Multiple Handle Operations

PathScribe can select and edit multiple handles simultaneously. To select multiple handles using the PathScribe tool, they must first be visible on the screen. You can show all the handles on a path by either having part of the path selected and clicking the “Show handles on selected paths” button on the PathScribe panel, or by using the PathScribe tool to Option/Alt-marquee over a small section of a path, being careful not to select any points. Once the handles are visible, simply marquee them with the PathScribe tool by dragging out a rectangle that encloses them. Handles which are selected change from the default solid circles to larger, hollow circles (unless you have changed the display of handles to be hollow, in which case selected handles will be solid).

VectorScribe PathScribe marquee handle selection

VectorScribe PathScribe marquee handle selection

You can also select the points whose handles you wish to select and use the first three menu items in the Handle Selection submenu of the PathScribe panel flyout menu.

Handles made visible with Illustrator’s Show Handles When Multiple Anchors are Selected preference may not be marquee-selectable with PathScribe. To avoid the problem, either turn the preference off, or only use the PathScribe tool to select paths and points.

You can use the Shift key while marqueeing to add or subtract handles from the current selection. To deselect all selected handles, click on a blank area of the document. If no handles fall within the marqueed rectangle, PathScribe will check for and select points or path segments instead. (You can also ignore handles and only select points or segments by holding down Option/Alt during the marquee operation.)

When one or more handles are selected, PathScribe enters “Multi-Handle Mode”. The cursor changes to show an icon of two handles to remind you of this. While in this mode, you can’t edit anything else, like an unselected handle or a point. You can Option/Alt-click on unselected paths to show their handles. But if you switch to another tool, you will lose the handle selection. If you hold down Command/Ctrl to temporarily switch to one of the selection (arrow) tools, and you modify a path that contains selected handles, they will become unselected.


You can’t use any of the click operations on multiple handles. However, you can use the PathScribe panel to perform the same functions on them (see PathScribe Panel). If you prefer to use the panel for handle editing, you can select a single handle and do so in the same manner as multiple handles.


When you drag one of a set of selected handles, the handle under the cursor moves in the same manner as a single dragged handle would (with one exception: connector points are not recognized in Multi-Handle Mode). How the other handles move is dependent on two preference settings (see below) and which multi-handle drag mode is active. There are four multi-handle drag modes: Constraining mode, Normal rotation mode, Counter-rotation mode, and Group mode.

Dragging in Constraining mode

If Option/Alt is held down, the angles of all of the selected handles will be constrained to their original angles. Their lengths will change in the manner explained below.

Dragging in Normal and Counter-Rotation modes

You operate in one of these modes unless the Option/Alt key or space bar are held down. Which mode is active can be seen in the bottom status line on the PathScribe panel, and you can toggle between these modes by pressing the C key when the mouse is down. In both these modes, selected handles will rotate through the same angle as the dragged handle, but in Counter-rotation mode, handles of the opposite type as the dragged handle will rotate in the opposite direction. For example, if the dragged handle is an in handle and is rotated 45° clockwise, then all selected out handles will be rotated 45° counterclockwise. If both handles of a smooth point are selected and moved in Counter-rotation mode, the point automatically becomes a corner point.

VectorScribe PathScribe multihandle normal and counter rotation

VectorScribe PathScribe multihandle normal and counter rotation

The change in each selected handle’s length depends on several preferences. By default, handles shorten or lengthen in proportion to the change in length of the dragged handle. For example, if the dragged handle was shortened to half of its original length, then all of the selected handles will be shortened to half of their original lengths. To change this behavior, see PathScribe Preferences.

Dragging in Group mode

Group mode is accessed by holding down the space bar while moving multiple handles. In this mode, all of the selected handles move as one unit in the same direction and distance as the dragged handle. As with Counter-rotation mode, if both handles of a smooth point are selected and moved, the point automatically becomes a corner point. If you begin your drag without the space bar and add it later, the angles and relative positions of all the selected handles will be restored to their original values.

VectorScribe PathScribe multihandle grouped

VectorScribe PathScribe multihandle grouped