I am trying to learn and use the horizontal/vertical only method of vectorizing type using the pen tool in Illustrator. I am following this tutorial here.

When going from anchor point to anchor point, the guy in the video is able to use alt + shift + click on the anchor point to drag out equal handles on either sides, allowing him to adjust the vector easily. This is not the case me me.

Everytime I do these commands, I only get one handle, making it difficult to adjust my vector.

My single-handled points

How do I fix this? Thanks! This is my first time using the site.

3 Answers 3


I had an anchor point with just one handle and needed to add another. Found this on Google. Here's what worked for me:

  • Switch to the Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C)
  • Click the existing point you need to add a handle to, and without releasing, drag it. This will behave as if you were adding a new point and add the missing handles
  • Adjust the curve to your liking using the Direct Selection Tool (A). If you need the newly created handles to act independently, drag them while holding the Option key (Alt on Windows)

Just holding the Option/Alt key with the Pen Tool and clicking an anchor should temporarily switch to the Convert Anchor Point Tool and drag out two equal smooth points from an anchor. Are you using the Pen Tool?

If you want to then constrain the angle of the handles as you drag, press Shift after you've started dragging the handles.

I think you're issue may be that you are holding both Option/Alt + Shift when clicking initially. This actually starts a new path rather than changing an existing anchor. All you need is Option/Alt.

Alternatively you can switch to the Convert Anchor Point tool (under the Pen Tool in the Toolbar).


To expand just a bit on @Scott's answer, the reason you are getting single handled anchor points is because you have actually converted that anchor point so that it has a curved segment in one direction, and a straight segment in the other. The way you achieve this on purpose is to click on the anchor point once before drawing the next segment, and your next segment will be a straight line.

As Scott mentions above, what is probably occurring is that you are holding Alt and Shift when you first click on that anchor, and Illustrator is interpreting that as you intending to create a corner, with one of the segments connected to the anchor point a straight line, and the other segment a curve.

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