This page shows how to construct a perpendicular to a line through an external point, using only a compass and straightedge or ruler. It works by creating a line segment on the given line, then bisecting it. The bisector will be a right angles to the given line. (See proof below).

The above animation is available as a printable step-by-step instruction sheet, which can be used for making handouts or when a computer is not available.

The image below is the final drawing above with the red lines added.

Argument | Reason | |
---|---|---|

1 | Segment RP is congruent to RQ | They were both drawn with the same compass width |

2 | Segment SQ is congruent SP | They were both drawn with the same compass width |

3 | Triangle RQS is congruent to triangle RPS | Three sides congruent (sss), RS is common to both. |

4 | Angle JRQ is congruent to JRP | CPCTC. Corresponding parts of congruent triangles are congruent. |

5 | Triangle RJQ is congruent to triangle RJP | Two sides and included angle congruent (SAS), RJ is common to both. |

6 | Angle RJP and RJQ are congruent | CPCTC. Corresponding parts of congruent triangles are congruent. |

7 | Angle RJP and RJQ are 90° | They are congruent and supplementary (add to 180°). |

- Q.E.D

- Introduction to constructions
- Copy a line segment
- Sum of n line segments
- Difference of two line segments
- Perpendicular bisector of a line segment
- Perpendicular at a point on a line
- Perpendicular from a line through a point
- Perpendicular from endpoint of a ray
- Divide a segment into n equal parts
- Parallel line through a point (angle copy)
- Parallel line through a point (rhombus)
- Parallel line through a point (translation)

- Bisecting an angle
- Copy an angle
- Construct a 30° angle
- Construct a 45° angle
- Construct a 60° angle
- Construct a 90° angle (right angle)
- Sum of n angles
- Difference of two angles
- Supplementary angle
- Complementary angle
- Constructing 75° 105° 120° 135° 150° angles and more

- Copy a triangle
- Isosceles triangle, given base and side
- Isosceles triangle, given base and altitude
- Isosceles triangle, given leg and apex angle
- Equilateral triangle
- 30-60-90 triangle, given the hypotenuse
- Triangle, given 3 sides (sss)
- Triangle, given one side and adjacent angles (asa)
- Triangle, given two angles and non-included side (aas)
- Triangle, given two sides and included angle (sas)
- Triangle medians
- Triangle midsegment
- Triangle altitude
- Triangle altitude (outside case)

- Right Triangle, given one leg and hypotenuse (HL)
- Right Triangle, given both legs (LL)
- Right Triangle, given hypotenuse and one angle (HA)
- Right Triangle, given one leg and one angle (LA)

- Finding the center of a circle
- Circle given 3 points
- Tangent at a point on the circle
- Tangents through an external point
- Tangents to two circles (external)
- Tangents to two circles (internal)
- Incircle of a triangle
- Focus points of a given ellipse
- Circumcircle of a triangle

- Square given one side
- Square inscribed in a circle
- Hexagon given one side
- Hexagon inscribed in a given circle
- Pentagon inscribed in a given circle

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