User Guide Cancel

Measure and plot dimensions

  1. Illustrator User Guide
  2. Get to know Illustrator
    1. Introduction to Illustrator
      1. What's new in Illustrator
      2. Common questions
      3. Illustrator system requirements
      4. Illustrator for Apple silicon
    2. Workspace
      1. Workspace basics
      2. Learn faster with the Illustrator Discover panel
      3. Create documents
      4. Toolbar
      5. Default keyboard shortcuts
      6. Customize keyboard shortcuts
      7. Introduction to artboards
      8. Manage artboards
      9. Customize the workspace
      10. Properties panel
      11. Set preferences
      12. Touch Workspace
      13. Microsoft Surface Dial support in Illustrator
      14. Undo edits and manage design history
      15. Rotate view
      16. Rulers, grids, and guides
      17. Accessibility in Illustrator
      18. Safe Mode
      19. View artwork
      20. Use the Touch Bar with Illustrator
      21. Files and templates
    3. Tools in Illustrator
      1. Tools at a glance
      2. Select tools
        1. Selection
        2. Direct Selection
        3. Group Selection
        4. Magic Wand
        5. Lasso
        6. Artboard
      3. Navigate tools
        1. Hand
        2. Rotate View
        3. Zoom
      4. Paint tools
        1. Gradient
        2. Mesh
        3. Shape Builder
      5. Text tools
        1. Type
        2. Type on a Path
        3. Vertical Type
      6. Draw tools
        1. Pen
        2. Add Anchor Point
        3. Delete Anchor Point
        4. Anchor Point
        5. Curvature
        6. Line Segment
        7. Rectangle
        8. Rounded Rectangle
        9. Ellipse
        10. Polygon
        11. Star
        12. Paintbrush
        13. Blob Brush
        14. Pencil
        15. Shaper
        16. Slice
      7. Modify tools
        1. Rotate
        2. Reflect
        3. Scale
        4. Shear
        5. Width
        6. Free Transform
        7. Eyedropper
        8. Blend
        9. Eraser
        10. Scissors
        11. Dimension
    4. Generative AI (not available in mainland China)
      1. Generate a vector graphic using a text prompt
      2. Recolor your artwork using a text prompt
    5. Quick actions
      1. Retro text
      2. Neon glow text
      3. Old school text
      4. Recolor
      5. Convert sketch to vector
  3. Illustrator on the web (beta)
    1. Illustrator on the web (beta) overview
    2. Illustrator on the web (beta) FAQ
    3. Troubleshooting issues FAQ
    4. Keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator on the web (beta)
    5. Create and combine shapes on the web
    6. Add and edit text on the web
    7. Apply colors and gradients on the web
    8. Draw and edit paths on the web
    9. Work with cloud documents on the web
    10. Invite collaborators to edit on the web
  4. Illustrator on the iPad
    1. Introduction to Illustrator on the iPad
      1. Illustrator on the iPad overview
      2. Illustrator on the iPad FAQs
      3. System requirements | Illustrator on the iPad
      4. What you can or cannot do on Illustrator on the iPad
    2. Workspace
      1. Illustrator on the iPad workspace
      2. Touch shortcuts and gestures
      3. Keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator on the iPad
      4. Manage your app settings
    3. Documents
      1. Work with documents in Illustrator on the iPad
      2. Import Photoshop and Fresco documents
    4. Select and arrange objects
      1. Create repeat objects
      2. Blend objects
    5. Drawing
      1. Draw and edit paths
      2. Draw and edit shapes
    6. Type
      1. Work with type and fonts
      2. Create text designs along a path
      3. Add your own fonts
    7. Work with images
      1. Vectorize raster images
    8. Color
      1. Apply colors and gradients
  5. Cloud documents
    1. Basics
      1. Work with Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Share and collaborate on Illustrator cloud documents
      3. Share documents for review
      4. Upgrade cloud storage for Adobe Illustrator
      5. Illustrator cloud documents | Common questions
    2. Troubleshooting
      1. Troubleshoot create or save issues for Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Troubleshoot Illustrator cloud documents issues
  6. Add and edit content
    1. Drawing and dimensioning
      1. Drawing basics
      2. Edit paths
      3. Draw pixel-perfect art
      4. Draw with the Pen, Curvature, or Pencil tool
      5. Draw simple lines and shapes
      6. Draw rectangular and polar grids
      7. Draw and edit flares
      8. Image Trace
      9. Simplify a path
      10. Symbolism tools and symbol sets
      11. Adjust path segments
      12. Design a flower in 5 easy steps
      13. Create and edit a perspective grid
      14. Draw and modify objects on a perspective grid
      15. Use objects as symbols for repeat use
