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Adding, Deleting, and Converting Anchor Points

With the multifaceted Pen tool, you can explicitly select the Add Anchor Point, Delete Anchor Point, or Convert Anchor Point tools hidden under the Pen tool (Figure 3.32), or use the Pen tool's automatic context switching. The Pen tool responds to its context and switches to the most appropriate state. This turns out to be a highly intuitive way to work and is much faster than changing tools from the Tools palette.

To add an anchor point:

  1. Select a path.

  2. Move the Pen over a path, but not on an anchor point. The pointer changes to the Add Anchor Point tool (Figure 3.33). Click to add a corner anchor point. Click-drag to add a smooth anchor point.

To delete an anchor point:

  1. Select a path.

  2. Move the Pen directly over an anchor point, but not an end point of an open path. The pointer changes to the Delete Anchor Point tool (Figure 3.34). Click to delete the anchor point.

To convert an anchor point:

  1. Select a path.

  2. Move the Pen directly over an anchor point—not an end point—as if you were deleting the point. Hold down (Option) [Alt], and the pointer changes to the Convert Anchor Point tool. Click a smooth anchor point to convert it to a corner anchor point. Click-drag a corner anchor point to convert it to a smooth anchor point (Figure 3.35).

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You can use the Delete or Backspace key to delete an anchor point that you've selected with the Direct Selection tool. Similarly, you can delete a path segment. Just be careful to use the Direct Selection tool to select the specific anchor point or segment that you want to delete.

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To override the Pen tool's automatic context switching, hold down the Shift key when the pointer is over a path or a selected anchor point. This is useful when you want to start another path over an existing path. To prevent the Shift key from constraining the new path, release the Shift key before you release the mouse button.

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