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Perfect Shapes

Have you ever found yourself trying to make a perfect square or circle using the drawing tools for a rectangle or oval? Or maybe you’re trying to draw a perfectly horizontal or vertical line?

Did you find yourself eyeballing the measurements and angles hoping you were getting close?

Did you know that it’s possible for you to use the drawing tools to make these perfect shapes without all the guesswork?

Well, if you didn’t, now you do. The question becomes, how?

The answer is a lot easier than you might think—it’s all in the Shift and Ctrl keys.

To make a perfect square, circle or line you’ll need to click on the proper tool in the Drawing Toolbar.


Your cursor will then turn into a plus sign, indicating that you’re ready to draw.

BUT, before you do hold down the Shift key.

Now begin to draw.

Notice anything?

You should. Normally you would be drawing an oval, rectangle or a line at any angle, but with that Shift key you’re now drawing only perfect squares, circles or lines at very specific angles.

Oops… did you forget to hold down the Shift key before you started to draw?

No problem!

Simply press the Shift key anytime and the drawing will change into the perfect square, circle or line immediately.

Release the Shift key and you’re back to the ovals, rectangles and lines at any angle imaginable.

Now, let’s talk about how the figures are drawn by the program.

As you were drawing you probably noticed that each picture was started from its upper left corner. In other words, wherever you clicked became the upper left corner of the shape.

It is possible to draw the figures from the center out (as opposed to the upper left corner).

This is accomplished with our other favorite key, the Ctrl key.

Simply activate the drawing button for the shape you need then hold down the Ctrl key and draw.

You should find that you’re shape is begun in the center. In some cases, this can make it easier to position your drawing correctly from the beginning, cutting down on the time you spend moving things around later.

You can use these two keys in combination, drawing perfect squares and circles from the center out.

I’ve experimented using these keys with clip art and have found that they work well. They can help when you resize a piece of clip art so your picture doesn’t become too fat or too tall.

Now the only question is: what will you do with all the time you’ll save not messing around with the shape of your drawings?

If only we had some “automatically perfect” keys for a few of the other things in life.

~ April