How to Cut in Illustrator

by Joshua Mcgee
Cut paths in Adobe Illustrator using the knife, scissors or pathfinder tool.

Cut paths in Adobe Illustrator using the knife, scissors or pathfinder tool.

When drawing in Adobe Illustrator, it is often necessary to cut a line segment or divide a path to create or a correct your design. Illustrator provides many tools to accomplish this; however, determining which tools to use can be challenging. You can cut a freehand path with the knife tool, cut a line segment with the scissors or use a cookie-cutter shape with the pathfinder panel. Using one of these cutting tools can yield some interesting artwork.

Knife Tool

1

Select the object that you want to cut.

2

Select the "Knife" tool.

3

Draw a freehand path on the shape where you want to cut. Illustrator will divide the shape according to the cut path.

Scissors Tool

1

Select the object that you want to cut.

2

Select the "Scissors" tool.

3

Click on a line segment to split the line.

Pathfinder Effects

1

Draw a shape on top of the path that you want to cut.

2

Click the "Window" menu and select "Pathfinder" finder to open the pathfinder panel.

3

Select the "Selection" tool. Hold down the "Shift" key and select both shapes.

4

Click the "Minus Front" icon or the "Trim" icon. The bottom shape is cut based on the top shape; "Minus Front" removes the top shape and "Trim" leaves the top shape on top of the cut portion.

About the Author

Josh McGee graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor's degree in English, professional and technical communication, and a minor in marketing. He has worked as a technical writer and illustrator for two large manufacturing companies, ICON Health and Fitness and Cover-Pools Incorporated. He is currently employed full-time for the latter.

Photo Credits

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