I am wondering how to initiate a free transform on a selected sub-group of points in path or an object. See the recording – after selecting the points, free transform tools places a big bounding box around the whole object, but I only want a small bounding box around my few points.

Animation of Illustrator's free transform tool

  • Even though the bounding box encompasses the entire object..... have you tried moving the handles? Only the selected anchors are altered.
    – Scott
    Nov 1, 2015 at 19:50
  • I tried, it sort of works but scales everything "into the centre" of the overall object, even if I change the centrepoint (which is already redundant work that I can't even do preciesly) see the recording Nov 9, 2015 at 9:39
  • This shouldn't happen, unless you switch to Move tool for example... And it does look like you have direct selection tool selected, after you zoom out. You shouldn't see the bounding box with Direct selection tool selected. Makes me think think this could be one of those things that could be fixed by trashing the preferences. Unless there's something I'm missing.
    – Joonas
    Mar 8, 2016 at 7:49

2 Answers 2


It appears that this is a compound path. Use your selection tool (V) to double click on the part of the compound path you want to transform and it will select only that shape. Then you can transform it without changing the overall compound path.


You've got the right idea, you just need to use the transform tools (scale (s), rotate (r), or reflect (o)) instead of the bounding box after you've selected your points. You can also move the blue target to change where the transformation is centered, and option clicking will give you further options.

  • If you look at the original gif, it's on the left a few seconds in. Clicking anywhere with any of the transform tools selected will change this point, and any transformations will take place about that point. Mar 8, 2016 at 15:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.