How can I resize such items without changing the curvature at edges? You know, I don't want the half-circles at the extremes to become half-elipses.



8 Answers 8


Holding Shift while resizing will constrain proportions and keep the ends as semicircles. If your resized shape is too wide, use Direct Select (A) to select anchors on one side and then move them to where they need to be.

If you need the edges aligned with other objects, the easiest way is to duplicate your resized object and combine the 2 shapes using overlapping areas.

Step 1: The Initial Resize (to get the correct height without distorting your ends)

Shift + Resize

Step 2 (Option A): Adjust Width Using Direct Selection (move some anchors)

Direct Selection

Step 2 (Option B): Adjust Width Using Compount Shapes (good for aligning with other objects)

Compound Images

  • (1) When you suggest to use "Direct Select (A)" you mean to select the object and press "A" ? (2) I've tried and I've been able to modify the shape of the object by dragging a point (it is actually hard to use). Correct ? (3) My object is actually too long but I'm interested in this technique: can you elaborate it a little bit more ? You duplicate the shape then you make the 2 clones to overlap with the opposite extremes where they should be.. and then somehow combine them ?
    – aneuryzm
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 19:38
  • @Patrick (1) In Illustrator, if you hit the letter A on your keyboard it will choose the Direct Selection tool. (2) Hold the Shift key while dragging points to keep them on a plane. Smart Guides are also very helpful. (3) Updated the post.
    – Farray
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 23:08
  • That third answer is very bad practice. Unnecessary objects and mathematical work for no reason.
    – insidesin
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 11:03

Hold down the shift key while dragging a corner handle.

Or, the more accurate and flexible method is directly selecting all the vector point anchors for one side (2 corners) and dragging that over, then selecting the other half to drag another side in another direction to achieve the desired dimensions.

diagram to show how to resize by directly selecting anchor points

You can only do that with the "Direct Selection Tool" which is the second, white, "pointer" button in the Illustrator tools palette. It selects points of a shape instead of the whole shape.

  • @Tim I can only resize it by doing this. I need to make the long edge shorter.
    – aneuryzm
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 19:31
  • Should have mentioned the method of directly selecting all the vector point anchors for one side (2 corners) and dragging that over, then selecting the other half to drag another side in another direction to achieve the desired dimensions. Not sure this makes sense without a diagram.
    – sirtimbly
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 19:31
  • @Tim I see what you suggest, I can actually select multiple anchors, but there is always a hidden one I can't select and, you know, a wierd distorsion occurs because an anchor remains fixed. By the way, I don't feel very comfortable with this technique, isn't there a better way to just make an edge shorter ? I'm not an expert of vector graphic, but maybe cutting it in two pieces and pasting them ?
    – aneuryzm
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 19:46
  • I updated my answer with a link to a diagram to explain it. Direct select is the mouse pointer tool that is white - directly below the black cursor in the tool palette.
    – sirtimbly
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 19:47
  • @Tim Yeah it was clear. My issue is the selection of the anchor. I can see from the diagram, you are dragging a rectangle around the anchors. I'm doing this with the Selection Tool, but the anchors are still unselected. (I've tried to both select the object, double click the object without luck).
    – aneuryzm
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 21:01

I don't know which version of Illustrator you're using, and I also don't recall which version of Illustrator this first arrived in (CS3, maybe?), but the exact answer to your question is: turn on 9-slice scaling for your object.

The instructions for turning this on in CS5 are here in the Illustrator help, but maybe it will help to explain what the heck 9-slice scaling is and why somebody invented it in the first place.

"Why" is easy: it was to solve the exact problem you are running into, where the designer needs to scale an object without affecting the corner radius. 9-Slice Scaling divides the object into three, horizontally and vertically, then protects he four corners while allowing the center and edges to scale up and down. I can't improve on the Fireworks help page that shows all this very clearly.

  • I think you are right but still I can't solve my problem. I've enabled 9-slice scaling and I can move the grid lines, but still when I resize my object I get the distorsions. More exactly I'm now in this situation: d.pr/slOM . What should I do next to resize the middle column ?
    – aneuryzm
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 21:25
  • Nevermind, I've solved with Tim solution. It is actually faster, but thanks.
    – aneuryzm
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 21:27
  • @Patrick: If selecting the anchor points as Tim suggests works for your particular issue, great! To resize the middle (stretch the object) you don't need to be in isolation mode. Just select and stretch from a side handle. Once 9-slice is enabled, it operates automatically. To move a grid line, hover over it, and you'll see the cursor change to the same "ready to drag" symbol you see for guides in Photoshop, then click and drag. Commented May 19, 2011 at 23:01
  • Does the 9-slice work for Illustrator shapes or only if the shape is modified once it gets to Flash? The 9-slice guides aren't available if you make a "Graphic" Symbol, only if you select "Movie Clip".
    – Farray
    Commented May 20, 2011 at 18:00
  • It works for Illustrator shapes. The designation of Movie Clip doesn't really have any internal meaning in IA. It's there as a convenience to enhance export-to-Flash, but you can use it inside IA. IA inherited the capability from Fireworks, which got it from Flash, as far as I can tell. Now if we had it in InDesign, too, that would be a happy thing! Commented May 20, 2011 at 20:25

How did you create this shape?

If you started drawing it as a rectangle, then Effects->Convert to Shape->Rounded Rectangle and defined a corner radius value there, then it shouldn't change the curvature as you resize the rectangle later.

  • It was in a GUI kit I've downloaded. If I do what you suggest I create a bigger white rectangle all around my object.
    – aneuryzm
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 19:38

The is the simplest algorithm to do that in CC:

  1. Select object you want to scale
  2. Double click on Scale Tool (S)
  3. Check "Scale rectangle corners" in options bar

Now you are able to scale corner radius proportianally

  • Hi Alkov, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your answer. If you have any questions, please see the help center or ping one of us in the Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site!
    – Vincent
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 13:58
  • Why doesn't this work when I just want to increase width (non uniform transformation)? Rounded corners brake and aren't even recognized as such anymore when I change to direct selection tool.
    – syr
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 11:52
  • Hello, Christian. There is another method for non-uniform transformation. You can use Jin`s Effect>Convert to shape> Rounded Rectangle. Than add width and define angle. Than expand your object.
    – Alkov
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 8:13

Select object.

Go to menu/object/shape

Select 'expand shape'

Object will scale with corners as simple paths.


Hit Ctrl K New window open check scale stroke and effects, now you can scale without effecting the shape properties enter image description here


I was having the same issue, with 'scale stroke and effects' turned as well as turned off. No matter what I tried, holding shift, resizing in different techniques... once I got down to a smaller size, my rounded corners basically became a half circle at the top and bottom of my rectangle. My workaround suggestion is this. Place a very thin stroke around your rectangle once you have the corners how you like them. Convert that stroke to outlines. And then in outline mode (cmd Y), go in with your white arrow tool and delete the outer line.. this seems to create a 'new' shape to the same proportions as your original rectangle, minus the set curvature for the corners... now those curved corners are set it stone and the only way to adjust them is the old fashioned way. I am sure that the the techniques mentioned above are the smart way to do it... but for me, they just were not working. And reading a few threads on this issue, it seems like others are having the same issue... or had the same issue three years ago. Good luck.

  • I've asked this question in 2011. Nowadays I've changed job, house, career and political views. But thanks for the answer, it will be useful to some reader :)
    – aneuryzm
    Commented Jun 27, 2020 at 11:04

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