How to Resize Images in Adobe Illustrator

Some images are just too big to fit in your artwork sometimes. What to do when the images don’t match the size requirement? Obviously, you resize them! But you have to be careful not to distort the images while resizing, and the key to avoiding that is the Shift key. 

You can use the Scale Tool, Transform tool, or simply the Selection Tool (I mean bounding box) to resize images in Adobe Illustrator. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how each method works with detailed steps. 

Let’s get started! 

Note: all screenshots from this tutorial are taken from Adobe Illustrator CC 2022 Mac version. Windows or other versions can look different. 

Method 1: Scale Tool (S)

There’s actually a Scale Tool on the toolbar. It should be in the same sub-menu as the Rotate tool. If you don’t see it, you can add it from the Edit Toolbar menu. 

Step 1: Select the images with the Selection Tool (V). Hold the Shift key to select multiple images, or drag through to select all images if you want to resize all. 

Step 2: Choose the Scale Tool from the toolbar, or use the keyboard shortcut S

Now you will see anchor points on the images you choose. 

Step 3: Click on an empty space near the images and drag out to enlarge the image or drag in to decrease the size. Hold the Shift key while dragging to keep the images proportional. 

For example, I clicked and dragged towards the center to make the images smaller. However, I didn’t hold the Shift key, so the images look a bit distorted. 

Release the mouse and Shift key when you’re happy with the size. 

Method 2: Transform Tool

This method works best when you have an exact size value in mind because you can directly input the width and height. 

For example, let’s resize this image to 400 pixels in width. Right now the size is 550 W x 409 H. 

Step 1: Open the Transform panel from the overhead menu Window > Transform. Actually, the Transform panel will show under the Properties panel when you select an object or image. 

Step 2: Select the image you want to resize and you’ll see its size info on the Transform panel > W (width) and H (height). Change the W value to 400 and you will see that the H value changes automatically. 

Why? Because the link button is checked. When the linked button is clicked, it keeps the original proportion of the image. If you put a W value, the H value will adjust to a value that matches. Vice Versa. You could unlink the button, but I don’t see why you would want to. 

Tips: If your images have strokes, you can click on More Options (the three dots button) and check Scale Strokes & Effects.

Method 3: Bounding Box 

This is the most convenient way to resize images in Adobe Illustrator. Simply select the images and drag the bounding box to resize. See detailed steps below. 

Step 1: Choose the Selection Tool from the toolbar. 

Step 2: Hold the Shift key and select the images that you want to resize. You will see the selection within a bounding box. For example, here I selected the triangle and cloud. 

Step 3: Click on one of the corners of the bounding box and drag in or out to resize. Drag out to increase the size, and drag in (towards the center) to reduce the size. If you want to resize proportionally, hold the Shift key when you drag. 

Conclusion

It’s so easy to resize images in Adobe Illustrator. Even though there’s a specific tool for it, the Scale Tool, honestly, I barely use it because using the bounding box to resize works perfectly fine.

I do use the Transform panel to resize when I know the size requirement for the images because using the bounding box or scale tool is hard to get the exact size value.

About June Escalada
Graduated from Creative Advertising major, worked more than eight years as a graphic designer focusing in branding and Illustration. Yes, Adobe Illustrator is my best friend and I’m passionate about art and design.

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