In Photoshop the skew tool allows you to move each corner of the object being skewed independently. Is there an equivalent in Illustrator? Envelope distort seems overkill and harder to achieve the same result.

5 Answers 5


You can use the Free Transform tool (keyboard shortcut is E).

There is a trick though:
Click and hold on the the corner you wish to move. THEN press and hold the Command (or Control for Windows) key. Now you can drag the corner around.

Make sure you click FIRST. Holding Command and then trying to click and drag won't work.

Bonus Tip:
You can do the same thing with Command + Option + Shift to do a perspective distort.

  • 1
    That's one of those Creative Suite UI points that will be synchronized across applications one of these days. Holding one's breath is not recommended. Commented Oct 29, 2011 at 19:29
  • 1
    It works only on vector graphics, but for the images "Shear tool" is useful which can be found under "Scale tool".
    – Sushan
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 12:19
  • This actually works sometimes, sometimes it just doesn't :\ Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 17:04
  1. Select your object
  2. Click Effect - Distort & Transform - Free Distort.

Free distort effect

  1. Click and hold point to drag object into desired shape.

Free Distort

  1. Click OK to implement your modification

skewed Object

  1. Click Object - Expand Appearance

Expanded Appearance shape

  1. That's it, your done.Your Object is ready for standard editing.

enter image description here


If you want to use a skew effect with text, you can get a pretty good result from using Illustrator's 3-D - Extrude & Bevel effect.

Once your text has been 'Expanded', select it and click on 'Extrude & Bevel' in the 'Effects' menu. Set all of the option bars to 0, except for 'Rotation' and 'Perspective'.

Now simply experiment with these two until you get the result you're looking for.

I hope it helps.


To get these individual point selections in Photoshop, you use skew. But in Illustrator this is unnecessary. The easiest way to do this type of manipulation is with the Direct Selection Tool (A) (the little white arrow). With this tool you can select individual points and move them around as you see fit.

In addition to that, if you hold SHIFT and click on each point, you can select multiple points to move around.

enter image description here

  • you're right - direct select is definitely best for simple shapes, but doesn't work so well if you're looking to distort text etc.
    – Tom R
    Commented Oct 29, 2011 at 21:02
  • I hadn't considered that, sorry!
    – Hanna
    Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 4:38

You can use the Shear tool to do this. It's stored with the Scale Tool (s). Click and drag a corner, same as Photoshop.

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