How to use the Orient and Transform Tool in Illustrator

How to use the Orient and Transform Tool in Illustrator

3 minute read

In this tutorial we used the Orient Transform Tool within the SubScribe Plugin, to quickly duplicate the wings of one bumble bee, onto the next. What’s special about this tool, is that whilst duplicating an object, you can scale it simultaneously!

As the Orient Transform tool has several keypresses which can add or change its functionality, we suggest installing the free Astute Graphics plugin Astute Buddy, which creates a panel that dynamically updates to inform you of the various keys which can be pressed in the tool’s current context.

To use the Orient Transform tool, two reference lines must be drawn: a source line and a destination line. This can be done by using one of two methods: by clicking once on each endpoint, or by clicking and dragging. The former method has the advantage of allowing you to scroll, zoom, change the view mode, etc. in the middle of the operation.

Here's how we did ours:

🐝 Select the object you want to move.

🐝 Locate the Orient and Transform Tool in the Tool bar (it’s stacked under the Orient Tool).

🐝 Click where you’d like your first reference point to be.

🐝 Then go ahead and click your second reference marker point. The reference line is annotated with small circles (red, by default) at each end.

🐝 Now you can click-and-drag your object into another position. Holding the Alt/Opt key to duplicate rather than just move the object.

Bonus Keypresses

🐝 If you want to duplicate the object, hold down the Alt/Opt key before you release the mouse. Or toggling the D key will apply a persistent duplication, so the Option/Alt key does not need to be held down to duplicate art. This can be useful when using the tool to make many successive copies of an art object.

🐝 If you want to flip the orientation, press the Space key before you release the cursor.

🐝 If you want to mirror the output, toggle the A key.

🐝 If you want to lock the size so it matches the original, toggle the S key.


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