How to Combine Shapes in Adobe Illustrator

Want to combine shapes in Adobe Illustrator but have no clue where to start? Luckily, I can help you to better understand how you can combine shapes into each other using three different methods I’ve found to be best. 

My name is Aly, I have over five years of experience in Adobe Illustrator and am even Adobe Illustrator certified. In this article, I will show you how to combine shapes in Illustrator. 

Key Takeaways

  • This is quite helpful for creating logos if you need to combine numerous generic shapes to create a special shape. It is helpful when putting together a design to deliver to a client or printer.
  • Using the Shape Builder, Pathfinder, and Group tools, we will merge shapes.
  • Make sure you align the shapes. 

Method 1: Combine Shapes with the Shape Builder Tool

It is quick and simple. Basically, connecting the shapes you make is as simple as clicking and dragging. Additionally, a lot of designers utilize this application to make icons and logos.

Step 1: Have your document open with your shapes set up and ready to be merged. Now we will align the objects after selecting them. Objects should be aligned to be on the same line. You can do this by selecting all the shapes you want to merge (Hold Shift > Click on objects) 

Once you’ve selected your objects in the right-hand side menu you will see an Align panel. If you don’t see align you can go up to Window > Align to have the box pop up. 

Step 2: To align your objects on the same line have them selected and then click on the Vertical Align Center option as shown in my example image below. 

Step 3: Now you will need to view in outline mode go to View > Outline. It assists in making sure the graphic surface is smooth and prevents missing points. The keyboard shortcut for this is Command + Y. Your objects should now look like the image below, with no colors. 

If you need to go back to see colors, just hit Command + Y again. 

Step 4: Adjust the placement of the objects. There should be no space between lines and points.

Step 5: Select your objects again, press the shortcut Shift + M, or select Shape Builder Tool. You can combine shapes by clicking and dragging them together.

And now your objects should be combined Now just hit Command + Y to bring back the color and get out of outline mode and you’re done! Keep in mind that you must choose both shapes in order to construct the final shape.

Method 2: Combining Objects using the Pathfinder Tool 

When an object is chosen, the Pathfinder tools are displayed in the Properties panel rather than on the toolbar.

Step 1: You will need to find the Pathfinder Tools, and you can do that by going up to Window > Pathfinder to open the Pathfinder panel. 

Step 2: Select all your objects as we did in the method above. Once they are selected, you will want to click on the Divide option in the Pathfinder Tools. 

Step 3: To alter or reposition the previously separated shapes, ungroup them. Do this by going to the top menu and choosing Object > Ungroup.

You can now move, or delete the parts you don’t want! It’s that simple!

Method 3: Grouping Shapes to Combine

Use grouping to combine the shapes into one. 

Step 1: Select and align your objects as we did in the past two methods. 

Step 2: Now we will group the objects, do this by going to Object > Group.

If you want to change the color of an object  Simply double-click on the area you want to edit in a grouped object to bring up a new layer that lets you change the color of that component.

To ungroup, either right-click on the mouse and choose Ungroup, or press Command + Shift + G on the keyboard.

And that’s it! It really is pretty simple!

Final Thoughts

To complete the final design, you usually need to combine the usage of several various tools. But you’ll eventually get the hang of it. You’ve now mastered the art of combining shapes.

Beginning Illustrator users may find it difficult to combine shapes. You may quickly produce stunning drawings and designs now that you know how to crop, group, split, and mix forms.

Any questions about combining shapes in Adobe Illustrator? Leave a comment and let me know.

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