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Gestures & Shortcuts

Gestures & Shortcuts

Get familiar with essential Vectornator gestures.

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Vectornator is packed with intuitive gesture controls and keyboard shortcuts that will make creating your artwork and design projects a breeze on your iPad, Mac, or iPhone.

Basic Canvas Gestures

Vectornator's gestures allow you to move around your canvas, undo or redo an action, clear, copy, paste, and find useful menus at your fingertips.

Pan | Holding two fingers on the screen and dragging will allow you to pan around the canvas of your document without moving any elements by accident. On macOS, you can use this same gesture control on the trackpad. If you'd prefer not to use gesture controls, you can also tap on the Hand Tool in the Toolbar or press the ~key~ H ~key~ key to toggle this panning mode on or off.

Zoom In/Out | To zoom into the canvas, use two fingers to pinch outwards. To zoom out of the canvas, use two fingers to pinch inwards. Tap the Zoom button in the Widget Area to open the popover, where you can instantly fit the canvas to your screen width or set the zoom manually.

Rotate | You can rotate your canvas by holding two fingers on the screen of your iPad or iPhone and spinning them clockwise or counterclockwise to rotate the document in your desired direction. In the Viewfinder inside the Widget Area, the small dot around the zoom percentage shows you the current rotation of your canvas. If you don't want your canvas to rotate, you can lock the Canvas Rotation by switching off the button in the Settings.

Undo & Redo

Undo | To Undo your last action, use two fingers to tap on the canvas. You can also Undo your last action by tapping the back arrow button in the Widget Area at the top left of the interface. In Vectornator, you can undo your actions up to 10,000 times, even all the way back to the blank canvas that you started with; even after closing the document and re-opening it.

Redo | To Redo your last action, use three fingers to tap on the canvas. You can also Redo your last action by tapping the forward arrow button in the Widget Area at the top left of the interface.

Pro Tip - If you return to the Gallery or exit Vectornator, all Undo actions will be saved and will give you the possibility to export the Time-lapse video of your work from start to finish. This option is only available if you set the Undo History to Default. Read more here →

Tools Gestures

Resize Proportionally | While drawing or resizing objects, hold a second finger on the canvas in order to lock the aspect ratio of the path while you're changing it. You can easily draw perfect circles and squares using this method. Alternatively, you can lock the proportions of your shape by activating the lock button inside the Arrange Tab.

Snap to X, Y, or Z Axis | While rotating a shape or drawing a line, hold a second finger on the canvas to activate snapping to 45º or 90º degrees.

Set the Direction of Your Shape | While drawing a shape using the Polygon or the Star Tool, hold and drag from the top to bottom to have the spike of your shape at the top or vice-versa.

Enter Isolation Mode | Double-tap on grouped or masked objects to enter Isolation Mode and edit your grouped or masked objects.

Pen Tool Gestures

As explained in the Pen Tool Section, there are many different gestures you can use in Vectornator that will make your life easier when using the Pen Tool.

Finish a Path | When using the Pen Tool, double-tap on the End Node to finish the path and start a new one.
Alternatively you can tap the button in the Content-Aware Options.

Break Handles | Double tap on any selected anchor point to turn that node into a Single node type.

Change Bezier Node | When using the Pen Tool, hold and drag while adding a new point to cause the handles appear.

Change Node to Disconnected Type | While drawing a new line with the Pen Tool, hold a finger from your other hand onto the canvas to change the previous node into a Disconnected node type. A Disconnected node has handles which can move independently and change the direction and arc of the next curve.

Enable 45º Snapping on Both Handles | Hold two fingers from your other hand onto the canvas to enable 45º snapping on both of your node handles. If you're using a Mac, you can hold the ~key~ Shift ~key~ key to constrain the angle of the segment to a multiple of 45°.

Enable 45º Snapping on One Handle | Hold three fingers from your other hand onto the canvas to enable 45º snapping on only one handle. If you're using a Mac, you can hold the Option ~key~ ⌥ ~key~ key to achieve this same affect.

Star Tool Gestures

The Star Tool is a special tool you find in the Toolbar which allows you to create and edit pre-made stars.

Change the Direction of the Spikes | While drawing your star, hold and drag up and down to modify the direction of your star's spikes.

Change the Star Shape | While drawing your star, hold a second finger to edit the star's point radius by dragging your fingers.

Layers Gestures

There are also other gestures you can do inside the Inspector and the Layers Tab.

gestures iPad for layers

Change Value | Hold and Slide your finger directly on the Quick Actions menu or on the Sliders inside the Inspector to change their values fluidly.

