How do I make a "arrow" with "flat edges" in illustrator?

Made this in Photoshop to describe what I want.


I tried to do this with the "line segment tool" by making two lines and then join paths. But that didn't work, of course.

I know it isn't the description of the year but hopefully it's enough.

  • I was going to say.. HUH? But you added the image. That helps.
    – Scott
    Oct 2, 2012 at 19:40
  • @Scott Understood that it would be hard to understand what I meant without an image. ;) Oct 2, 2012 at 19:42
  • This could also be done with the type tool, a specific font, by writing < and rotating it 90 degrees.
    – Joonas
    Oct 2, 2012 at 23:00

2 Answers 2


Click and hold the Rectangle tool until the sub tools pop up.

Select the Polygon tool

Click just once on the artboard and an options window will appear.

Enter the number of sides you want and the general size (Radius) and click OK.


Select the Selection Tool (The Black Arrow) and hold down the Shift and Option/Alt Key. Click-drag the triangle downward. When you let go, the original triangle with be duplicated in the new position.

Option/Alt while dragging tells Illustrator to duplicate the object. The shift key keeps the dragging constrained to 90° angles. In this case, straight downward.

You should then have 2 overlapping triangles.


Select both triangles and click the Minus Front button on the Pathfinder Panel (Window > Pathfinder)


After clicking the button you are left with the basic shape which can then be further edited.



@Scott's answer is awesome. Here's an alternative that's not necessarily better, just different. It does allow you more control over the angle of the arrow. I'm much lazier than Scott though, so no screenshots. Sorry.

  1. Create a square (use the SHIFT key to make sure your rectangle is a square)
  2. Rotate the square 45 degrees (SHIFT key again)
  3. Select the Pen Tool and hover over one of the corners. You should see a "-" sign next to the Pen icon indicating that you will be deleting that point. Click to delete the point
  4. Now you should have a triangle, but not an isoceles triangle like Scott's
  5. Choose your Direct Select (white arrow) tool and click on the bottom line segment (click on a line, not on a point) and then press Delete / Backspace. This will delete that line segment leaving only two sides to your triangle.
  6. Now, set the stroke to black and the fill to none. Use the stroke to control the size of your arrow
  7. To adjust the angle, use the Direct Select (white arrow) tool and click on the anchor at the tip of your arrow. Use the nudge (arrow) keys on your keyboard to move the point, causing the angle to become more or less acute
  8. When you're ready, Expand your path, or choose "Outline Stroke" - same diff. Set your fill to black and your stroke to none
  9. Sometimes, expanding a stroke leaves the original path. You'll want to delete this. Ungroup your shape, turn off Preview mode, select the original path with your arrow tool and delete it. Then you can turn Preview mode back on. Yikes!
  10. Notice that the "caps" or endpoints of your shape have a different angle than the example you gave. To fix this we will draw a box over top of your shape and use that box to "cut" the ends in a straight line. So draw a box that covers just the bottom ends of your shape.
  11. Select both the box and your shape and choose Pathfinder > Minus Front.

Giddyup. Now you know two ways to do it!

EDIT: Ah crap, even I couldn't follow my own instructions, so here's a video!

  • Thanks for a great alternative though I will go with Scott's answer. Oct 5, 2012 at 14:44

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