How to Use the Smooth Tool in Adobe Illustrator

Make sure you have the path selected that you want to smooth out. Select the Smooth Tool from the Toolbar. Drag the smooth tool along the part that you want to smooth. You may have to do this several times to smooth the line as much as you want.

My name is April, and I’ve been working in the graphic design field for 13+ years now. One of the great aspects of Illustrator is to be able to draw vector lines. Many great tools aid in this aspect. One of those tools is the Smooth Tool. 

The majority of graphic designers and illustrators will understand what it is like to try and draw a smooth line. Some days it may be easy, some days not so much. Adobe has provided this tool to help smooth out vector lines, paths, or edges. 

Let’s look more into the what and how of the Smooth Tool.

Key Takeaways

  • The Smooth tool can be used on open or closed paths.
  • There is no keyboard shortcut for the Smooth Tool, so you can only find it on the Toolbar

What is the Smooth Tool in Adobe Illustrator

The Smooth Tool is a pencil-like tool in Illustrator that is used to smooth or round a path or edges. The tool will change the anchor points of your path, adding or taking away. You can use it on an open path or a closed path and can use it on the same path as many times as you like.

How to Use the Touch Type Tool in Adobe Illustrator

Note: The screenshots from this tutorial are taken from Adobe Illustrator CC Windows version. 

Step 1: First we want to have our path selected that contains the area that we want to smooth. You can use the Selection Tool or the Direct Selection Tool to have it selected. I am going to be smoothing out this rough heart shape.

Step 2: Select the Smooth Tool from the toolbar. Unfortunately, there is no keyboard shortcut so we must go over and select it from the toolbar.

Step 3: Click and drag to draw near where you want it smoothed out. For example, the blue line on the left-hand side is where I started.

As you can see with the anchor points, it added one point and changed the line a bit. Keep drawing smoother lines.

It may take a few, or it may take many, but just keep drawing the smoothing lines with the Smooth Tool until the path is smoothed out how you would like it to be. 

My example here is very rough. Most often you would be better off using the Pen Tool to shape it better and then smooth it with the Smooth Tool, but I wanted to show an extreme example.

Now keep working on the second rough spot on the left side of the heart until it is smooth like this one. It may take many passes to get here.

Now we are going to work on the right-hand side. You don’t have to work on small parts, you can work on the full side here like I am. You can see the smoothing line I drew.

It only changed a little bit with the first pass, but keep going!

Once it’s pretty much done, you can use a Pen Tool or Direct Selection Tool to help clean up the shape in a more exact way. 

Let’s look at another simpler example.

Here we have a cat silhouette and I just want to round out the features a bit. Use the Smooth Tool to draw along each of the edges where we want to smooth. The cat on the right you can see has his features smoothed out! With tools like this, it is more about trial and error and knowing what the tool can do for you.

Note: You can also double-click the Smooth Tool in the toolbar to change the fidelity (accuracy or smoothness) of the tool.

Final Thoughts

The Smooth Tool is great for smoothing lines, corners, edges, and paths. This tool is a quick fix to help perfect your linework.

Have you tried the Smooth Tool in Illustrator? What did you create with it and was it for fun or work? Let me know in the comments below.

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