The “Eraser” tool in Adobe Illustrator is ideal for cutting shapes into varying sizes or erasing specific areas of objects. The Eraser tool can be located on the toolbar in the same menu as the “Knife” and “Scissors” tools.
My name is Aly, I am a graphic designer with over five years of experience in Adobe Illustrator. You can use the Eraser Tool to divide shapes or remove part of a shape.
In today’s article, I will show you how the Eraser Tool works in Adobe Illustrator and a quick guide on its setting options.
- The keyboard shortcut for the Eraser tool in Illustrator is Shift + E.
- You can use the bracket keys to change the size of your eraser (same keyboard shortcut to change brush size).
- You need to outline the text first if you want to use the Eraser Tool on the text.
- The Eraser Tool doesn’t work on raster images.
How to Use the Eraser Tool in Adobe Illustrator
In this section, you will learn the basics of the Eraser Tool in Adobe Illustrator. Using the Eraser Tool is easy. The confusing part might be how to configure the settings.
To use the Eraser Tool, all you need to do is make sure the Eraser Tool (keyboard shortcut Shift + E) is selected, choose the object, and then click and drag your mouse across the desired area to erase it.
Or better said, it will divide the shape into different parts.
If you want to change the eraser size, press the [ (left bracket key) to make your eraser smaller, and the ] (right bracket key) to make the eraser bigger.
If you want to change other settings, you can open the Eraser Tool settings window. Simply double-click the Eraser Tool on the toolbar. From here you can also change the eraser size, along with the angle of the eraser and its roundness. The Eraser Tool’s angle is determined by the Angle setting.
The Eraser Tool in Illustrator has a form that is determined by the Roundness parameter. To achieve a completely rounded eraser, set it to 100%. A flatter eraser will be created if you enter a number that is less than 100%.
Next to the angle, size and roundness are the variables for each of them.
- Fixed defines a constant angle, roundness, or size.
- Random means that the angle, roundness, or size can vary. For example, if you set the Size value to 10 and the Variation value to 5, the diameter of your eraser will vary randomly between 5 and 15 points.
- Pressure adjust the angle, roundness, or size of the drawing stylus based on its pressure. This function is only available if you have a graphic tablet connected.
- Stylus Wheel option uses the stylus wheel to set a varied angle, roundness, or size. This function is designed to be used together with an airbrush pen that has a stylus wheel on the barrel and a tablet that can detect that pen.
If you’re connected to a graphic tablet, you can use choose Tilt, as it adjusts the angle, roundness, or size of a drawing stylus based on its tilt.
- Bearing only works if you have a tablet that can detect which way the pen is angled. You can change the angle, roundness, or size of the pen depending on its bearing.
- Rotation changes the angle, roundness, or size of the sketching stylus pen tip dependent on how it is turned. This function is only available if you have a tablet capable of detecting this sort of rotation.
As you can see, some of the options only work when you connect to a graphic tablet, so if you see some options greyed out, the reason is that you’re not using a graphic tablet.
Can’t Use the Eraser in Adobe Illustrator?
If you’re trying to erase live text or an image, it’s not going to work. The Eraser Tool in Illustrator only edits vectors, so when you try to erase a raster image, nothing happens.
You can use the eraser to edit text, but first of all, you need to create a text outline. Simply select the text, and use the keyboard shortcut Command/Ctrl + Shift + O to outline the text or you can right click and choose Create Outlines.
When you convert the live text into a shape, you can erase it using the method above.
The Eraser Tool is useful for dividing objects into separate parts and removing parts of a shape. Keep in mind that it doesn’t work on raster images and live text. If you really want to eraser an image, you should vectorize it first, and if you want to use the tool to edit text, create a text outline first.
Any questions about the eraser tool in Adobe Illustrator? Leave a comment and let me know.