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Creating basic shapes

Drawing basic shapes

Basic shapes tool indicator
Basic shapes tool indicator

Create squares, circles and even arcs in Vecta easily. Shown below are every available basic shape tools of Vecta;

  • Rectangle
  • Ellipse
  • Line
    • Path
    • Arc
    • Curve
    • Freeform

All tools follow the same convention to create it's respective shapes.

  • Select a tool from the top bar of your editor. Once selected, the tool is now the active tool.
  • Click anywhere in the canvas, and drag your mouse to draw a shape.
  • Release click once satisfied with the resultant shape.

All shapes are highlighted in a blue box when selected. However, paths created through the line tool can enter a path handle selection mode if selected when the line tool icon is active. To select a path point, do the following:

  • Enter path handle selection mode by having a path shape and line tool icon selected.
  • Click on the blue diamond points. Once clicked, the points should turn red to denote that it is now selected.
  • To deselect a selected point, simply click on the point again.
  • You can select multiple points at a time by holding down the CTRL or SHIFT key when clicking on a point.

There are 3 actions you can do to selected path points.

  • Move the point(s) by dragging it around.
  • Move the point(s) by using the directional keys.
  • Delete the point(s) by pressing the DELETE key.

There are other actions you can do as well when the path handle selection mode is active.

  • You can extend an opened path by drawing a new line starting from the *begin or end points.
  • Modify the curvature by moving the control point. These control points cannot be selected, and can only be moved. Control points are only available from paths created through the arc, curve and freeform tool.
  • You can close an open path by bringing the *begin and end points together.

*Begin and end points are the starting point of a path and the ending point of a path respectively. The end point is always highlighted as a yellow diamond in path handle selection mode.

Extending a path
Extending a path
Moving a control point
Moving a control point
Mix and match the type of paths, and close the path
Mix and match the type of paths, and close the path

Maintaining proportions and aspect ratio

You can maintain a shape's aspect ratio during shape creation or resizing.

  • Click on a basic shape tool. Hold down the SHIFT key while dragging to create the shape. The shape's proportion is maintained as you drag.
  • Select a shape. Hold down the SHIFT key as you drag one of the 4 corners of the blue selection box. This ensures that the proportion is maintained from the opposite corner of the dragged corner.

Similarly, resizing a shape while holding down the ALT key maintains the proportion from the center. Only ellipse and rectangle-based shapes can have their proportions maintained.

Watch the video below to have a better idea of maintaining a shape's proportion.

See Video: How to Resize Shapes Proportionally and Use Offset


Connectors indicator
Connectors indicator

Connectors are paths used to connect 2 shapes together. These paths glue themselves to specified shapes and will redraw themselves whenever the shapes or connector itself is moved. Vecta has 2 types of connectors, connectors that jump and connectors that do not jump;

  • Straight
  • Elbow
  • Elbow jump

The straight connector joins two shapes using the shortest distance possible, while the elbow connectors joins 2 shape through a three-part 90 degree bends. Jump connectors will create a jump where it intersects with another connector. Although it is possible for the jump connector to have vertical and horizontal jumps, the creation of horizontal jumps are always prioritized. There are several actions you can do to a connector:

  • Move the connector or drag the begin/end points over a shape to attach the connector to the shape.
  • Detach the connector from the shape by moving the connector itself, or the begin/end points away from the attached shape.
  • Move either one of the elbow connector's section by dragging the section's middle point.
Drag to resize the elbow connector's section
Drag to resize the elbow connector's section

A connector only glues themselves to the following shapes:

  • A rectangle shape
  • An ellipse shape
  • A closed path shape
  • A shape with connection points

By default, connectors will attempt to glue themselves to points closest to the other connected shape. However, there are times you wish to specify where the connector attaches to on a shape. Use the last option under the connector tool dropdown, the connection point tool to add connection points to a shape. Do the following steps to create a connection point on a shape:

  • Select a shape.
  • Click on the connection point tool to set it as active.
  • Hold down the CTRL key and click on the position you want the new connection point to have.

