*Plain Rectangle Tool Quick Start Guide (mac/win).
// Plain Rectangle Tool 1.0 - an Adobe® Illustrator® CC/CC2014 Plug-In (mac/win). Get your free copy here ›

Plain Rectangle Tool, an Adobe Illustrator Plug-In, is designed for CC2014 users. Adobe®, in its Ai CC2014 version, has introduced a new tool called the Live Rectangle. This is a really great feature but has its huuuuge limitation: it doesn’t snap to grids, points and objects correctly on resize! (Many users have noticed this strange behavior; there are some trending discussions on this at the official Adobe Community Forum, for example this one)

Since we don’t know whether adobe is going to fix this and since there is no option to replace the Live Rectangle with the classic one (plain) by default, I’ve decided to write my own plugin (available for free for personal and commercial use) which imitates behavior of the ‘old’ Rectangle Tool. It doesn’t replace the Live Rectangle – it works completely independent!

The Plain Rectangle Tool correctly snaps to grids/objects/points and correctly aligns to grid/points on resize!. Of course it supports the SHIFT and ALT/OPTION keys, Snap to Grid and Smart Guides options. In other words it works almost 100% the same as the Rectangle Tool we know from CC (17.1), CS6 and earlier.

*Note: The Plain Rectangle can be easily converted into the Live one using Object > Shape > Convert to Rectangle

// Usage

The installation package (zxp) adds ‘Plain Rectangle Tool’ icon into the Ai panel (of curse you can assign your custom keyboard shortcut to it as well)

Plain Rectangle Tool Toolbar Icon
// Spacebar-drag support

Now you can move a shape while drawing it. Just start drawing, then press the Spacebar key and start dragging.

// Snap to center of a shape (cmd/Ctrl-drag)

while drawing, hold down cmd (mac) or Ctrl (win) key to snap to the center of a shape. Of course you can combine this shortcut with other common modifiers like: Shift-drag (Constrain a shape’s proportions or orientation to equal height and width), Alt-drag (Draw from the center of a shape) or spacebar-drag (Move a shape while drawing it). The Snap to Grid option is supported as well.

cmd ctrl drag plain rectangle tool snap to center of a shape
// Temporary Snap to Grid option

When the Temporary Snap to Grid mode is active (Caps Lock key is On) the mouse cursor snaps to gridline, regardless of your current Snap to Grid settings (on or off, menu > view > Snap to Grid). The Temporary Snap to Grid can be activated/deactivated just before or while drawing simply by toggling the Caps Lock key On/Off.

For example: make sure the Caps Lock is Off and your Snap to Grid option is set to Off (menu > view > Snap to Grid). Start drawing the Plain Rectangle by positioning the pointer where you want the rectangle to begin. The first corner will be created fully independently from your current gridline system. Then press Caps Lock to temporarily activate Snap to Grid and drag to where you want the rectangle to end – this will precisely align the second corner with the gridline. Press Caps Lock again to exit the Temporary Snap to Grid mode.

plain rectangle tool temporary snap to grid mode

*Note: This feature is disabled by default. To enable it, please: A) close Adobe® Illustrator® B) go to your Adobe Illustrator Settings folder (for example C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator 20 Settings\en_US\x64 on win and /Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator 20 Settings on mac); C) open Adobe Illustrator Prefs file for editing using your common text editor; D) find the kPlainRectangleToolRect keyword; E) then find the EnableForceSnapToGrid variable and set it to 1. Like this:

/PlainRectangleTool {
/ {
/kPlainRectangleToolRect {
/EnableForceSnapToGrid 1
/W 49.8635025024
/H 50.2887115479

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