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How to Cut, Divide and Trim Objects in Illustrator

Posted on 19th November 2016
Ensure that your file has been downloaded and unzipped to use.

1- Open your file. For this tutorial, I will use basic shapes to clearly show how the cut, divide and trim functions work. So, I have opened a new blank file.


2- I now draw a circle as my first shape using the shape tool.


3- I now create a second shape with the shape tool.


4- With the selection tool drag one shape over the second shape.


5- Click on the window option in the top toolbar, then in the dropdown box select pathfinder and ensure it is ticked. The pathfinder palette will appear on your workspace.



6- Ensure both shapes are selected. Click on the first icon at the bottom of the pathfinder palette. This is the Divide shape tool. It will split your 2 overlapping object into all the separate pieces.



7- Take both objects and overlap them. Select both with the selection tool.


8- Select the trim tool. this is the 2nd icon on the bottom of the pathfinder palette. You will see that with the trim tool it will the top shape out of the bottom shape. so in this case the square was the top layer so it cut the corner out of the circle. if the circle had have been the top layer it would have cut the circle curved shape from the rectangle.


CUTTING AN OBJECT (Using the knife tool)

9-Select the knife tool on the toolbar. you will find it if you right click on the eraser tool.


10- Draw a line where you would like to cut your object. If you would like a straight line hold Alt while you draw your cut line. this will keep the line straight.
Make sure you cut the whole way through your object so the cut line goes over both edges of your object.


11- When you have finished drawing your line with the knife tool simply select the selection tool at the top and you can separate your now split object.


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