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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Using the Free Transform Tool

The Free Transform tool allows you to rotate, scale (resize), reflect (mirror image), shear (slant), or distort an object. In addition, you can apply perspective and distortion to an object. When you select the Free Transform tool, the free transform widget (New!) appears with button options to constrain, free transform, perspective distort, and free distort. As you drag to free transform an object, you can also use keyboard keys to alter the results of a transformation. The selected object also has a movable reference point (New!) to specify the center position of the transformation. To help you align the results the way you want, you can use Smart Guides to make it easier. Free Transform is also touch-enabled (New!), which allows those with a touch screen device to pinch and swipe for panning and zooming.

Transform an Object with the Free Transform Tool

  • yellow-circle-1.jpg Select the Selection tool on the Tools panel.

  • yellow-circle-2.jpg Select one or more objects to transform.

  • yellow-circle-3.jpg Select the Free Transform tool on the Tools panel.

  • yellow-circle-4.jpg To adjust the reference point (New!), point to the reference point (blue point, cursor changes to caret with a circle point), and then drag it.

    • Reset Reference Point. Double-click the reference point.
  • yellow-circle-5.jpg To use Smart Guides as you transform an object:

    • Click the View menu, and then click Smart Guides to display them or select the Transform Tools check box in Smart Guides preferences.
    • As you drag to transform an object, smart guides appear, which you can use to align the transformed object.
  • yellow-circle-6.jpg To distort an object, click the Perspective Distort or Free Distort button on the widget to toggle it on (Highlighted icon). The Constrain button also toggles off.

  • yellow-circle-7.jpg To free transform an object, click the Free Transform button on the widget, and then use any of the following methods:

    • Scale. Drag a corner resize handle to scale along two axes; drag a side handle to scale along one axis.

      To scale proportionally, click the Constrain button on the widget to toggle it on (Lock icon) and then drag or Shift-drag. To scale from the center, hold down Alt (Win) or Option (Mac), and then drag. Also hold down Shift to scale from the center proportionally.

    • Reflect. Drag a side handle all the way across the object to the other side.
    • Rotate. Point slightly outside a corner handle (pointer changes to a double arrow), and then drag in a circular motion. To rotate in 45 degree increments, Shift-drag.

      To rotate an object 180 degrees, drag a corner handle diagonally all the way across the object.

    • Shear. Drag a side handle and then hold down Ctrl (Win) or common.jpg (Mac) as you continue to drag. To constrain the movement, also press Shift. To shear from the center, also press Alt (Win) or Option (Mac).
    • Perspective. Drag a side handle and then hold down Ctrl+Alt+Shift (Win) or common.jpg+Option+Shift (Mac) as you continue to drag.
    • Distort. Drag a corner handle and then hold down Ctrl (Win) or common.jpg (Mac) as you continue to drag.
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