Is there any way for to add an additional handle to an anchor that has one already, without interfering with the current position of the existing handle?

If you draw a circle in illustrator, you can use the anchor point tool to remove one or both handles of any given anchor.

Currently, if I want to add them back, I have to click-drag, (in a clockwise fashion), to pull the anchor(s) back out, but it distorts the pre-existing handle for the anchor.

What I would like to do is click-drag out an anchor for the segment that doesn't have one already assigned, and in a way that it is an asymmetrical curve.

Closely Related: Create one handle from anchor point in Illustrator

  • 1
    With vanilla AI there's no mechanism to pull only one side of a smooth (symmetrical) point. There are third party plug ins that will aid such a thing (VectorScribe, XtremePath, et al.) but they aren't free. You can pull only one side of a corner (asymmetrical) point though.
    – Scott
    Mar 17, 2021 at 23:03
  • Well. There is a trick that might work for you. Select the segment you want to manipulate cut and paste in front (ctrl+c, ctrl+f) drag your point, its now isolated from the original cos its not connected. Then join the shapes back (ctrl+j).
    – joojaa
    Mar 18, 2021 at 19:42

1 Answer 1


Yes, it's possible with Smart Guides enabled, and if you still have one handle left as a reference.

After you have deleted one handle with the Anchor Point tool, click on the Anchor and begin dragging until the Smart Guide shows "handle".


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If you've deleted both handles, you could use a guide to mark the handle position using one of the other anchor's handles as a reference. Then you can click and drag the handles to intersect with the guide.


enter image description here

  • Thank you! Would this only work for circle shapes or others with 90/45 degree handles? Mar 18, 2021 at 3:16
  • @elikakohen - the first method will work for handles at any angle, however you will need to move the handle around a bit to find where it is. The second one relies upon guides, so no.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 18, 2021 at 10:49

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