      16. Draw pixel-aligned paths for web workflows
      17. Measure and plot dimensions
    2. 3D objects and materials
      1. About 3D effects in Illustrator
      2. Create 3D graphics
      3. Map artwork over 3D objects
      4. Create 3D Text
      5. Create 3D objects
    3. Color
      1. About color
      2. Select colors
      3. Use and create swatches
      4. Adjust colors
      5. Use the Adobe Color Themes panel
      6. Color groups (harmonies)
      7. Color Themes panel
      8. Recolor your artwork
    4. Painting
      1. About painting
      2. Paint with fills and strokes
      3. Live Paint groups
      4. Gradients
      5. Brushes
      6. Transparency and blending modes
      7. Apply stroke on an object
      8. Create and edit patterns
      9. Meshes
      10. Patterns
    5. Select and arrange objects
      1. Select objects
      2. Layers
      3. Group and expand objects
      4. Move, align, and distribute objects
      5. Stack objects    
      6. Lock, hide, and delete objects
      7. Copy and duplicate objects
      8. Rotate and reflect objects
      9. Intertwine objects
      10. Create realistic art mockups
    6. Reshape objects
      1. Crop images
      2. Transform objects
      3. Combine objects
      4. Cut, divide, and trim objects
      5. Puppet Warp
      6. Scale, shear, and distort objects
      7. Blend objects
      8. Reshape using envelopes
      9. Reshape objects with effects
      10. Build new shapes with Shaper and Shape Builder tools
      11. Work with Live Corners
      12. Enhanced reshape workflows with touch support
      13. Edit clipping masks
      14. Live shapes
      15. Create shapes using the Shape Builder tool
      16. Global editing
    7. Type
      1. Add text and work with type objects
      2. Create bulleted and numbered lists
      3. Manage text area
      4. Fonts and typography
      5. Convert text within images into editable text
      6. Add basic formatting to text
      7. Add advanced formatting to text
      8. Import and export text
      9. Format paragraphs
      10. Special characters
      11. Create type on a path
      12. Character and paragraph styles
      13. Tabs
      14. Find missing fonts (Typekit workflow)
      15. Arabic and Hebrew type
      16. Fonts | FAQ and troubleshooting tips
      17. Create 3D text effect
      18. Creative typography designs
      19. Scale and rotate type
      20. Line and character spacing
      21. Hyphenation and line breaks
      22. Spelling and language dictionaries
      23. Format Asian characters
      24. Composers for Asian scripts
      25. Create text designs with blend objects
      26. Create a text poster using Image Trace
    8. Create special effects
      1. Work with effects
      2. Graphic styles
      3. Appearance attributes
      4. Create sketches and mosaics
      5. Drop shadows, glows, and feathering
      6. Summary of effects
    9. Web graphics
      1. Best practices for creating web graphics
      2. Graphs
      3. SVG
      4. Slices and image maps
  7. Import, export, and save
    1. Import
      1. Place multiple files
      2. Manage linked and embedded files
      3. Links information
      4. Unembed images
      5. Import artwork from Photoshop
      6. Import bitmap images
      7. Import Adobe PDF files
      8. Import EPS, DCS, and AutoCAD files
    2. Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator 
      1. Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator
    3. Save
      1. Save artwork
    4. Export
      1. Use Illustrator artwork in Photoshop
      2. Export artwork
      3. Collect assets and export in batches
      4. Package files
      5. Create Adobe PDF files
      6. Extract CSS | Illustrator CC
      7. Adobe PDF options
      8. Document info panel
  8. Printing
    1. Prepare for printing
      1. Set up documents for printing
      2. Change the page size and orientation
      3. Specify crop marks for trimming or aligning
      4. Get started with large canvas
    2. Printing
      1. Overprint
      2. Print with color management
      3. PostScript printing
      4. Print presets
      5. Printer's marks and bleeds
      6. Print and save transparent artwork
      7. Trapping
      8. Print color separations
      9. Print gradients, meshes, and color blends
      10. White Overprint
  9. Automate tasks
    1. Data merge using the Variables panel
    2. Automation with scripts
    3. Automation with actions
  10. Troubleshooting 
    1. Crash issues
    2. Recover files after crash
    3. File issues
    4. Supported file formats
    5. GPU device driver issues
    6. Wacom device issues
    7. DLL file issues
    8. Memory issues
    9. Preferences file issues
    10. Font issues
    11. Printer issues
    12. Share crash report with Adobe
    13. Improve Illustrator performance

