Illustrator Cutting (stupid) Question

Okay. So I’m just not an Illustrator guy. So I’m hoping somebody can pity me and tell me how to do this seemingly-simple thing…

Let’s say I have a circle. And I want to cut, say, a 2-point line through it. Breaking the circle into two halves. O to (), basically.

Hope I described that well. I tried the knife but I’ve never used that tool before and it drew 2 blue lines on the screen but I didn’t understand what was happening. Anyway, my Googling lead me to the knife, but that didn’t get me what I wanted (as far as I can tell).

Hoping somebody can throw me a bone here. :slight_smile:

Try the scissors tool instead of the knife. (Same place as the eraser tool in the flyout.) Two cuts on opposite nodes, move one half out of the way, and then join the two open endpoints. :slightly_smiling_face:

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THANKS! I might be understanding how to use the tool. But I’m at work and remoting into my home machine to try it. Might be easier when I’m actually in front it. I’ll play with it again when I’m home Thursday night.

Throw out the knife, it’s pretty useless.

If you have a recent version of Illustrator you can use the new-ish Shape Builder tool.
1 - draw circle (L key)
2 - draw line for cut (/ key, it can overlap - no need to have ends exactly on circle)
3 - select both shapes
4 - switch to Shape Builder tool ( shift + M) and holding down ALT click over half the circle to remove it.
5 - duplicate and rotate your remaining half.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to erase half then duplicate or you have older an older version of Illustrator, you can use Live Paint instead.
Follow steps 1-3 above
4 - switch to Live Paint tool (K)
5 - click anywhere on your shapes
6 - hit the “expand” button at the top of the screen
7 - ungroup (ctrl +shift+G)
You should now have two half circles and a line, enjoy!

More info on Shape Builder here (scroll past Shaper, different tool)


Oh, I really appreciate that answer, but I don’t think it’ll work for me here. I’m taking an existing object and cutting it. In this case, it’s text that’s been expanded. So I’m taking the letter “e” and cutting a line in the uh… it probably has a name… the closed part to make it open (like a stencil-type font). Like this…

Either method I gave you will do exactly that if you replace the line with a box (sized/shape the part you want to remove). I do it all the time to make custom stencil fonts. :smiley:


Oh, great! I’ll give that a shot, too, then! :slight_smile:
Thanks, again!

Sorry, fat thumbs, accidentally posted reply incompletely!

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Note for your use: method 1 will save you a step as it deletes as you go. Method two you’ll have to delete out the bits you don’t like manually after “ungroup”.

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I’ll play with both. As well as @Jules’ advice.


You could also use the pathfinder tools:
Make a thin rectangle, place it on top of the expanded outline of the “e” where you want your cuts, and with both selected use the “minus front” operation.
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That was my very first thought on it! I tried exactly that at one point and it didn’t do that for me! Instead it seemed to delete the entire “e.” It might have had to do with the letters being on top of another object layer. Not sure. I just figured I was on the wrong path. (Pun unintentional this time!) So I moved onto other ways to try and do it.

Hmm. Pathfinder can act wonky for all sorts of reasons.

Eraser tool, using shift-click to lock the line perpendicular?

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One thing I did learn (from Dan) is that you don’t want any grouping of items that you use Pathfinder on–it can lead to unexpected results. So you might check for groups.

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When you use Create Outlines on a block of text, a group is created, with the first letter on the bottom of the stack. Trying to use Minus Front will make all the letters after the first one disappear. Ungrouping or double clicking into the group will let you work on one letter at a time.

Divide is another pathfinder option that would work for this, and may be less cranky about where it is being deployed. It does make more work, as you would Divide, Ungroup, delete the bits you don’t want, select all the bits that you cut up that you do still want, and Unite again.

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Huh! Son of a taco… I just did it again and it did give an open “e”. (I know I didn’t make up those results the first time - wonder what I did differently?)

Never mind. Deleted that because it could be confusing.

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Hiding the evidence of your foray into a parallel universe? :slight_smile: The screenshots looked undoctored to me when they were up :wink:

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No I’m just trying to keep from:

a: Confusing the hell out of everyone, and
b: Looking like more of an idiot than I already do. :smile:

My suggestion is similar to the ‘e’ example.

Draw a 2 point wide rectangle where you want to cut the object.
Make sure the rectangle is on top.
Object -> Path -> Divide Objects Below

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I’m pretty sure that’s what I’d say if I were an :alien: or someone with access to parallel universes :wink: I’m sure it’s in the secret handbook :grinning:

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