The definitive guide to rounding corners in InDesign CC 2015

Over the last two weeks, a 2010 post of mine on rounding corners has suddenly become very popular.* I wrote it for CS4 and posted an updated version for CS5. But I wanted to revisit the tip and update it for Creative Cloud 2015.

The process for rounding corners is actually more complicated than I expected and is different depending on what shape you are working with.

 

Rounding corners on a square or rectangle

Rounding the corners** on a rectangle is straightforward and there are actually a couple of ways to do it.

The yellow box method: When you click on a rectangle with the selection tool, a yellow box appears near the upper right hand corner. Click the yellow box and diamonds appear at the corners. Drag the corners inward to round the corners equally.

To round only one corner, click the yellow box and then, while holding down shift, click and drag on the corner you want to modify.

 (1) Click the yellow box in the upper right hand corner to edit the corners. (2) Drag the diamonds to change the amount of the corner effect. (3) Hold the shift Key to change only one corner.

(1) Click the yellow box in the upper right hand corner to edit the corners. (2) Drag the diamonds to change the amount of the corner effect. (3) Hold the shift Key to change only one corner.

The dialog box method: If you prefer a little more precision, you can go to Object > Corner Options… and set the rounded corner to a specific value. And it’s easy to round one corner.

 Set the amount and style of your corner effects with the corner options dialog box. Uncheck the chain icon to set corners independently.

Set the amount and style of your corner effects with the corner options dialog box. Uncheck the chain icon to set corners independently.

The control palette method: You can set a rounded corner value for all four corners in the control palette.

The corner controls are easy to find... It's the only icon in the Control Palette with blue dots.

 
 

Rounding all corners on polygons that are not squares or rectangles

So rounding corners on rectangles is easy, but what if you don’t have a rectangle. It’s still easy, but different.

The yellow box method: Doesn't work. The yellow box appears only for rectangles. Triangle, trapezoid, hexagon… no yellow box.

The dialog box method: Works just like it does for the rectangle with one, major exception. You can’t round individual corners.  All of the corners have to be exactly the same.

 Try to change the corner size or shape on a shape other than a rectangle and all but one input field is faded out.

Try to change the corner size or shape on a shape other than a rectangle and all but one input field is faded out.

The control palette method: Exactly the same as the rectangle method, with no control over individual corners.

 

Rounding individual corners on a polygon

So let’s say I want to round selected corners on any polygon. None of the normal methods will work, but thankfully, Adobe provides a script for this.

The scripting panel (Window > Utilities > Scripts) contains an Application folder with sample scripts in Applescript and Javascript. Select the “CornerEffects.applescript” or “CornerEffects.jsx.”

The top part of the dialog box essentially provides the same options as the “Corner Options” dialog box. And the offset box allows you to adjust the size of the corner. The Pattern combo box defaults to “all points,” but take a look at the options available: first point, last point, second point, third point, odd points, even points and more…

When applied to a box, it gives you the ability to round or bevel selected corners. Sometimes, it takes a little trial and error to figure out which point the “first” point is. The first point usually seems to be point in the upper left and then selection moves counterclockwise. 

 Pretty much the only way to make these shapes in InDesign is with the Corner Effects Script.

Pretty much the only way to make these shapes in InDesign is with the Corner Effects Script.

You can also use the odd and even points patterns on a star shape. “Odd points” effect the inside points. “Even points” modify the outside points.

That should help you round any corner you need. As an aside, Adobe Illustrator has a completely different and superior corner rounding process. Personally, I hope that Adobe adopts the Illustrator method in InDesign.

Every Wednesday, I post a tip for an Adobe app.


* Google works in mysterious ways.

** You can do more than just round corners. You can bevel them or create several different effects. But most people just want to round them.