Illustrator question - cutting

Hi. I am on my way to becoming an Illustrator Ninja. I am, alas, still at the base of the mountain. But I am climbing.

I searched but couldn’t find an answer to this specific question:

Comming from Photoshop, what I want to do seems easy to me in raster, but I have no idea how to do it in vector. I have a large drawing. This is just a piece of it. I want to quickly crop sections of it off. What you see in the orange boxes, I would love to just cut off there. In essence, I want the box to act as a cutting tool. Is there a way to do this where it just cauterizes the paths that get cut? I want it to go though a whole series of layers and paths and shapes. THANKS!




Put a guide down to mark your selection box and then use the direct selection tool to drag a square, selecting the area to delete. The caveat would be it would probably not be accurate unless you had anchor points at all of those intersections.

I would buy (or demo) the RjGrafix cutting tool plugin. Lay guides. Use the table saw to cut the lines. And then direct selection tool, or their vacuum tool, to delete the stray/unneeded lines.


Thanks. I installed that on Illustrator CC 2018 but i do not see any extensions. I am googling around and I am purplexed.

This helped me…

Beginning with CS6, all plugin interfaces can be found among the native Illustrator tools, menus, and palettes. Please read the short Read-me file that comes with each plugin to see where the interface items are. If it’s not where the doc says it should be, please contact rj-graffix support.

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@dwardio is correct. But, then once I put it where they said, I couldn’t find it in Illustrator. At the bottom of your tool icons on the left. Probably just above the fill/stroke color will be a new icon. Saw blade, hatchet, saber saw, or vacuum. Click on that and put in your license number. I’ve found that the hatchet is fantastic too. Hold down on the icon to select other tools. And, it can be installed on I think two machines that you use with the one license.




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“I love it when a plan [post] comes together!”

FYI - they released an update to the plugin that includes a new menu item (Object > Path > Fence Cut)

The release notes say:

Select a path object, either open or closed, then select Fence Cut from the Object menu. All paths below the selected path will be cut where they intersect the selected “fence” path. In the plugin’s Preferences, you can choose whether the selected (Cut) path will be deleted, preserved, or cut.

A simple example would be creating a star, and then overlaying a simple pentagon over the top (notice the layer order - the star is on the bottom and the pentagon, which is our fence, is on top)

Go to Object > Path > Fence Cut

And voila (notice the layers palette - it cut the star at every intersecting point with the fence)

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I would do this with built-in pathfinder tools by putting a big filled shape on top of the area to cut and using the subtract pathfinder. Gotchas include:

  • Works for closed or compound shapes but not just stray paths
  • If the thing you’re cutting is grouped, it will do stupid things

The second one is usually the culprit when it misbehaves. Ungroup before applying pathfinders.

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