Home > Adobe, Illustrator > Illustrator CC 2014: Live Rectangles and Rounded Rectangles

Illustrator CC 2014: Live Rectangles and Rounded Rectangles

Rectangles are serious business. In the previous version of CC, Adobe introduced the Corner widget, which allowed us to change the type of corner a rectangle had and the radius, and so on. In this version of CC, that idea is taken further with the idea of Live Shapes. And by live shapes I mean, Live Rectangles.  Honestly, I can’t tell the difference too much between a live shape and a regular shape, but I honestly suspect it has to do with how well it plays at being a CSS object. It works exactly like the live corners in the previous version, but with a bit more control. The Corner widget still exists, but now the same set of controls are extra special when applied to a rectangle. Really, think of this as an extension of Live Corners feature.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 6.15.34 PMFirst of all, a Live Rectangle is treated differently than a regular rectangle by Illustrator. This is indicated a few different ways

  • In the layers panel, a live rectangle is noted as <Rectangle>
  • The bounding box is different (See picture. Live object is on the left)
  • “Rectangle Properties” section will show up in the Transform Panel for a Live Rectangle
  • You can change a rectangle into a live rectangle to a regular rectangle by going to Object > Shape > Convert to Rectangle. For instance, if you are opening up an older illustrator file
  • You can change a live rectangle to a regular rectangle by going to Object > Shape > Expand Rectangle. 
  • You can still access the individual anchor points like always, but if you change something manually. It’s no longer live. You’ve killed it.

Transform Panel

All rectangles created are automatically Live Rectangles. And as such, the Transform Panel will display a special Rectangle Properties for the rectangle. Some of this may look redundant to the basic properties, and may sometimes be the same value, but they are not the same thing.

  • W Value and H Value indicates the size of the bounding box. So if your object is rotated, or you have multiple items in the selection. this is what the W Value and H Value shows.
  • Rotate can be thought of as a command. Rotate this selection this many degrees. This field has no memory and will reset to zero.
  • Rectangle Width and Rectangle Height, Rectangle Angle, and anything in the Rectangle Properties section, is a property of the rectangle.
  • Rectangle Angle is the a stored value of the object. When you rotate your rectangle, the value is stored here.
  • Scale Rectangle Corners – The corner radius of live rectangles do not change by default. Check this box if you want it to.
  • Show on Rectangle Creation is an option from the fly out menu. It makes the Transform panel pop up to the top whenever you draw a rectangle. How neat is that.

There you have it. A new type of rectangle that’s almost exactly like the old one!


  1. Canvai
    2014/07/30 at 8:21 pm

    With Live Shapes for rectangles, and rectangle properties being its own thing. It seems Adobe has solved the problem with stretched and skewed corner radius as well. The corners now don’t stretch and skew into a weird shape. Also, the “Scale Rectangle Corners” option is really useful.

    If you DO want the flattened corners though.. that becomes much harder to do…

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