Once created, you can select the connection point to move it. Deselect it by clicking on it again. A selected connection point can be deleted as well by pressing the DELETE key.

Now, you can glue the connector to any shape including an opened path shape by using the connection point as an anchor.

Watch the video below to get a better idea of using connectors.

See Video: How to Connect Shapes Accurately (Connectors VS Lines)

Modifying line styles

Line styles indicator
Line styles indicator

There are 2 types of styling you can apply to a path shape; the line's weight and style.

Line weight sets the thickness of your path's stroke. Choose from a list of preset weight in the dropdown, or set your own weight through the Custom Line Weight dialog.

The bigger the number, the thicker the stroke gets
The bigger the number, the thicker the stroke gets

Line style sets the path's stroke styling. Select the preferred style in the dropdown, or make your own style through the Custom Line Style dialog.

To set your own style, use numbers to denote a series of repeatable pattern. For example, 3, 4 is set through the Custom Line Style dialog. The first number, 3, represents the size of the repeated dashes. The next number, 4, represents by the size of the repeated gaps between the dashes. Since no unit is specified, the numbers 3 and 4 defaults to 3px and 4px each.

Refer to the image below to get a better idea of the different line styles you can create. Vecta accepts px and pt as the line style's unit.

Experiment with different numbers to get the line style you want
Experiment with different numbers to get the line style you want

Modifying line ends

Line end dropdown options
Line end dropdown options

You can attach arrows to open path shapes. These arrows are called line ends in Vecta. Line ends are divided into 2 types; begin arrow and end arrow. Begin arrow is the arrow attached to the path shape's starting point, whereas the end arrow is attached to the path shape's end point.

The line end dropdown is easy to understand once you split them into left and right sections. The left section are options reserved for the begin arrow, while the right section is for the end arrow. By having these sections separated, each arrow can have different styling without affecting the other. You can do the following to each arrow ends:

  • Choose from a list of different arrow styles, or choose to have no arrow style to remove the arrow ends.
  • Select between small, medium or big arrow sizes.

Together with these arrow end options, you'll find other options that does not affect the arrow ends. These options are the switch line end, line cap and line join.

  • Switch line end allows you to switch the begin arrow styling with the end arrow styling. This option does not switch the position of begin arrow with end arrow.
  • Linecap sets the path shape's begin and end points styling.
  • Line join sets the path shape's corner styling.

Refer to the image below to get a better understanding of arrow sizes, linecap and linejoin options.

Locking shapes in place

You can prevent a shape from being moved by locking them down. To lock a shape, do the following steps:

  • Select a shape. Right click to bring up the right click menu.
  • Select Lock shape(s) to lock the shape.

Once locked, you can no longer:

  • Move the shape.
  • Include it in the grouping/ungrouping action.
  • Modify the shape in any way.
  • Delete the shape.

To unlock the shape, right click the locked shape and choose Unlock shape(s).

Choose the Lock shape(s) option to lock a shape
Choose the Lock shape(s) option to lock a shape
A locked shape has a gray selection box
A locked shape has a gray selection box

You can add a link to other sites in shapes. Each shape can store 1 link only. Add a link by doing the following:

  • Select a shape.
  • Right click on the shape and choose Hyperlink.
  • Select Insert hyperlink option.
  • Add a link in the Insert Hyperlink dialog.

Once added, the Insert hyperlink option will be replaced with Edit hyperlink that allows you to remove the link entirely or modify it.

You can open the added link in a new tab by choosing the option below Edit hyperlink. To do the same in view mode or in a published drawing, you will need to click on the shape instead.

Right click on the shape and choose Insert hyperlink
Right click on the shape and choose Insert hyperlink
Insert hyperlink dialog
Insert hyperlink dialog
Last updated August 1, 2018