I made a triangle with the pen tool, and cannot edit the anchor handles (the points themselves can be seen and moved with the direct selection tool). Each angle has a white dot inside the shape for pulling in and rounding off the shape... isn't this a "smart shape?" I'm guessing this is why the anchor points are not editable.

Under Object, Expand Appearance is greyed out, and Expand does nothing. Make Compound Path is visible for some reason, but also does nothing. Show/Hide Edges and Show/Hide Bound Box does nothing.

I can't find anything about this online.

  • Use the Anchor Point tool watch this screen capture.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 17, 2023 at 15:21
  • Thank you so much Billy. This instantly made it make sense. I've been playing around in Illustrator for over a decade, but somehow missed something so basic! Sep 17, 2023 at 18:28
  • Yeah. Don't feel bad about it. I've been using Illustrator and other vector editors for more than three decades and yet there is always new stuff to learn. These kind of applications often have quite complex user interfaces (not very intuitive), and so some functionality is often hidden from the user. With Illustrator in particular the need to switch to different tools for doing simple edits can be quite annoying IMHO.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 18, 2023 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


You have created Corner Points. They do not have Anchor Point Handles.

There are 3 types of Anchor Points- Corner Points, Smooth Points, and Cusp Points. Smooth Points and Cusp Points do have Anchor Point Handles. Smooth Points have handles that stay opposed to each other and move together. Cusp Points have handles which can be move independently of each other.

Corner Points are created with the Pen Tool by simply clicking. Smooth Points are created by click/dragging with the Pen Tool. Cusp Points are created by holding the Alt/Option key while click/dragging with the Pen Tool.

You can also change the type of anchor point after they are created by either using the Anchor Point Tool (Shift+C) or by selecting one or more anchor Points and clicking the Convert icons in the Control Bar at the top of the Illustrator Window.

The white dots you speak of for rounding corners uniformly are actually called Corner Widgets and are only available for Corner Points and Cusp Points.

  • Thank you very much for such a detailed run down Kyle. This added even more context to Billy's comment, so I really appreciate it. I know my question was a woefully ignorant one, but hopefully this will help others so they don't have to make a fool of themselves too! Sep 17, 2023 at 18:29

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