Live Corners widget; little circular nodes in the internal and external corners of the shape. This Live Corners widget has been available in Adobe Illustrator CC since 2014.

You can increase/decrease the curve of the shape, by dragging the nodes inwards and outwards. The curvature will appear in red once the maximum possible curve point has been reached.

how to round corners in illustrator using Live corner widgets circular handles how to round corners in illustrator using Live corner widgets circular handles how to round corners in illustrator using Live corner widgets circular handles
Use the Live Corners widget to round corners

Step 2

If you wish to round an individual corner, then use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to double-click on one of the Live Corners widgets. This will open a dialog box that will allow you to edit the options for the selected anchor point.

Select Corner: Round option, and set the desired Radius size and Rounding style.

Double-click the Live Corners widget to open the dialog box learn how to adjust rounded corners in illustratorDouble-click the Live Corners widget to open the dialog box learn how to adjust rounded corners in illustratorDouble-click the Live Corners widget to open the dialog box learn how to adjust rounded corners in illustrator
Double-click the Live Corners widget to open the dialog box and set Corner options

Step 3

Did you know you can also round multiple selected corners in Adobe Illustrator?

For example, say you have two separate paths. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A), and hold the Shift key to select multiple nodes you’d like to round.

Then head over to the Corners link in the above Control bar, and manually set the Corner Radius pt value. Or you can simply click and drag the Live Corner widgets to the desired roundness.

How to round the corner radius of multiple path selections in adobe illustratorHow to round the corner radius of multiple path selections in adobe illustratorHow to round the corner radius of multiple path selections in adobe illustrator
From the Control bar, set the Corner Radius of one or multiple anchor points

Step 4

Another technique for rounding or editing the corner radius is displayed within the Transform panel (Window menu > Transform). You can easily set the radius value from the Corners section.

Edit the round corner radius thru the Transform. panelEdit the round corner radius thru the Transform. panelEdit the round corner radius thru the Transform. panel
Use the Transform panel as an option to edit the Corner radius

Step 5

What to do if you can't round a corner on a path or object? Sometimes, you might run into the situation where the Live Corner widgets are not showing.

First, check that your Adobe Illustrator version is no earlier than the Illustrator CC/17.1 version, which introduced Live Corners.

Second, make sure View > Show Corner Widgets is on.

Third, check if the anchor point is actually a corner. Select the point using the Direct Selection Tool, and then head over to the Convert section in the Control bar and click the Convert selected anchor points to corner icon.

If you still cannot round the corners after this point, then the issue is probably due to the object being too small. To solve it, scale the object until you see the widgets appear. This might disrupt the original object size, but after making the rounding corner modification, you can simply scale it back.

scale object size for Live corner Widgets to appear in small objectsscale object size for Live corner Widgets to appear in small objectsscale object size for Live corner Widgets to appear in small objects

2. Other Techniques to Round Corners In Illustrator

There are various methods to quickly round corners or edges on a path or shape, using Illustrator's basic tools. Let's have a look at the options.

Method 1: Learn How to Use the Anchor Point Tool

Sometimes, when a path or shape is selected, it might display both sharp edges and smooth corners.

You will notice that some corners will not have Live Corners. The sharp edges will show anchor points with no handles, while smooth corners are presented as anchor points with handles.

To edit the smooth corners, you must convert them to sharp anchor points. To do so, use the Anchor Point Tool (Command-C). So to convert the sharp corners, just click, drag, and release an anchor point to drag the handles out.

And to convert smooth corners, simply click the anchor point to remove the handles, and then adjust the rounding using the Direct Selection Tool (A).

Use the Anchor Point Tool to convert smooth corners to sharpUse the Anchor Point Tool to convert smooth corners to sharpUse the Anchor Point Tool to convert smooth corners to sharp

Method 2: Round Corners Using the Convert Button Option

This method of rounding corners in Illustrator uses the Convert button option.

If you have a single anchor point selected, move over to the Properties panel, where you will notice a Convert section displayed. The first button will convert to a sharp corner, while the second button will Convert selected anchor points to smooth.

Round corners Using convert sharp to smooth corner in Properties panelRound corners Using convert sharp to smooth corner in Properties panelRound corners Using convert sharp to smooth corner in Properties panel
Convert sharp corners to smooth from Properties Panel's Convert options

Method 3: How to Apply a Stylize Effect to Round Corners

Next, learn how to round the corners of rectangles in Illustrator, or basically any shape that needs round edges.

Once you have the shape selected, apply Effect > Stylize > Round Corners, and you will see the dynamic effect being applied uniformly to the appearance of your object. You can define the curvature of the rounded curve by setting the Round Corners: Radius pt value, from the dialog box.

Learn how to round corners of rectangle in illustrator by stylize dynamic effect in Adobe IllustratorLearn how to round corners of rectangle in illustrator by stylize dynamic effect in Adobe IllustratorLearn how to round corners of rectangle in illustrator by stylize dynamic effect in Adobe Illustrator
How to round the corners of a rectangle in Illustrator using the Stylize effect

3. How to Apply Round Corners to an Image in Adobe Illustrator

For the last method, let's assume you have a photo image and you want to know how to make rounded corners in Illustrator. We have used a colorful educational toy photo from Envato Elements for this quick tip.

Step 1

Import the image onto your artboard (File > Place). Then choose the Polygon Tool, under Rectangle Tool (M) in the Tools menu, and draw a hexagon shape over the image.

Place image file from Envato elements and place onto Illustrator to create clipping mask shapePlace image file from Envato elements and place onto Illustrator to create clipping mask shapePlace image file from Envato elements and place onto Illustrator to create clipping mask shape

Step 2

Select both the hexagon and the photo using the Selection Tool (V). Then Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Command-7) to create a clipping set that masks the photo.

Select both objects using Selection tool and make Clipping mask Select both objects using Selection tool and make Clipping mask Select both objects using Selection tool and make Clipping mask

Step 3

Then take the Direct Selection Tool (A), hold the Shift key, and select multiple Live Corners nodes from the top and bottom of the hexagon. Drag the nodes towards the center of the shape, and you will have rounded the image corners.

Round corners of an image using clipping mask in adobe illustratorRound corners of an image using clipping mask in adobe illustratorRound corners of an image using clipping mask in adobe illustrator

You Gained a Skill!

Now you have gained the skills of how to round corners in Illustrator! This will definitely ease your workflow and productivity.

If you have any questions on how to round edges or corners in Illustrator, simply leave a comment below.

Do check out these other handy tutorials from Envato Tuts+ to kick-start your design career! As always, thanks for following!

Would you like to learn other useful tips in Adobe Illustrator CC? Head on over to our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel.

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