How to draw a line segment in Illustrator tutorial

How to use the live line segment tool in Adobe Illustrator in CC 2018 2017 2015 tutorial. The Illustrator live line segment tool can be found in the Illustrator toolbar of CC, it now supersedes the earlier line segment tool. The live line segment tool draws lines using the current stroke setting.

Line segment tool

how to use line segment tool in Illustrator CC 2018 2017 etc
  1. Select the line segment tool in the Illustrator toolbar

  2. Set the stroke weight

  3. Set color

  4. Click artboard with tool

  5. Draw using the live line segment tool

The live line tool can be applied multiple times. It generates two points that can be modified in 1000s of ways using tools such as direct selection tool and curvature tool. It can be used to create dramatic artworks in seconds in Illustrator. It is also live and can be edited via the Illustrator properties panel. This tutorial shows you how to use the preferences for the live line segment tool, how to use with the tilde key, how to rotate, how to turn it into a regular line shape.

Line segment tool / live tool

The Illustrator line segment tool is no longer the old tool from CS6 CS5 etc, it is now a live shape tool and as such it comes with a number of new features as well as a few features that have (at the present) vanished. Live shapes is the new concept for the CC that certain paths remain editable in such as circles / rectangles and now the line has joined the live category. I mean, it was always live before as you could always stretch the line and set the angle but you will see a few differences in the features.

Preferences for the Illustrator 'live' line segment tool

line segment illustrator tool and preferences

I generally go to the preferences section and set up the preferences for the smart guide to include most of the features. Smart guides can be very useful as well as baffling at times in that sometimes where you expect a smart guide you won't see it and in some places you will. I am certain the smart guides will grow and be added to over and over in the next few versions of AI and they are generally worth checking out. Set the transformation tools to on and construction guides. You can use them without those set on as well.

Illustrator Toolbar and line segment tool

  1. Go to the toolbar and select the 'live' line segment tool

  2. Set the stroke and width etc and add the path by clicking on a position on the artboard and then dragging the tool to another position on the artboard (near or far).

OK, not much different from before. You can still use the shift key at this point to constrain the angle to 45 degrees etc but weirdly this feature appears not to be available once the artwork is there on the artboard.

End points for the line segment tool

line segment end point illustrator

You can select the end points and rotate and as you move the artwork you will see smart guides popping up saying certain distances from certain paths and not others as well as various alignments. You may or may not like that feature but personally, I think the info is useful and it is great to be able to select a certain point to stop moving the path or changing the angle. The reference point does not seem to have any use.


To extend the length of the line just select either end point and stretch out to the required point or go the other way to shrink the line. You can also change the angle via the transformations panel as well as change the length and position of the path via the top bar.

  1. Create a number of line segment paths using the live segment tool (vertical lines)

  2. Select the top point of first line

  3. Hold the shift key

  4. drag the end point up or down (will be in straight line as on the right)

  5. Repeat with the other line segment paths by selecting the top end point


You can also use the horizontal setting for the line (change the reference point to be the middle bottom)

Line rotation

line segment tool rotate

The rotate can be done as before by using the selection tool and having the control just close to the end point (above). You can constrain the angle of the rotation to 45 degrees etc

  1. Create a line segment path using the line segment tool

  2. Select the top end point

  3. Rotate

  4. Hold shift to constrain


Or use the transform panel to rotate the line

Tilde / grave key and the line segment tool in Illustrator

line segment tilde

You can apply the line segment tool with the tilde tool, please check out our tilde trick tutorial on this as it can be used to create 1000s of paths such as zoom or circular artworks

  1. Select the line segment tool in toolbar

  2. Select black for the color

  3. Set the stroke weight to 1

  4. Click artboard

  5. Draw

  6. Hold tilde key down

  7. Release mouse

Other tutorials

1. how to use blob brushes and join blobs etc tutorial

Sources and references

1) Line segment tool on


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