How to use the width tool in Illustrator tutorial

Learn how to use the width tool in Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 CS6 etc

Width tool

How to use the width tool in Illustrator tutorial
  1. Select the width tool (halfway down the Illustrator toolbar)

  2. Goto to a path with a stroke (weight such as 10pt etc)

  3. Hover over the actual path (not the stroke) and click and drag outwards or inwards to modify the width of the stroke

  4. Click with width tool in a different position along line to drag inwards or outwards to modify the profile


Video tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


The WT can be used to create all kinds of amazing designs in Illustrator with a path with a stroke. The WT can be used with all kinds of paths such as closed paths and open paths as well as circles, curves, etc.


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The WT results can then be expanded via the object menu and expand (though sometimes the result can have vast amounts of points)


moving pointsYou can use the tool with all kinds of paths and you can make as complex and as basic modifications to the artwork as you wish once you start using the tool. There are no options available to the tool but it is an interactive tool that you can changes as much or as little as you wish.


You can modify the profile in many ways by hovering over parts of the 'path'.


Select a path in Illustrator (any path, open or closed) such as line segment or spiral or circle etc. Go to the WT. Make certain there is a path stroke (it will not work otherwise). Go to the path and hover over the path and you will see a + appear. Drag outward (hold down the alt / option to just drag one side of the profile). Go to another part of the path and see the '+' appear again. Drag out the profile


You can use the WT to create all kinds of unique shapes in Illustrator by using the WT to modify the selected artwork. Click the center of one of the added points with the WT. Drag the point and move back and forth along the path. You will notice that the point can only be dragged so far (in some cases) but this depends on the path and the other points (you cannot stretch it beyond its limits). Sometimes the center point can be dragged over multiple points. Click the side of the stroke profile (with the WT) you wish to change and drag


If you wish to modify the outer points of the profile. Hold the alt / option to alter just one side


One of the key issues you will find when you come to expand the appearance via the object menu is that there can be often a lot of points associated with the tool and the results may need a little cleanup afterwards to smooth the artwork. The expanded never looks as good as the displayed smooth path as you use the WT. You can use apps such as the Astute Vectorscribe to cleanup the artwork or the smooth tool in AI


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