Creating Shapes

The Pagemaker toolbar contains rectangle, ellipse, and polygon buttons that you can use to create shapes but there is a bit more too it than just selecting the appropriate button and then click and drag to draw one of the three shapes.

the Frame tools on the Pagemaker Toolbar

If you hold down the shift key while you drag then your image will grow evenly in both the horizontal and vertical directions. This allows you to draw squares using the rectangle tool, circles using the ellipse tool, and makes perfectly regular polygons using the polygon tool.

You can also create rectangles and squares with rounded corners. Simply double click on the rectangle tool and select which of six different rounded corner options that you wish to use.

the rounded corners dialog

If you double click on the polygon tool you will open the polygon settings dialog which allows you to select how many sides your polygon will have. You can also use the polygon tool to create stars by setting the centre of each side of the polygon inwards and the dialog also allows you to set the distance that you want to set the sides in by when you create stars.

the polygon settings dialog

Also when using the polygon tool you also have the option of manually defining each point on your polygon. Instead of clicking and dragging to define the polygon automatically you can instead just click each point to create an irregular polygon of any shape you want.

The ellipse tool doesn't have any extra options like the rectangle and polygon tools do so double clicking on that tool opens the fill and stroke dialog allowing you to define the fill and stroke to be used foy your ellipse. You can open the same dialog for any of the shape tools by selecting Fill and Stroke from the Element menu.

Using the options available with each of these tools allows you to draw a variety of shapes. You can easily resize any shape once drawn by clicking on the shape and then dragging one of the handles that appears. If you hold down the shift key while resizing you can enlarge or reduce the shapes size without distorting its appearance. You can also move shapes by clicking on the shape and then dragging it to its new location. You can create quite complex images just using the shape tools by drawing a number of shapes and dragging them all over the top of one another and then selecting Group from the Element menu to convert them into a single image. The following image consists of four rectangles (two with slightly rounded corners) and a three sided polygon (ie. a triangle) and only took a few seconds to create.

simple example image

You should be able to use the shape tools in Pagemaker to create far more sophisticated images than this without the need for a separate graphics program.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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