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In Illustrator CS 5.1, I would like to manually type in the points for handles on an anchor point, as I need to be more exact than moving them with my mouse. How can I do this?

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3 Answers 3

It can be useful to set things very precisely like this. I don't know of any perfect way, but here are three imperfect methods that come close:

  • Open and watch the info window. When you have an anchor handle selected, it gives you all the information about how many points it is from the anchor horizontally and vertically, and what the exact angle is. You can't just type these in, but if the goal is to make sure lots of points rigidly follow a certain pattern more accurately than eyeballing it, this will at least give you reliable objective guidance.
  • Use a script. The closest to this that I know of are Wundes' Set All The Things and Hiroyuki Sato's Extend Handles. There might be better scripts out there, or these may be enough.
  • If the goal is simply to make sure anchor points are exactly the same, or exact mirrors of each other, a better approach is probably to simply select the anchor point in question, copy that anchor point and only it in isolation, then flip, rotate, transform as appropriate and Join the points or use the Pathfinder window to join it in with the rest of your shape. Joining very precise paths perfectly smoothly can be a pain, here's a potentially helpful tip if it proves troublesome.
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Place some other dummy object there (i.e. some rectangle) using precise positioning, then use snapping while dragging the bezier points. After that, dispose of the dummy objects.

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Bezier handles aren't exposed in the UI for numeric positioning, but if you're looking for better precision for geometry and/or symmetry, try turning on the Grid and Snap to Grid under the View menu. If you adjust the grid to the resolution you need (under Preferences > Guides & Grid) you may have the solution. The Bezier handles will snap to the grid.

If that's not the issue, expand the question with a bit more detail about the exact problem you're trying to solve. There are several very knowledgeable Illustrator folks here who can likely point you to a good workaround.

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