Useful Tricks

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This page describes an assortment of useful tricks that will make you aware of Canvas node functionality that you may have overlooked.





Centering a Shape

Place a shape precisely in the middle of the document.

Duplicating a Shape

Create multiple copies of a shape.

Selecting Grouped Shapes

How to select individual shapes when they are part of a group.

Making a Regular Row

Arrange a number of shapes into a row with equal spacing between them.

Finding a Lost Shape

Locate a shape that has been dragged to some forgotten location outside of the document.

Removing Unwanted Skew

Remove distortion that a shape may acquire after a series of manipulations.

Creating Unique Symmetric Shapes

Create unique shapes exhibiting rotational symmetry.

Creating a Ring

Create a ring by cutting a smaller shape out of a bigger one.




Centering a Shape


If you'd like to place a shape in the exact center of the document, activate the Transform tool, select the shape, then set its position to (50, 50).



Set Position To 50




Duplicating a Shape


If you want to duplicate a Shape, select it, copy it (Ctrl + C), and paste it (Ctrl + V).




Selecting Grouped Shapes


Shape groups allow designs that are composed of multiple shapes to be treated as if they were a single shape, but sometimes you may want to select an individual shape within a group.  One way of accomplishing this is by selecting the shape within the tree view to the right of the Canvas workspace, but it can be time consuming to find the correct entry.  A quicker way is to repeatedly click the shape within the workspace, which will cycle through the various selections you may wish to make.



Selecting Group 1

The first time a grouped shape is clicked in the workspace, the entire group will be selected.



Selecting Group 2

Clicking again will drill down to the next level.



Selecting Group 3

Additional clicks will drill down further if possible, or cycle back to first selection if not.




Making a Regular Row


If you have a number of shapes that you would like to arrange into a regular row:


Activate the Transform tool.


Select all the shapes that will form the row.


Click the Align Center button that will appear in the Align section of the Transform tool's ribbon.


Click the Distribute Horizontally button that will appear in the Distribute section of the Transform tool's ribbon.



Make a Row




Finding a Lost Shape



If a shape has been dragged out of the confines of the document, you may have trouble finding where you put it.  Activate the Transform tool, select the lost shape by clicking its name in the tree view found to the right of the workspace, then bring it into view by setting its location to (50, 50).



Finding Lost Shape




Removing Unwanted Skew


If a shape has undergone a number of transformations, it may have become skewed or sheared along the way, as shown below.



Removing Skew



Remove unwanted skew by activating the Transform tool and then setting the shape's skew values to zero.



Set Skew Sliders To Zero




Creating Unique Symmetric Shapes


Neat effects can be achieved by editing multiple tangent points simultaneously.


Activate the Shape tool, select the Star shape, then drag-create a star in the workspace.  You may want to hold down Shift while you drag to ensure the star is proportional.



Symmetric Edit 1



Activate the Edit tool and click the Convert button to convert the shape into freely editable curves.



Symmetric Edit 2



Select all of the shape's control points by dragging a selection marquee over the entire shape.



Symmetric Edit 3



Drag one of the many tangent handles that have become visible.  All visible tangent handles will automatically move to match the adjustment, creating unique symmetrical shapes.



Symmetric Edit 4



Other unique shapes can be created by starting with different shapes and by selecting only some of the shape's control points.




Creating a Ring


Activate the Shape tool, select the Ellipse shape, and drag two ellipses onto the workspace.  Hold down Shift while you do this to ensure that perfect circles are created.



Making a Ring 1



Activate the Transform tool, select both circles, and then click the centering buttons found in the Align section of the Transform tool's ribbon.



Making a Ring 2



Select the smaller (upper) of the two circles, and change its combine mode to Cut.



Making a Ring 3



If the shape vanished after performing the previous step, it's likely that the upper circle is bigger than the lower one, and therefore is cutting the entire shape away.  Adjust circle sizes to ensure that the upper circle is smaller.




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