Illustrator Tip: Creating Scalable Boxes with Rounded Corners

Illustrator Tip: Creating Scalable Boxes with Rounded Corners

Sometimes the simplest tricks can make the biggest difference. That’s what happened for me when I discovered an alternative solution to creating boxes with rounded corners in Illustrator. I was frustrated at how, when using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, I would have to redraw the box when resizing it in order to keep the rounded corners from distorting. In this tip, I will show you how to avoid that little annoyance.

First off, notice how the box drawn with the Rounded Rectangle Tool distorts the corners when I reshape it.

Now try drawing a new box using the Rectangle Tool. Then with the box selected got to Effects | Stylize | Round Corners.

Now try reshaping the box. Notice how the round corners stay intact? Pretty nice, huh?

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Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown is a graphic designer who loves working with various media. He combines traditional art styles with a little experimentation and digital flare. Nathan's works have contained everything from ink and paint to leaves and a box of dirt. Everything is fare game when it comes to his approach to art. Nathan lives in Austin, Texas where he has been working as a designer for 10 years.


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  1. Lol, you’ve forgot to mention when you press ‘d’ on the keyboard it rest sets the shape also if you want to keep the rounded corners just go to Object> Expand…


    • Hi Nabeel, Thanks for the comment. Neither one of those options solves the issue that I’m addressing in the tip above, though.

      If you expand the shape, then you end up with the same issue of the box corners distorting when resized. Once you know your no longer going to need to resize the box, then expanding the shape makes sense.

  2. Another similar tip is to use the Direct selection tool to select only the corner anchor points that you want to modify, then you can use the keyboard or hold shift + drag mouse to expand the shape horizontally or vertically without disrupting the proportions of everything.

    Good tip though, I like this one :-)

    • Oooh… I like that one. Good tip, Mason.

    • Kristin

      I tried this, but I don’t think I completely follow. Could you explain further? Thanks!

  3. I’ve always had trouble with rounded corners, thanks for the tip

  4. Louie Hung

    Thank you.

  5. Infinitely helpful. I knew there had to be a way but I never bothered to look it up. Glad I did because now this will save me tons of time and headache.

  6. Peter

    The corner radius of your rounded corners will be determined by a value in the first screen of Illustrator preferences. Like me, you might have expected that value to be in the toolbar for the Rounded Rectangle Tool!

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