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Rectangular Grid Tool For Adobe Illustrator Tutorial How To Create Grids Beginner's Guide

By Andrew Buckle, Video Tutorial Creator / Designer

Updated : 2021

rectangular grid tool Illustrator fill tutorial


The Illustrator rectangular grid tool can be found in the Illustrator toolbar under the line tool in Adobe Illustrator. To use the rectangular grid tool, select and apply on the art board. Double click the rectangular grid icon and set the dividers (horizontal and vertical) for the rectangular grid.

  1. Select the rectangular grid tool in toolbar (beneath line segment tool) in Adobe Illustrator

  2. double click icon to change settings such as horizontal dividers etc

  3. set the stroke weight and color

  4. click and drag and draw the rectangular grid

You can set the fill and stroke color of the rectangular grid tool. You can also set the skew of the horizontal dividers and vertical dividers. You can use the tool once or multiple times. This tutorial shows you how to change the settings of the rectangular grid tool. How to add color to the rectangular grid. How to create grid line designs and edit the individual lines of the grid in Adobe Illustrator. How to ungroup the rectangular grid path in Adobe Illustrator. How to use the rectangular grid in Adobe Illustrator multiple times and combine the result of the grids and how to generate multiple grids using the tilde tool.


Basics of the rectangular grid tool in Adobe Illustrator

rectangular grid tool in Adobe Illustrator basic setup

You can find the rectangular grid beneath the line segment tool. Select the rectangular grid tool, double click or press return for settings. The rectangular grid creates a rectangle made of cells and uses the current stroke color for those cells. You can change the number of horizontal dividers and vertical dividers (as well as skew of those dividers). You can apply the rectangular grid once or multiple times, fill the artwork with color as well as distort and add effects and paths etc to the strokes

  1. select the rectangular grid tool (beneath the line tool)

  2. double click tool icon for settings

  3. set the dividers to 5 and 5 (though this does, confusingly create 6 x 6 cells)

  4. drag and create from the grid origin point.

  5. select color in swatches panel and fill with color using the live paint bucket (my favorite way of quickly coloring the design)

  6. click or drag with the live paint bucket to fill with color

  7. expand


Ungrouping the rectangular grid paths in Adobe Illustrator to reduce to just lines

rectangular grid and removing the frame

The rectangular grid is a collection of lines. You can ungroup the grid and manipulate the individual lines. The lines are just then normal paths and they can be formed into any number of additional artworks

  1. create the grid

  2. go to the object menu and ungroup

  3. to remove the frame, select the frame and delete

  4. Manipulate the lines as normal paths

  5. Form new grids and designs from the original rectangular grid path


Grid lines ungrouped in Adobe Illustrator and applying width tools and stroke width etc

The rectangular grid tool in Adobe Illustrator is made up of individual lines and you can change each individual line. Select the line with the direct selection tool or perhaps click the end points and shift those or select the anchor point tool and turn the straight lines into curves. You can also select the individual lines and delete them via the delete key. You can also select the individual grid lines and change the color of the stroke as well as add different stroke width profiles (or use the width tool to modify them)

  1. create grid

  2. object menu

  3. ungroup

  4. select the width tool

  5. go to the individual lines and change the width of the line.

  6. Select the lines with the direct selection tool and change the stroke color


Transform rectangular grids using the warp tools / mesh in Adobe Illustrator

transform and distort grids

The grid is a normal path and can be manipulated by standard tools in Adobe Illustrator such as the transforms and distort etc

  1. select grid

  2. object menu

  3. envelope distort

  4. make with warp

  5. set bend for the rectangular grid

  6. click OK

Create designs by generating multiple rectangle grids and combining

multiple rectangular grids combined in Adobe Illustrator

As with all the tools in Adobe Illustrator, the rectangular grid tool can be applied once as well as multiple times.

  1. view and smart guides ON

  2. select the Illustrator rectangular grid tool

  3. apply and set the color of the strokes

  4. use the smart guides to draw another rectangular grid and set the color of the stroke

  5. repeat to fill the entire document with grids

If you want to have all the rectangular grids as a single shape

  1. select all the grids

  2. object and expand

  3. go to the pathfinder panel

  4. unite

You can also apply the grids on top of the other grids to create far more complex grid artworks


Tilde / grave tool and generating multiple copies rapidly

The Illustrator rectangular grid tool can be used holding down the tilde / grave key. As you move the cursor, 100s of grids will then be generated across your art board. You can then select the grids and re-color them or delete them as required.



The rectangular grid tool can be used to great effect with the repeat. You can create your standard path and then with the object menu and repeat and radial or grid or mirror, all kinds of amazing designs can be created. You can create multiple instances and change the distance from the center of the effect. You can combine it with other effects such as 3D. It should be noted that the repeat object can also be edited so you can tweak the original design as well as the instances etc. You can also add to the design, re-color it, delete elements, edit the path / points, warp the design and more. You can find a video on the subject on our graphicxtras channel on YT.