There are several ways to create an arrow using Illustrator CS6. Here are five different methods that will give you a wide variety of arrows to choose from:
Using the Stroke Panel
Using the Stroke Panel
In Illustrator CS6, turning any line into an arrow with arrowheads and tails is easy.
Create any line (straight or curved) with two end points.
With the line selected, open the Stroke panel by choosing Window > Stroke.
Find the section titled “Arrowheads” and select your arrowhead and tail sections!
Below are some examples of arrows created using the Stroke panel:
To use the preset symbols in Illustrator CS6, open the Symbols panel by choosing Window > Symbols.
In the Symbols panel, open the fly-out menu, choose “Open Symbols Library” and open the Arrows Library.
From there, just drag and drop your arrows onto your artboard.
Here are some examples of Arrow Symbols:
Note: When you make edits to the symbol on your artboard it will apply the change to the symbol in the library. To prevent this, right-click on the symbol you dragged out and click “Break Link to Symbol” before making any alterations to it.
You can choose a typeface that contains special arrow characters. To see if a font contains arrow characters, choose Window > Type > Glyphs.
Select the font at the bottom of the panel and scroll through the glyphs (characters) to search for arrows.
Create a text box. Double-click the glyph you would like to use and it will appear in the text box.
To convert the arrow from live text into a graphic icon, select your text box and choose Type > Create Outlines. Converting live text to outlines is important if you would like to edit the text in the same way that you edit objects. For example, you may want to alter the edge of a text character but cannot do so if you don’t convert to outlines.
Here are some examples of arrow glyphs in the typeface Zapf Dingbats:
To use the arrow brushes, select Window > Brushes.
In the panel fly-out menu, choose Open Brush Library > Arrows.
There are three default arrow libraries in Illustrator CS6 (Special Arrows, Standard Arrows, Pattern Arrows). Open any of the libraries and select any arrow you desire.
Use the Paintbrush tool and paint your arrow onto the artboard. The arrow will follow the motion of your brush.
Here are some examples of arrow created using the Brush Tool:
Creating your own custom arrows using shapes is very easy with the help of the Pathfinder tool. Here’s a basic example using simple shapes.
Start by creating a rectangle and a triangle.
Position the two so that they overlap slightly and make an arrow shape.
Open the Pathfinder panel by choosing Window > Pathfinder. Select both shapes and choose Unite in the Pathfinder panel.
The two pieces have united to become one! This same process can be used with any number of shapes that you create, so get creative!
There you have it… five simple methods to give you a variety of arrows for any of your designing needs! If you’d like to learn more about creating Arrows and Arrowheads using Illustrator CS6, check out these great resources:
How do you crop an image in Illustrator? You don’t have to crop the image in Photoshop or Lightroom before you place it in your Illustrator file. There are a few different ways to crop in Illustrator but these two new videos give you some best practices for cropping. In one, Adobe’s Erica Larson shows how to crop with an opacity mask and in the other she shows you how to crop with a clipping mask:
This wonderful illustration was created by Adobe intern Kendall Plant using Adobe Ideas and Adobe Illustrator. Learn how to create a sketch in Ideas, clean it up and add colors, then import it into Illustrator and refine it further. Check out the 3-part video series to master this illustration workflow.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a list of Adobe tutorials that you could scan through quickly? Wish you didn’t have to wade through search results full of irrelevant content? What you need is a comprehensive tutorial list! Adobe has created just the list for you. They’ve got lists of all the tutorials (both video and text) that live on Adobe.com for 11 different products. The lists contain tutorials for multiple versions of the products, with the most recent tutorials on the top. You can sign up for an RSS feed to find out when new tutorials are added to the list.
Check out these lists for some really great tutorials (including CS5):
In just 3 days you’ll be able to see all the new features available in Creative Suite 5. Adobe has been giving some “sneak peeks” at some of those features. In case you’ve somehow missed all the buzz about those features, here are a couple of places you should check out. There are some great videos that demonstrate the new features. I highly recommend watching at least these two videos:
There is more than one way to create an arrow using Illustrator. First, you can always draw your own arrow with the pen tool. Or, you might want to use a pre-designed arrow by using the Add Arrowheads filter or a brush or symbol. And finally, you can use an arrow design that is part of a font. To learn how to make an arrow, here are some good resources for you. If you want arrow and arrowhead instructions for Illustrator CS6, see this blog post: Creating arrows and arrowheads in Illustrator CS6.
These are the arrows you can use with the Symbol Tool. To get this palette, choose Window > Symbols to display the Symbols palette. Then from the Symbols palette pop up menu, choose Open Symbol Library > Arrows.
These are some of the arrows you can use with the Brush Tool. To get this palette, choose Window > Brushes to display the Brushes palette. Then from the Brushes palette pop up menu, choose Open Brush Library > Arrows and choose one of the three libraries of arrow brushes.
Use a font that contains arrow characters
To see if a font contains arrow characters, choose Window > Type > Glyphs. Select the font at the bottom of the palette and then scroll through the glyphs (characters) to search for arrows.
Just signing off for the year. I wanted to tell you that my posts will be less frequent from now on. I will still be posting occasionally when I find a really good topic with great tutorials to tell you about. For now, I highly recommend that you look to the following links for really great content that is being updated regularly:
If you have great tutorials, try using the comment feature at the bottom of the Help pages to submit your content. If the writers like your work, they might include it in the documentation and give you credit!
Have a great holiday season. See you in 2009. Happy New Year!
Sr Instructional Designer, Digital Imaging
Adobe Systems Inc.
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