Select a Layer | Swipe right along a layer's name to select more than one layer at once. An ❎ will appear after you've swiped it, indicating that it is selected.

Access Layer's Options | Swipe left along any layer's name to quickly access these options: Export, Duplicate, and Delete.

Apple Pencil Gestures

If you have an Apple Pencil, you'll have some special benefits that activate extra gestures.

Double Tap on the Apple Pencil | By default, this gesture will activate the last tool you previously used, but you can also reprogram this gesture; choosing between different options such as:

  • Double-tap once to activate the last used tool.
  • Double-tap once to undo your action.
  • Double-tap once to redo your action.
  • Double-tap once to delete your last item.

To change the effect of double-tapping on the canvas with your Apple Pencil, you can access these options through Settings > Input Tab > Apple Pencil.

With our 4.12.0 update, we have improved the recognition abilities of the Palm Rejection feature. The Palm Rejection feature will avoid unintended drawing, as it only recognizes the inputs of the pencil tip and not the fingers.

Gestures Video Recap

Pro Tip – You can use the iPad Multi-Tasking feature to keep using Vectornator while reading the guide.
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Learn how to create your next design by using this Vectornator sample document.

Keyboard Shortcuts on iPad

Vectornator Keyboard Shortcuts

The Vectornator Keyboard Shortcuts work seamlessly across all your devices, whether you are working on you iPad or Mac device.

When on iPad, you can use an external keyboard which lets you access all the shortcuts commands. You can access the list of the most common shortcuts by long pressing the ~key~ ⌘ ~key~ key.

Basic Canvas Shortcuts


~key~ ⌘0 ~key~ | Zoom to fit

~key~ / ~key~ | Show / Hide the Inspector Tab

~key~ ⌘W ~key~ | Close the document

~key~ ⌘E ~key~ | Export the document

~key~ ⌘T ~key~ | Export the Time-Lapse video

~key~ ⌘P ~key~ | Print the document


Tools Shortcuts

The Tools shortcut puts your favorite tools at your fingertips and allows you to easily switch between options in the Toolbar.


~key~V~key~  |  Selection

~key~A~key~  |  Direct Selection (Node Tool)

~key~C~key~  |  Scissor

~key~P~key~  |  Pen

~key~N~key~  |  Pencil (Freehand)

~key~B~key~  |  Brush

~key~T~key~  |  Text

~key~R~key~  |  Rectangle

~key~L~key~  |  Line

~key~O~key~  |  Circle

~key~E~key~  |  Eraser

~key~H~key~  |  Hand – Requires >iOS 13.4 and macOS system.

~key~⇧⌘P ~key~  |  Previous Tool

~key~↑ ↓~key~ | Nudge your shape


Pro Tip – To switch between different tools you can also use the double-tap function on your Apple Pencil with the option "Double-tap once to activate the last used Tool" activated.

Organizing Shapes Shortcuts

Use these shortcuts to organize the elements on your canvas.


~key~⌘ + G~key~ |  Group

~key~⇧⌘ + G~key~ | Ungroup


Move, Duplicate, Resize


~key~⇧R~key~  |  Rotation

~key~⇧S~key~  |  Scaling

~key~⇧ + drag~key~ | Move shape along the X or Y axis

~key~⌘D~key~  | Duplicate & transform again

~key~⌥ + drag~key~  |  Duplicate shape

~key~⇧ + resize~key~ | Resize keeping the aspect ratio

~key~⌥ + resize~key~ | Resize from the center


Learn More – Easily draw perfect circles and squares ➞

Editing Shapes Shortcuts

The following shortcuts apply when you’re editing multiple shapes together:


~key~⌘7~key~ |  Mask

~key~⇧⌘7~key~  |  Unmask

~key~⌃⇧C~key~ | Combine

~key~⌃⇧S~key~ | Separate

~key~⌃⇧R~key~ | Reverse

~key~⌃⇧J~key~ | Join Paths

~key~⌃⇧A~key~ | Add Anchor Points

~key~⌃⌘O~key~ | Outline

~key~⌃⌘T~key~ |Text on Path


Boolean Shortcuts

On iPad, you can easily use the Quick Actions menu to work with Boolean Operations, but if you prefer using a keyboard, you can use these shortcuts:


~key~⇧⌘+ ~key~  |  Unite

~key~⇧⌘- ~key~  |  Subtract

~key~⇧⌘E ~key~ | Exclude

~key~⇧⌘I ~key~ | Intersect

~key~⇧⌘\ ~key~ | Divide


Learn More If you're using Vectornator on your Mac, check out the Keyboard Shortcuts List on our Mac Learning Hub ➝
Download the PDF version here.
Last Updated on Mar 15, 2023
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