Working with Anchor Points and Creating Shapes with InDesign CS6

If we want to create a shape that is not included in the tools within InDesign, the anchor points enables us to modify the readily available shapes to create a whole new one; moreover, create complex figures.

When you draw in Indesign, you create a line called a path which comprises of straight or curved segments. Found at the beginning and end of each of these segments is what we call anchor points. We can create a whole new shape by moving these anchor points.

How to create a triangle out of a rectangle:

1. Select the Rectangle tool or press keyboard shortcut M and draw a rectangle.
2. Activate the Direct Selection tool or press keyboard shortcut A.
3. Hover the cursor over the anchor point on the upper left hand corner of the rectangle.
4. Left click on the anchor point. Drag it down until the smart guides display that a perfect diagonal line has been created between the two anchor points in opposite corners of the original rectangle.
5. Release the left mouse button. Now, we have created a triangle.

There will be instances wherein you will need to select multiple anchor points at a time, or add/delete anchor points in order to achieve the figure that you are trying to create. There are advantages and disadvantages in doing these. Adding anchor points can give you more control over a path as well as it can extend an open path. However, remember not to add more than necessary as they will become difficult to edit, display, and print. Deleting some anchor points that you don’t need can reduce the path’s complexity.

Selecting more than one anchor point:

1. Select the first anchor point with your left mouse button.
2. While holding the Shift key, continue selecting the rest of the anchor points.

Adding and Deleting anchor points:

1. Select the Pen tool. (Note: The Pen tool changes to an Add Anchor Point tool or Delete Anchor Point tool by default once you do #2.)
2. Position your cursor over a selected path to add a new anchor point or over an anchor point to delete it.


1. To manually select the Add Path tool, you can either press the equal (=) sign on your keyboard or select the Add Anchor Point tool on the tool panel.
2. To remove unnecessary anchor points, activate the Delete Anchor Point tool on the tool panel or select the minus (-) sign on the keyboard. Then, left click on the anchor point in the shape to delete the anchor point.

Anchor points have two types: corner points and smooth points. At a corner point, a path abruptly changes direction; at a smooth point, path segments are connected as a continuous curve. Examples: Rectangles and triangles have corner points. Circles have smooth points.

The tool that allows us to change a corner point to a smooth point vice versa is the Convert Direction Point tool.

1. To activate the Convert Direction Point tool, press Shift+C on your keyboard or select  on the tool panel.
2. Select one of your anchor points.
3. Left mouse click and drag it to a direction to achieve a curve path.
4. Adjust it accordingly to the new shape that you are trying to create.

Working with anchors points in Indesign to create more than just a simple shape can seem challenging and frustrating. But as you utilize it more often, you will become more and more comfortable in creating basic to complex shapes.


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