There's no one-step solution for this natively. One method would be to turn on Smart Guides, drag out a vertical and horizontal guide, snapping to the original handle, extend both with the convert anchor point tool, and reposition the first handle, snapping to the guide intersection.Then you'll need to unlock the guides and delete them.
However, if you're willing to use a third-party plug-in, the PathScribe tool (part of the VectorScribe plug-in) can extend a single handle without altering the first.
But even better, it has a command "Remove redundant points," which automatically merges the two one-handled points into a single two-handled point -- saving you from having to manually fiddle with the handles at all.
Thanks for the responses guys! Unless someone comes along with a completely native Illustrator solution I think the Pathscribe tool is what I'm looking for. The unify command in that other post sounds like just the thing for the randomd weirdness Illustrator does when you convert text to outlines etc. and I'll probably mostly use that method for the overlapping points that are created in those case. I would say close to 50% of the time though I need to add a handle to a point that isn't overlapping like where a letter shape curves on one side but is straigh on the other. I guess a good example of that would maybe tip of the "v" shape in stylized or script fonts, they often have a straigh side and curved side. Sometimes it's also me because I'll go with a more straight line concept for a portion of the letter shapes and then change my mind back again, by which time I have removed some of the handles that I want to put back. It sounds like VectorScribe will do exactly what I want the way I want it and save me a lot of time having to zoom way in to get the fine control I need to restore the paths orginial curve.
All in all a pretty solid solution between the two. I'll have to pick up VectorScribe and will use unify where applicable. I don't understand though why this isn't something that Adobe hasn't made a native provisioin for? Seems there would be many times while making a design that you might want to change your mind without having to completely redraw the entirety of a curve, especially if you're doing an illustration from scratch. I thought there had to be a native solution and I was just somehow missing it completely... maybe they don't want to step on the 3rd party vendor's toes who have made plug-ins to deal with this sort of thing? Illustrator has been around a looong time now, seems like they would have come across this more than a few times... maybe I'm just not creating illustrations using the "proper" methods.
I thought there had to be a native solution and I was just somehow missing it completely... maybe they don't want to step on the 3rd party vendor's toes who have made plug-ins to deal with this sort of thing? Illustrator has been around a looong time now, seems like they would have come across this more than a few times...
Users certainly have come across these sorts of issues, and pleaded with Adobe (both in this forum and elsewhere) to improve and modernize the core functionality instead of just adding new features -- but in most cases, version after version has come and gone without much change, even if small, easy changes are being asked for. Take the pen tool, for example -- 15 versions in, and toggling Smart Guides still breaks the current path you're drawing!
I doubt Adobe would have any qualms about developing their own native solutions if they saw fit -- more likely it's just a business decision involving resource allocation and revenue projections and all of that.
Which is a shame, but at least we have scripts and third-party developers to step up to the plate and fill in some of the gaps.
Yeah I see what you mean... I agree I think all told I would rather pay for a version of the Design Suite that goes back and attempts to streamline and and fix things rather than add new features. It would be more useful to me as there are already so many things that Illustrator and Photoshop can do, I would rather take a time out on the features path and revisit areas where the user experience is slowed down or even gut some things and start from scratch if it makes sense to have a newer approach. I know in Photoshop in particular that I would love it if there was a new way to redo the engine to allow for layer states like color burn and overlay etc to work with transparency if you want those layers to be independent from the background. I know it's a math issue at the heart and needs that background layer to base the calculations off of and that isn't going to change, but if they could come up with some UI genius so that Photoshop could offer some options to the user when using transparency in these modes I would gladly pay for a whole new version for that alone!
I mainly just wanted to post back and say that I really like the Vector Scribe tool! It can do some pretty nifty tricks besides the one already stated earlier. I have been trying to do some of these things for quite awhile now (in particular dragging path sections and having it maintain the curve), only to realize that Illustrator wasn't going to work that way. Great find! It's already saving me time on the current project I'm working on and will make some other projects I had coming up all the easier. I will definitely be buying it. Thanks again!