How to Make a Triangle in Illustrator: 3 Simple Methods (Updated 2022)

how to make a triangle in illustrator

Are you wondering how to make a triangle in Illustrator in the easiest way possible? Adobe Illustrator CC has the right tools you need to do this. However, there isn’t a tool called the “Triangle Tool” to help you draw a triangle in Illustrator.

The good news is, that there are different tools you can use to make or draw the right triangle or perfect triangle shape. And you can make many kinds of triangles in Illustrator.

How To Make A Triangle In Illustrator

First Method With The Polygon Tool

Step 1: Select the Polygon Tool

Select the Polygon Tool

The Polygon Tool is like a tool that encompasses all shape tools. You can use this to draw or make anything that’s a polygon shape with sides of the same lengths. To find it, go to the Toolbar or Tools Panel, and look for the Rectangle Tool with a rectangle shape as the icon. Right-click on the Rectangle Tool and you can select the Polygon Tool from the submenu. The Polygon tool has a hexagon icon.

Step 2: Make the Triangle

Video of using the Polygon Tool to make a triangle in Illustrator

Once you’ve selected the Polygon Tool, your cursor changes to a plus-like sign with a dot in the middle. Bring it to your artboard and click once. The Polygon Settings dialog box pops up.

The radius value determines the size or dimension of your triangle. 0.001pt smallest radius it can go. Let’s use 200pt for now. The sides field is where you determine the number of sides of the polygon. A triangle has three sides, hence input the number 3. Then, click the OK button and a triangle appears.

Polygon Settings dialog box
Equilateral triangle

You will see that no matter what values you type into the dialog box, your triangle will always be an equilateral triangle (equal sides and angles). If you wish to make a scalene triangle that has different angles, select the Direct Selection Tool from the Toolbar, or press the letter A on the keyboard. It is an icon with a solid light grey arrow. Then, bring the cursor to any of the three points of the triangle. Click on the selected point and drag it anywhere you desire. Now you get a Scalene triangle with different side lengths and angles.

Direct Selection Tool
Scalene triangle

If you wish to create an isosceles triangle (2 equal sides or 2 equal angles), select the Selection Tool from the Toolbar. The Selection Tool is different from the Direct Selection Tool. It is an icon with a black solid cursor. With the Selection Tool, go to the top of the equilateral triangle, and drag the top of the bounding box upwards.

Isosceles triangle

Second Method With The Star Tool

Step 1: Select the Star Tool

The Star Tool works in a similar way as the Polygon Tool. The first step is to look for it in the Toolbar. Go to the Rectangle Tool, right-click on the rectangle icon and a submenu appears. Select the Star Tool, represented with a star icon.

Star Tool

Step 2: Make the Triangle

Once you’ve selected the Star Tool, your cursor changes to a plus-like sign with a dot in the middle. Bring it to your artboard and click once. The Star Settings dialog box pops up. In the Radius fields, enter 200 in the field that says Radius 1, and 100 in the field that says Radius 2. In the Sides field, change it to 3, and click the OK button, a triangle appears.

Star Settings dialog box

The difference between using the Star Tool vs Polygon Tool to make a triangle in Illustrator is that with the Star Tool, you have more flexibility to create other variations of a triangle. You do this by altering the values in the fields of Radius 1 and 2. The higher the difference in values between Radius 1 and 2, the more distorted the triangle.

If you’ve made a perfect triangle with the Star Tool, you will also see that there are more path points provided as compared to using the Polygon Tool. The path points can be found in the middle of the lines connecting the two corners of the triangle. You can use the Direction Selection Tool to select any of the path points, drag it and change the shape of the triangle.

how to make a triangle in Illustrator
Change shape of triangle with Star Tool in Illustrator

Third Method With The Pen Tool

The Pen Tool works differently from the Polygon and Star Tools. This is a freehand method where you will have to manually set the corners of the triangle, unlike the Polygon and Star Tools that create the triangle with a click on a button.

Step 1: Select the Pen Tool

First, look for the Pen Tool in the Toolbar or use the keyboard shortcut by pressing P on the keyboard, it has an icon of a pen tip.

Pen Tool

Step 2: Make the Triangle

Using the Pen Tool is best when you are fine making a triangle with any angles. There’s a lot of freedom and flexibility you can have with the Pen Tool. Click on the artboard 3 times with the Pen Tool in a shape of a triangle, and the last click has to be back to the same first path that you’ve created.

Use Pen tool to make or draw a triangle in Illustrator

How To Make Right Angle Triangles in Illustrator

Rectangle Tool

If you want to make a right-angle triangle, you will have to ensure one of the angles inside the triangle is at a 90-degree angle. In this case, we should start with a shape that already gives us a 90-degree angle and work from there.

Step 1: Select the Rectangle Tool

First, look for the Rectangle Tool, which is represented by an icon of a rectangle shape. Or press M on the keyboard. With the Rectangle Tool, you can draw a square or a rectangle. Both can give you a right-angle triangle.

Rectangle Tool

Step 2: Draw a Square or Rectangular Shape

To draw a square, press shift on your keyboard, and at the same time with your mouse, click and drag away from where you first clicked. As you drag further, you will see a square forming. The further you drag, the bigger the square. Release your mouse and shift key once you’ve reached your desired square size.

As for a rectangle, there are two ways you can draw it. The first method is, you can create it by clicking and dragging your mouse to your desired size without holding down the shift key.

The second method is one where you can create a rectangle of the exact size that you want. With the Rectangle Tool, click once anywhere and a Rectangle dialog box opens up. You will see two fields to type in width and height. The width represents the horizontal value and the height represents the vertical value of the shape. Type in any values you desire to give you the exact size of the triangle. In this example, both width and height are the same to create a square. Click the OK button.

Rectangle dialog box

Step 3: Make the Right Angle Triangle

First, use either the Selection Tool or Direct Selection Tool to select the square. Make sure you see a bounding box with small squares on the four corners of the square. Then select the Pen Tool from the Toolbar. Hover your Pen Tool cursor over one of the small square anchor points on the corners. You will see the Pen Tool with an asterisk change to a Pen Tool with a minus sign. Then, click on the small square. This action deletes the anchor point of the square and creates a new path (the diagonal line) to make a right-angle triangle.

Use a pen tool to delete an anchor point of a square to make a right angle triangle in Illustrator

The Best Way To Make A Triangle In Illustrator

There are many ways you can use to make a triangle in Illustrator, and these are some easy steps to help boost your graphic work productivity. Among these simple methods, the best way to make a triangle could be to use the Polygon Tool. Since it creates a perfect triangle right from the start, you can then make use of other tools in Illustrator to adjust it to your liking.

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