How to Join Line Ends to Lines on Illustrator in Adobe

By Elizabeth Mott

Joining the output of the Line Segment tool can produce stair-stepped imagery.
i Jupiterimages/ Images

Adobe Illustrator's Line Segment and Pen tools create vector paths, but their overlapping capabilities also differ. The Line Segment tool draws straight lines at any angle. The Pen tool enables you to draw closed or open shapes comprised of curves or straight lines. Both tools can be essential when you're designing logos, informational graphics or illustrations for your company's projects. To combine the output of the Line Segment and Pen tools, you'll need to join the open ends of your paths to form a larger shape. How you do this depends on whether the ends of your paths overlap.

Pen Tool

Press the "\," or backslash, key to activate the Line Segment tool. If one of the other tools with which it's nested in the Adobe Illustrator toolbox -- Arc, Spiral, Rectangular Grid and Polar Grid -- appears instead, click and hold on the tool location to reveal a flyout menu of tool choices.

Click and drag to draw a single line segment. As its name suggests, the Line Segment tool only draws individual, unconnected lines that constitute open paths. Click and drag again to draw a second line segment.

Press "P" to switch to the Pen tool. Place your cursor over the anchor point at one end of one of the line segments you drew. When you see a "/," or forward slash, to the right of your cursor, click to begin the joining process.

Position your cursor over an end point on the other line segment. When you see a downward-pointing arrow to the right of your cursor, click to merge the two lines, or click and drag in the direction you want the connecting line to curve.

Control Panel

Press the "\," or backslash, key to activate the Line Segment tool. Click and drag to draw a straight line on your artboard. Draw a second line segment.

Press "A" to switch to the Direct Selection Tool. Hold down the "Shift" key and click on the end points you want to join, or marquee around them to select them.

Open the "Window" menu and choose "Control" to reveal the Control panel if it's not already visible. Click on its unlabeled Connect Selected End Points button, which displays an icon that looks like an arc with a selected anchor point on each end. Adobe Illustrator connects your line segments with a straight line.

Keyboard or Menu

Activate the Line Segment tool from the keyboard by pressing the "\," or backslash, key. Click and drag to draw a straight line on your artboard. Add another line segment to your drawing.

Press "A" to activate the Direct Selection Tool. Marquee around or shift-click on the anchor points you want to join.

Press "Ctrl-J" to join the selected anchor points, or open the "Object" menu, locate its "Path" submenu and choose "Join." Adobe Illustrator adds a path segment to connect points that lie at a distance apart or simply joins them into one anchor point if the original anchor points overlap.


Joined paths take on the appearance attributes of the topmost path, based on the stacking order of objects on an individual layer or the differing layers on which you've drawn your items. If the individual objects fall on different layers, the merged object lands on the topmost layer that contained one of the original objects.

Use the Direct Selection tool to manipulate the position of anchor points and move the ends of open paths so they overlap.

Press "Ctrl-U" or open the "View" menu and choose "Smart Guides" to turn on the Adobe Illustrator feature that gives you feedback when you move anchor points and reshape objects. You'll see the word "Anchor" appear at your cursor when you move one anchor point on top of another.


You can't join more than two anchor points together.

Information in this article applies to Adobe Illustrator CS6. It may differ slightly or significantly with other versions.