Since Illustrator is all about paths, there are all kinds of ways to edit paths in Illustrator. You can select an entire path and reshape, rescale, rotate, skew or distort it, and so on. Or, you can select a path segment—the section of the path between two anchors—select just some path segments, or select a set of anchors.
You can also group more than one path and edit the group as you would an individual object. Selecting objects within groups has always been a bit sticky in Illustrator, but CS3 has a new group isolation feature that makes this process easier.
Illustrator CS3 also allows you to align anchors. This means, for example, that you can vertically align a group of selected anchors so they are all on a horizontal plane.
In this chapter, I'll show you how to use all these selection and editing techniques. And, I'll provide a basic overview for how to use Illustrator's powerful pathfinder tools, which combine and divide combinations of paths in just about any conceivable way.
#30 Selecting Path Segments and Paths
Illustrator paths are made up of anchors with path segments connecting them. You can select, and edit, an entire path when you want to move or resize the path. You can select either an anchor or a path segment to reshape an object.
You can select path segments by clicking on (or within three pixels of) the segment with the Direct Selection tool. Use Shift+click with the Direct Selection tool to select additional path segments. You can also use the Lasso tool to select multiple path segments. After you select a path segment, you can reshape an object by moving that segment (Figure 30).
Figure 30 Moving a selected path to reshape a rectangle with the Direct Selection tool.
The Selection tool is used for selecting entire paths and groups of objects. The Direct Selection tool can select individual anchor points, path segments, or entire objects. To select an object or group with the Selection tool, just click on the path. If the object has a fill, you can click on that as well.
You can add objects to or remove objects from a selection set by holding down the Shift key as you click with the Selection tool. This works with path segments or anchors selected with the Direct Selection tool as well.