I know how to do this manually, but I need an automatic way (either a script or just a command in Illustrator).

Here's a line like the one I mean. Notice how it's all made of straight lines (The blue dots are the anchor points):

enter image description here

How can I turn this into a true curve easily?

Note that I have all of Adobe Creative Cloud at my disposal, so if there is a tool in Fireworks, Photoshop, or anything else that can help, it is still relevant.


You can try Object > Path > Simplify and adjust the Curve Precision and Angle Threshold settings to perhaps get a curve.

There's no straightforward method, which I'm aware of, other than this.

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  • Worked great! It actually did just what I wanted. – sinθ Jun 27 '13 at 19:56

There's also the Smooth tool enter image description here if you prefer a more hands-on approach. Rub it over a selected path, and it smooths it where you rub. If it doesn't smooth enough, keep rubbing.

From this tutorial:

enter image description here

enter image description here

Double-click the tool icon to set how closely the smoothed line sticks to the original (fidelity) and how strong the smoothing is each time (smoothness).

A nice additional feature of the smooth tool is, it only applies to paths and points that are selected. So, if there are parts of a path you want to stay exactly how they are, and parts you want smoothed, you can select just the points you want to be smoothed then use the smooth tool.

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  • Thanks. I'm pretty new to Illustrator. I've been using the Direct Selection Tool (A) & Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) to clean up huge, complex traces. It's been taking forever, so this is such a relief. – voices Oct 9 '18 at 16:27

Select the path that you want to convert and with the direct selection tool and the shift key pressed, exclude one point. Some new buttons appear under the menu, one of them is to convert selected anchor points from corner to smooth.

enter image description here

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After you have done Effect > Stylize > Round Corners. Then go Object > Expand appearance to create a curved line that is editable with handles.

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Effect > Stylize > Round Corners.

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  • 1
    This will not turn the lines into a single path, it will just round out the edges. – Hanna Mar 18 '14 at 1:24

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