Tilde key for use to create path transforms in Illustrator

Tilde key for Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 2014 CS6 etc and repeat copies in seconds

Tilde key for repeat paths in Illustrator

How to use Tilde key in Illustrator tutorial
  1. Select line tool (or star, ellipse, rectangle, polar) in Illustrator toolbar for use with the tilde (~) key

  2. Hold down the tilde key in keyboard

  3. Apply line to artboard and generate 1000s of lines or ellipses as you move your cursor

  4. Release mouse to finish


Video tutorial on the subject by graphicxtras.com (youtube)


Basics : windows locationThe tilde (~) character is found on the keyboard normally close to the shift / alt etc keys. Hold it down with the forementioned tools to create multiple copies in seconds


Location of the keyboard character : Where is the tilde (~) on the keyboard for use in Illustrator ??


This seems to depend on the keyboard so there is no simple answer to the issue.


macOn my Mac keyboard I can find it where you would assume a shift would be required but no, it works. If you are using a Portuguese keyboard / Chinese keyboard / French keyboard etc then the location will probably be different.


On my PC the tilde is found via the hash key or is it?. Anyway, once you have the ~ character you can use it in many different ways with many different tools. You may find the grave key works better and that is the ' key. It is odd why the keyboards never seem to be very consistent with this


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Space bar for shifting paths : spaceThe space bar is useful as when you add a path and you can move the generated item around and release the spacebar to set the place of origin for the generated path. You can use this with the generation of the multiple lines / circles etc as instead of adding all the lines and circles from a single point of origin, the circles and squares etc are all generated over the entire image and can fill an entire artboard or two with those lines or spirals or circles etc.


The key thing here is when you want to finish generating the paths, release the mouse first or you will loose the lines / spirals etc and you will then have to repeat the exercise.


Feature works with : linesRectangle

Rounded rectangle



star tool

line segment

arc tool

spiral tool

rectangular grid

polar grid


The character works with many different designs in AI. You can generate 1000s of unique designs using it. The design on the right was created using the line tool and the lines were rapidly rotated around from a central origin point. The artwork was then modified by a width profile to add a manga zoom effect and then clipped using the object menu clipping mask


Generate in different directions : multipleYou can create all kinds of multiple generated paths if you hold down the magical key on the keyboard and you can generate them in different directions (if you don't use the spacebar as well) but all from a single origin point.


You can, once you finish generating them, add them all into a single group or perhaps add them as a symbol to the symbol panel.


You can also change the color of the generated lines / spirals etc as well as add a width profile as well as brush strokes etc to the items


Works best with no fill : contour starEach of the tools also have their own settings so you can create stars with 5 points or 10 points etc with the key selected and you can also scale and rotate the star so you can generate a lovely line contoured artwork.


The tilde generated paths work probably best with no fill though if you use the spacebar and move to different origin points then fills will also work ok (the reason being the fills will overlap on top of the existing items to you can't often see the underlying paths though you can get around that by changing the opacity of the paths as well as the blending mode of the created items.


Group them : groupYou can turn them into a group (by selecting all the designs and going to the object menu and using the group command) and then you can just move them around and perhaps scale and rotate them or warp them.


You can also rotate them perhaps by 45 degrees and then add a new group and creating interesting combinations of groups or perhaps put them on layers.


Use in Photoshop : You can also export the generated artwork to Photoshop etc. You can add effects to the work, you can add blurs and much more to turn them into all kinds of weird and wonderful backgrounds and objects. You can also rotate and distort and envelope warp the created lines into all kinds of amazing line work.


Keywords : How to use Tilde key in Illustrator tutorial



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