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Tracing with the auto trace tool

    The auto trace tool traces any image shape automatically. With this tool, you can click the edge of a shape you want to trace, and Illustrator draws the entire outline of the shape. You can use the auto trace tool to trace lines as well as shapes. When you use the auto trace tool to trace a line, it travels all the way around the line and comes back to where you clicked, forming a closed path.

    The auto trace tool is especially suited to tracing simple shapes and lines. For the best results when tracing artwork, trace simpler shapes with the auto trace tool and draw more complex shapes with either the pencil tool or the pen tool. You can also use a dedicated tracing program such as Adobe Streamline.

To trace a bitmap image shape:

  1. Open the file that contains the bitmap image you want to trace.
  2. Select the auto trace tool  the auto trace tool .
  3. Position the cross hair on the object you want to trace. You must position the cross hair within 6 pixels of the edge of a bitmap shape. The auto trace tool is guided by the boundary between differently shaded areas.
  4. Do one of the following:
    • To trace the entire object, click the object. Illustrator draws the path, beginning where you clicked, and follows the shape, keeping the shape on its right.

    The path may be drawn clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on where you click and on the shape of the path.

    • To trace part of the object, drag the pointer from the place on the bitmap shape where you want the path to start to the place where you want the path to end. When tracing only part of an image, you must start and stop dragging within 2 pixels of the edge of the shape.
    • To connect a new auto trace path to an existing auto trace path, start dragging at the anchor point where you want the paths to connect.

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