In below image I'd like to move the position of the green anchor point along the green dotted line (I freehanded in there, image it's a straight extension of the anchor point handle's line). I'd like to do so while keeping the cyan anchor point in place as well as the direction of the green line locked. Note that this is not a snapping angle (90, 45, etc) nor do I have any lines I could snap to.

Is this possible somehow?

The only way I can think of is to draw a line the direction of the green line and snap to it, but this seems very backward.

enter image description here


You can use the scale tool with the tangent. Once the tangent is selected with the direct selection tool (a) click on the vertex tangent to move scale pivot to vertex. By holding Shift you can now constrain the scaling to be equal in both direction, which achieves what you want. You can also scale both tangents in unison this way.

Animation of scaling of tangent

Screencast 1: Moving tangent along existing direction by scaling uniformly.

Making a support line is also not as stupid as it sounds. But there is also a third alternative and that is to rotate the document grid temporarily to the tangent angle.

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    Ah, okay, so for anybody trying this, it's crucial to select the tangent, not the vertex. Also, I find by default the scale point is in the center of the tangent's bounding box, so clicking the vertex to reposition the scaling point is necessary. Thank you very much! :) – kontur Jul 26 '15 at 22:07
  • @kontur fixed text to better match what i mean, where the pivot is depends on whether you succeded in selecting just the tangent or the vertex only and in what order you did so. (But i tested this with a few random persons and they didnt get that part even after i showed so i left it out) – joojaa Jul 26 '15 at 22:38
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    Sorry, this doesn't make sense. Does 'vertex' = anchor point, and 'tangent' = direction point? If so, how can you select only 1 direction point? AFAIK, you can only select anchor points or path segments. – MG_ Jul 27 '15 at 11:54
  • @MG_ You can select invividual tangents, thats the point of the answer. Just click on the tangent point and its now selected (There is no visual feedback other than that other tangents are now possibly hidden, it is still selected, hidden feature of how illustrator works), you can also select 2 points. This is not a widely known or broadcasted feature. – joojaa Jul 27 '15 at 12:30
  • @MG_ OK, theres definitely something weird here. As it sometimes works and sometimes not even on same file. – joojaa Jul 27 '15 at 13:37

Here's a solution that worked for me - although approximative, I think it worked better than other answers on this page.

1 - Select the Anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool

Select the Anchor Point related to the Bézier Handle you want to edit with the Direct Selection Tool A.

enter image description here

2 - Select the Bézier Handle with the Anchor Point Tool

Now grab the Bézier Handle you want to sharpen with the Anchor Point Tool SHIFT + C

enter image description here

3 - Scale the Bézier Handle with the Scale Transform Panel

Now that the Bézier Handle has been selected, get the Scale Window from the Transform Menu and tweak the value until satisfied.

It seems like the value doesn't express a direct relation of the distance of the Bézier Handle to its Anchor Point ("0" doesn't mean "0 Pixels to Anchor Point") - I am not sure what the value is based on.

enter image description here

  • Yeah its just that before Illustrator CC you didnt need to break the handle. your scale pivot has actually moved. Use the scale tool (Four rows down and next column in tool window) then you can move the pivot – joojaa Aug 31 '18 at 4:52

Press Alt + Shift when using Direct Selection Tool (A) and dragging the anchor point. The cyan should stay locked so the only one you will move is green one. Hope this is what you need.

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    This does not do what the asker is after. it breaks the tangent and snaps to 45 degree increments. – joojaa Jul 26 '15 at 12:33
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    @joojaa exactly. I'd need this, but keeping the original angle. I somehow can't believe this wouldn't be possible in illustrator :? – kontur Jul 26 '15 at 12:45
  • @kontur no its possible. You just need to think about what tools you have at your disposal. Took me just a while to fire up the computer. NOTE: the tangents do not need to be broken to have different lengths. – joojaa Jul 26 '15 at 12:58

After some time playing around with this I noticed there is one much more simpler way.

With a bezier curve point selected with the Direct selection tool (a), using the Pen (p) tool and pressing alt one can move the curve handles individually. With alt pressed start moving one handle, and then holding shift will restrain the angle of movement along the original handle direction.

This seems a lot more intuitive than the scaling method to me, because with scaling I think of objects, not points and handles. It's also more responsive to be moving the actual handle, whereas the scaling you press anywhere around the scaling center in "empty artboard".

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    This does not seem to work on 2015 CC 1 for arbitrary angles on my computer (it snaps to 45 degree increments). Anyway this is same as Goran's answer. – joojaa Jul 29 '15 at 9:29
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    Doesn't work for me either. Why does it work for some? (@kontur and @Goran) – MG_ Jul 31 '15 at 11:17

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