I'm trying to make a hexagonal grid, I want each hexagon to be it's own shape, with no extra paths.

I've tried a bunch of different methods to create a hexagon grid, something like this (where each hexagon is it's own shape/path):

Image of desired look - hexagons
[The artifacts you see now are merely a rendering issue in Illustrator, once I export it, it looks better.]

I've tried creating the shape and manually cloning and placing it while using smart guides, which is extremely hard to align properly.

I can get one side aligned easily, just not the other:

GIF of my attempt at Smart Guides

Using Transform Effect is also quite difficult, since I don't know how I can get the exact values of (the different) distances that they need to be moved. (It's probably some mathematical equation @joojaa)

  • 1
    In your example, you just need to pick the hexagons up by one of the top vertices and the snapping will work fine.
    – Westside
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 6:41
  • The rick to getting illustrator to do what you want is to use the white selection tool, and drag from a vertex that you intend to snap ;)
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 10:10
  • This is not exactly a duplicate (graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/104092/…), but there's enough overlap to maybe get something out of it.
    – Joonas
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 17:20

4 Answers 4


Using Transform Effects isn't that hard; you just need three measurements....

enter image description here

The measurements are:

  • X1: Width
  • X2: 1/2 Width
  • Y2: 3/4 Height

You then need two* Transform Effects...

  • The first set to move horizontally by X1 (with as many copies as needed)

  • The second set to move horizontally by X2 and vertically by Y2 (again with a number of copies)...

  • Object → Expand Appearance...
  • Done

* Using three (total) Transform effects gives you a diagonal field since you're transforming two axis at once; you can create a square field by using three Transform effects (you should be able to figure out the needed transformations from the following):

You create the first and then the second, but you only create 1 copy in the second step.

Then for transform effect 3, you move vertically by 2 x (Y2) and then a number of copies.

enter image description here

  • 3
    Protip: If you do 3 nested transorms you then can get it to make a square field ;)
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 10:12
  • I was hoping that you'd give an easy method to use Transform Effects :D
    – Welz
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 11:46
  • When I create a hexagon by clicking and entering in the value, (say 100) which value is that talking about? Is there an easy way to find out what the other 2 are without actually measuring them manually?
    – Welz
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 12:26
  • @WELZ the input is radius I think? as for measurements, yes, see edit :)
    – Cai
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 12:39
  • You don't need three transforms for a square field. Just check "Reflect X" option in the second transform.
    – altskop
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 23:47

Illustrator's hexagons snap to each other, if you

  • make one and use only its copies, maybe differently colored
  • have snap to points ON, no other snaps! Smart guides can mislead you, switch them OFF
  • use direct selection tool to drag new hexagon to the pattern as follows:

    1. unselect all, for ex. click an empty place
    2. select the new hexagon with the normal selection tool, by pasting it or by dragging totally over it with the direct selection tool. Be sure you do not select anything else and the whole hexagon is selected.
    3. drag one corner point to its place, the rest follows, see the snapping from cursor color, be sure that you have not clicked anything else between 2 and 3.

The method works also with several simultaneously selected hexagons and you can continue interrupted dragging if the selection is the same. This way you easily duplicate what you already have. The following was made by duplicating:

enter image description here

NOTE: There's no need to any numerical placing nor positioning input and the original can be in any angular position.

In highest possible zoom the seam is perfect everywhere:

enter image description here

I guess you want to use one of the following positions

  • 2 sides horizontal, you get it by dragging with the polygon tool and holding Shift at the same time
  • 2 sides vertical, rotate the previous version 90 degrees, prevent snappings in the dialog.
  • You can do that with the Polygon Tool creating a hexagon and duplicate following the last point of this answer. To duplicate manually, after selecting the shapes, from the Transform panel > Align to Pixel Grid should be unchecked

Align to pixel grid

  • To create your own hexagon from the beginning, start with a vertical segment, better work in Outline View
  • Zoom the bottom of that segment, select it and clicking exactly at the bottom anchor point with the Rotate Tool + Alt = 120º > Copy
  • Menu Object > Transform > Transform again until get an upside-down "Y"


  • Menu View > Smart Guides to see where to place the shapes

  • Select the three segments and move them pressing Alt to duplicate + Shift to do it horizontally, until the left edge of the new figure touches the right edge of the previous one.


  • Select all the segments and pressing Alt duplicate vertically until getting the first hexagon:

First hexagon

  • Select all the and using the Shape Builder Tool Shape Builder Tool click inside the hexagon to build the first shape:


  • Keep this hexagon and delete the other segments.
  • Use this hexagon to create your pattern.


  • If you want to clone perfectly, Menu Object > Transform > Move use this parameters and copy:
    • Horizontal = the hexagon width divided 2
    • Vertical = the "Y" (or inverted Y) height

move window


All answers are great. Few more options are available.

When I’m dealing with these kinds of problems, I like to rely on simple math and copy shapes with numerical values, rather than moving them with mouse.

If you know the height and width, do some calculations how low and on the side you need to move polygons and copy with pressing enter etc. - in a pop up window set numbers to move the shape, press copy and repeat action with Ctrl/Command+D as much as you like.

Illustrator can be used with numbers in many situations

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