With a normal shape, I can select one corner using the direct selection tool and drag to distort:

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I want to apply the same type of single-point dragging distortion to the bounding box of a group of shapes, but can't figure out any way to do it.

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How could I select the right-bottom corner of this group, and drag to distort the whole group?

1 Answer 1



With CC2017, the Free Transform Tool has a cursor specifically for Free Distort. You can just select that cursor and perform the same distortion without the need for any modifier keys.

enter image description here

The modifier will still work in CC2017, but should you have trouble, switching cursors is the easiest thing to do.

Other Methods

(or for legacy versions of Illustrator Prior to CC2014)

You must use the Free Transform tool.

  1. Select all 4 objects
  2. Select the Free Transform Tool
  3. Click and hold a corner
  4. then hold the Command/Ctrl key
  5. then drag to perform the distortion

You must do things in this specific order - click, hold key, drag - Any other order will not work. This will not work with the standard bounding box. You must use the Free Transform tool.


Another option, although without a live preview, is....

  1. Group the 4 objects
  2. Then choose Effect > Distort & Transform > Free Distort


  • Scott! You the man. This is really tricky because of the order and because the cursor gives no indicator. Works perfect- thanks---
    – Yarin
    Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 14:59
  • Yes it is a bit tricky, but once you get used to it, it becomes second nature. Other keys do different things, try Command/Ctrl+Option/Alt - with and without shift... etc. You'll get various distortions.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 15:08
  • Please reread the answer @Unrelated It works in all version of Illustrator currently available (CC2017 as of this writing). But it is rather finicky and tricky to implement until you get the hang of it. With the Free Transform tool, CC2017 has a "free distort" cursor which you can merely select and use.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 19:12

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