Measure and plot linear, angular, and radial dimensions in your artwork with ease.

The Dimension tool lets you easily measure and plot dimensions such as distance, angle, and radius within your artwork. Furthermore, you have the flexibility to customize the appearance, unit, scale, etc., of the dimensions.

Adobe Illustrator deeplink

Try it in the app
Measure and plot dimensions in a few simple steps.

Get familiar with the Dimension tool, dimension object, and tool settings

Dimension tool

You can readily access the Dimension   tool from the toolbar. If you can't find it, select Edit toolbar   at the bottom of the toolbar, and drag the tool from the Modify section onto the toolbar. When you access the Dimension tool, a taskbar opens up. The taskbar lets you easily switch between different tool types: Linear Dimension  , Angular Dimension  , and Radial Dimension  . These tool types let you plot linear, angular, and radial dimension types, respectively. Before plotting a specific dimension type, ensure that you've selected the correct tool type. The taskbar also contains the tool settings.

Dimension object

When you plot a dimension, a dimension object is what you get. A dimension object contains a dimension line, extension line, and dimension text.

Parts of a dimension object
Know the parts of a dimension object and then adjust the settings.

A. Extension line B. Offset of dimension text C. Dimension text D. Dimension line E. Extension of extension line F. Offset of extension line 

Tool settings

Plotted dimensions on the canvas along with the Dimension Tool Options dialog box
Use Dimension Tool Options to configure settings for the dimension objects you'll plot.

Tool settings or Dimension Tool Options lets you set up preferences such as the unit of measurement, scale, precision, and appearance for your dimension objects. You can open the settings in two ways — by double-clicking the tool icon in the toolbar or by selecting   in the Dimension tool taskbar.

When you change the tool settings, you're setting up the preferences for all the dimension objects you'll plot in the future, not for those you already plotted. Here are the things you can specify before you begin plotting your dimensions:

  • Units & Scale: Choose between different measurement units and set precision up to three decimal points. You can choose one of the preset scales or create a custom scale by specifying the ratio. You can create up to 10 custom scales. If you don't want your dimension text to contain units, you can opt to hide it.
  • Dimension Lines: Specify line weight and type, arrow style, scale, and color.
  • Extension Lines: Specify line weight and type, offset, extension, and color.
  • Dimension Text: Specify font family, style, size, offset, position, and color.

To restore the original settings, select Reset.

Plot linear dimensions

The Linear Dimension   tool type lets you plot the length of a line and the distance between any two points.

Linear dimensions that you plot are either aligned, vertical, or horizontal dimensions.

Aligned dimension

It's the direct distance between two points.

Vertical dimension

It's the vertical distance between two points.

Horizontal dimension

It's the horizontal distance between two points.

Plot linear dimensions of basic shapes

You can easily plot the linear dimensions of basic shapes such as rectangles, polygons, line segments, and stars. Let's take a hexagon as an example:

Plot the aligned, vertical, and horizontal dimensions of basic shapes such as a hexagon.

