Continuing a path with Pen Tool

Explorer ,
Aug 04, 2017 Aug 04, 2017

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I found this discussion but it simply doesn't answer my question Re: Continuing a path with the Pen after pressing delete?

I desire to continue a previously drawn path with the pen tool.

In Photoshop parlance, I want to "pick up the end point". But Illustrator CC baffles me.

I select the path with Direct Selection (A). I pick the pen tool (P). I hover over the end anchor point, and the end point highlights. The nib displays '*'.

It always starts a new path.

I've also tried pen tool +  while hovering over the end anchor point, but I get a dialog box that says "Please use the add anchor point tool on a segment of a path"

This is driving me cray cray. Halp

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

Adobe Community Professional , Aug 05, 2017 Aug 05, 2017
I think you have a couple of issues here, Bruce:Issue One: Stacking order. Illustrator wants to select the top-most path. And I'll bet you a nickel that the oval for the eyeglass lens is somehow stacked above the curve for the highlight. When I run across this situation, it's generally because I brought something over the top in the stacking order because I wanted to hide the endpoints of the "highlight" I stacked underneath.There are two ways to fix this:a) Select the path, then use the Object>...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2017 Aug 05, 2017

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You need to first click on the end point with the pen tool. Then you can continue the path.

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Explorer ,
Aug 05, 2017 Aug 05, 2017

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Please see the vid I posted. I never, ever get the nib /

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2017 Aug 05, 2017

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The path you are attempting to extend is below the rim path in the Layer order. Try selecting it and use Object>Arrange>Bring to Front before trying to use the Pen tool.

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Explorer ,
Aug 05, 2017 Aug 05, 2017

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Thank You! I knew it was gonna be something simple!

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New Here ,
May 17, 2021 May 17, 2021

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Thank you!

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Guide ,
Aug 05, 2017 Aug 05, 2017

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Hover the Pen tool nib over the end anchor point until you see the forward / next to the nib cursor

then click or click and drag to continue.

On an open path (like an arc) you can only continue from the 2 open end anchor points

on a close path (like a circle) you cannot continue from anywhere and will always start new path.

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Explorer ,
Aug 05, 2017 Aug 05, 2017

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I've tried hovering over the end of the open path, with no luck. Please see attached video.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2017 Aug 05, 2017

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I think you have a couple of issues here, Bruce:

Issue One: Stacking order. Illustrator wants to select the top-most path. And I'll bet you a nickel that the oval for the eyeglass lens is somehow stacked above the curve for the highlight. When I run across this situation, it's generally because I brought something over the top in the stacking order because I wanted to hide the endpoints of the "highlight" I stacked underneath.

There are two ways to fix this:

a) Select the path, then use the Object>Arrange>Bring Forward or Bring to Front menu command to bring the underlying path higher in the stacking order above whatever's overlapping it. Fix it the way you'd like, then use Object>Arrange>Send Backward to drop it down in the stacking order until the path is again overlapped by the desired Illustrator elements. Easy, but tedious.

b) In later versions of Illustrator, go to the Layers panel and select the sub-layer (element) that contains your intended path, then select the target for that sub-layer/element and adjust it the way you'd like.

Issue Two: Magnification. If you find it hard to select the endpoint you'd like to continue, zoom in on it and it can make it easier to see/select/differentiate between the path/anchor point(s) you want to select and the one you don't. You may lose some context as you can't see

When you account for these two issues and you work your way around them, I'll bet you can lay your pen tool on the anchor handle(s) you want to hit more easily.

And don't worry about it — I won't hit you up for the nickel.

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Explorer ,
Aug 05, 2017 Aug 05, 2017

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I knew it was going to be something simple. I had even zoomed in, but never thot about stacking order.

Thank you Soooo much!

I owe you more than a nickel !

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2017 Aug 05, 2017

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Changing the stacking order just to continue a path with the Pen tool may be convenient in rather simple documents. Constantly having to do that in complex documents is pretty inefficient.

Illustrator should provide a preference that would give selected paths a privilege when it comes to edit them.

Apart from that, in recent versions of Illustrator you can benefit from the so-called Isolation Mode. That is, in case you are dealing with ungrouped objects, double click the path that is going to be continued in order to enter Isolation mode and use the Pen tool to continue it. When you’re done hit the Esc key to exit Isolation mode. That method will work independent from the actual stacking order. Remember that entering Isolation Mode with a double click can be turned on or off in the general preferences.

My favourite method to enter Isolation Mode is to use a custom keyboard shortcut. Currently I use Cmd-9, but you can set a different one by going to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts > Menu Commands > Other Object > Isolate Selected Object. Assign your own shortcut there. From now on you can select or direct select any path, hit the shortcut to enter Isolation mode and edit/continue the path without having to change or even think about its stacking order.

At first glance, the procedure may sound a bit complicated to set up, but once you did it, I bet you two or three gold coins that you will find out that it is easier than checking and changing stacking orders all the time.

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