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Lesson 1. FreeHand Basics > Using the Rectangle Tool

Using the Rectangle Tool

The Rectangle tool is one of the basic drawing tools. With it, you can draw rectangles (of course), squares, and rounded-corner rectangles and squares. You’ll use this tool to draw most of the camera.

Select the Rectangle tool from the Tools panel.

If you don’t see the Tools panel, choose Window > Tools.

The cursor changes to a plus.

Choose Window > Toolbars > Info.

The Info toolbar displays information about objects as you draw them. In Windows, some of the same information appears on the Status toolbar, so you may not need to open the Info toolbar.


The Info toolbar floats on top of the document window and can be moved to any location you wish. If you prefer to leave it open but out of the way, you can dock it below the menu bar. Drag the toolbar to the top of your screen. It will dock itself as it touches the menu bar. You can then move it left or right depending on the size of your monitor. To release it from the menu bar, drag it down. Other toolbars dock in this fashion as well. If you have a large monitor, you can dock those toolbars you use frequently to make them easier to access.

Drag on the page to draw a rectangle approximately 370 points wide and 240 points high.

You’ll see a blue outline of the rectangle as you drag. Release the mouse button when the shape is the size you want. This rectangle will form the body of the camera.

In Windows, look at the Status toolbar as you draw to see the width and height of the rectangle. In Mac OS, look at the Info toolbar to see the dimensions.


To draw a square, hold down Shift as you drag with the Rectangle tool.

You want to center all of the components of the camera on each other, and you will do this by centering everything on the ruler guides. You will start by centering your rectangle on the intersection of the guides.

Select the Pointer tool from the Tools panel and start dragging the rectangle toward the intersection of the guides.

As you drag, you’ll see a small X in the center of the rectangle, indicating the rectangle’s center point. Make sure you drag the outline of the rectangle, not from the middle of the rectangle.


If an object has a fill color, you move it by dragging in the middle of the object. If an object has only a stroke, you move it by dragging the outline of the object.


The Pointer tool is the tool to use for selecting, moving, or editing objects on the page. It is easy to forget to switch to the Pointer tool before moving an object. If you do forget, you may inadvertently draw another rectangle.

Drag the rectangle until the X is over the intersection of the guides; then release the mouse button.

If you don’t see the small X in the center of the rectangle, you paused before you moved the mouse. Tap Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you drag to view the small X.


If you hold down the mouse button briefly before you start to drag an object, you will see a preview of the entire object as you move it. For example, if you have an object with a fill and a drop shadow, you will see those properties as you move the object. This type of dragging is referred to as a preview drag. For complex objects, dragging may be a little slower if you use preview dragging. If you move an object quickly, as soon as you click the object, you see only the outline of the object as you drag. Tapping Alt or Option as you drag switches the drag type to Keyline or Preview.

This method of centering an object over a guide works well enough, but there is an even easier way. In the next step, you’ll use that method. In FreeHand, there are usually two or more ways to accomplish a task. As you work through the lessons in this book, you will learn alternative methods. Experiment with the different methods to find the one that works best for you.

Select the Rectangle tool from the Tools panel. Move the pointer to the intersection of the guides. Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and drag to draw a second rectangle.

When you hold down Alt or Option, the pointer adds a circle to the cross cursor to indicate that you are drawing from the center outward from where you started dragging. Continue to drag until the sides of the rectangle match those of the first rectangle you drew. Make the vertical sides of this second rectangle shorter than those of the first one.



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