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Smoothing Lines with Illustrator

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Program: Adobe Illustrator CS6
Operating System: Windows 7

Illustrator is a beautiful tool for creating digital designs. For me, this includes logos. When I’m creating logos, sometimes I use a pencil tool to outline or draw my shape, rather than drawing a circle and then trying to massage it into my desired shape.

When using the pencil tool, it’s usually very hard to draw a smooth straight line. Sometimes this isn’t necessary, but sometimes it’s incredibly necessary when you’re trying to make a flawless design.

How you do this is actually very simple, and there are two ways.

Smoothing During Drawing

The pencil has a built in auto-smoother that is adjustable for how smooth you actually want it. To access this menu, just double click on the pencil icon in the toolbar.

illustrator pencil

This pops up a window to adjust these settings. To the right and you have a very smooth line, to the left much less. Play with it!

illustrator pencil tool

Smoothing After Drawing

The second way to smooth a line is to use the smooth tool. If you hold the left mouse button down over the pencil tool, a bubble will open showing you the other two tool options (total of three).

illustrator pencil options

If you hover over the middle tool, with what appears to be rings around the shaft of the pencil, it tells you it’s the smooth tool.

As we did with the pencil tool, double clicking on the smooth pencil will pop open a window for options.

illustrator smooth tool options

As we did with the pencil tool, shifting the Fidelity and Smoothness to the right makes the line smoother, and to the left makes is less smooth.

To smooth out an actual line with the smooth tool,

  1. select the line drawn to smooth out (it must be a selected item).
  2. click and drag across the selected line to apply smoothing operation.

Hope this helps!


  • Bittbox was a great help in finding this solution.

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