Regular hexagons in Adobe Illustrator

Last night, I had to draw a regular hexagon in Adobe Illustrator, Now, I remember from my school days how to draw one with a compass and ruler (draw a circle with the compasses, and then select a point on the circumference and mark off radii with the compasses, going round the circle; you'll mark off six intersections and then connect them with straight lines: voilà!), but I don't have any compasses in Illustrator.

(UPDATE: OK, now I feel silly. There's a Polygon tool in Illustrator. It's part of the rectangle tool list in the toolbox. Click it to select it, click on the artboard to set the number of sides, and then draw it. Oh well.)

A moment's reflection gave me an answer.

You now have half a hexagon.

The lines now form a path.

You now have a regular hexagon. The lines form a closed path and so you can color the perimeter and the interior as desired.

The magic rotation angle is the exterior angle for the sides on a regular hexagon. If you want another regular polygon, calculate the relevant exterior angle (360 divided by the number of sides) and proceed as before. If the number of sides is not even you won't be able to use the reflection trick to save time, but will have to paste/rotate every side as required. For example, here's a regular pentagon (exterior angle = 72°):


Obviously, if the number of sides doesn't divide into 360° exactly, there will be some fudging at the corners to make it all fit properly.

Album cover for Muted Now playing:
Alias - sixes last
(from Muted)

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4 Responses

#1 Dew Dump – June 18, 2009 | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew said...
18-Jun-09 7:05 AM

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#2 Peter said...
19-Mar-12 9:52 AM

You feel silly for not finding a tool in a program which lacks any kind of intuitive GUI?

#3 Sye said...
14-Nov-16 3:29 PM

Thanks for this, I'm wanting to create a 'perfect' hexagon on a grid. One questions, what size are your grid squares?

julian m bucknall avatar
#4 julian m bucknall said...
15-Nov-16 5:59 PM

Sye: it's actually not particularly relevant since you can grow/shrink the finished object. As it happens: major squares are 1 inch, minor ones are therefore 1/8 inch. But as I said, it doesn't matter in the slightest.

Cheers, Julian

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