  1. Select Dimension   tool from the toolbar.

  2. Select Linear Dimension   from the taskbar that appears.

  3. Hover over a side of the hexagon until a pink line guide appears, and then plot the dimensions:

    • Aligned dimension: Drag, keeping the line guide parallel to the side, and then release.
    • Vertical dimension: Drag, keeping the line guide parallel to the side, change direction so the line guide is vertical, and then release.
    • Horizontal dimension: Drag, keeping the line guide parallel to the side, change direction so the line guide is horizontal, and then release.

If you want to change the settings of a dimension object you already plotted, select it and make changes in the Properties panel.

Plot linear dimensions between any two points

Horizontal dimension plotted between points on two hexagons.
Plot the aligned, vertical, and horizontal dimensions between any two points.

  1. Select the Dimension   tool from the toolbar.

  2. Select Linear Dimension   from the taskbar that appears.

  3. Click the first point, and then click the second point. You can then plot the following dimensions:

    • Aligned dimension: Click again.
    • Vertical dimension: Move the mouse horizontally, and then click.
    • Horizontal dimension: Move the mouse vertically, and then click.

Plot linear dimensions of an object with a stroke

If a path segment has a stroke applied to it, you can measure its linear dimension accurately by snapping onto its preview bounds. To enable preview bounds, go to IllustratorPreferences > General > Use Preview Bounds (macOS) or  EditPreferences > General > Use Preview Bounds (Windows).

Plot angular dimensions

The Angular Dimension   tool type lets you easily plot a shape's angles or angles between any two intersecting lines.

Plot angles of basic shapes

Plot the interior and exterior angles of basic shapes such as a triangle.

  1. Select the Dimension   tool from the toolbar.

  2. Select Angular Dimension   from the taskbar that appears.

  3. Hover over the vertex of the angle you want to plot until a pink angular guide appears. Then, plot the interior and exterior angles:

    • Interior angle: Drag inward from the vertex, and then release.
    • Exterior angle: Drag outward from the vertex, and then release.

Plot angles of intersecting lines

Two intersecting lines with an angle plotted between them.
Plot the interior and exterior angles of any two intersecting lines.

  1. Select the Dimension tool   from the toolbar.

  2. Select Angular Dimension   from the taskbar that appears.

  3. Click a point on the first line, and then click a point on the second line.

  4. Move the mouse in either direction and then click the canvas to plot interior or exterior angles.

Plot radial dimensions

The Radial Dimension tool type lets you easily plot the radius and diameter of circles and perfect arcs (arcs that are part of a circle).

Plot the radii and diameters of circles and perfect arcs.

  1. Select the Dimension   tool from the toolbar.

  2. Select Radial Dimension   from the taskbar that appears.

  3. Hover over the circumference of the circle or arc until a pink radial guide appears. Then, plot the radial dimensions:

    • Radius: Drag outward, and then release.
    • Diameter: Drag inward, and then release.

Modify properties of the existing dimensions

While you can use the tool settings to define the properties of the future dimensions that you'll plot, you can change the properties of existing dimensions only from the Properties panel. For this, you just have to select the dimension objects and go to the Properties panel. You can then apply these new properties to the dimension objects that you've selected or apply them to all the existing dimension objects by selecting Apply to all. Additionally, you can select Set as default to change the settings for all the existing and future dimensions.

Furthermore, if you transform the objects, the associated dimensions get updated automatically. For example, if you increase the width of a rectangle, the dimension object that measures the width will update automatically to reflect the new measurement.

Hide the dimension objects

All the dimension objects are added in a separate Dimensions layer in the Layers panel. You can toggle off the visibility of the Dimensions layer to hide the dimension objects from your artwork. You can’t move items from the Dimensions layer to other layers and vice-versa.

Points to remember

  • Use the Dimension tool to reposition dimension objects. If you choose the Selection tool to reposition them, they expand as regular objects.
  • When you distort an object, its associated dimensions don't adjust automatically.
  • You can’t plot the running length of a curved path yet.

More like this

Have a question or an idea?

Ask the Community

If you have a question to ask or an idea to share, come and participate in Adobe Illustrator Community. We would love to hear from you and see your creations.


Get help faster and easier

New user?