How to Create Shapes from Multiple Paths in Adobe Illustrator

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In Brief...

Illustrator provides tools and commands for merging multiple paths together. In this tutorial, we'll look at ways of combining open paths using the Join command.

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Instructions

  1. Here are three lines, with gaps between each, that I want to connect.
    Three Lines
  2. First, I'll choose the Direct Selection Tool.
    Direct Selection Tool
  3. Joins are applied to anchor points. I'll click on the anchor point at the end of one line, then Shift-click on the anchor point at the end of another line.
    Anchor Points Selected
  4. To connect them, I'll go to Object > Path > Join
    Object Menu
  5. I'll repeat to join the other side of the horizontal line to the vertical line to the right, and here's the result. You can see that because there was space between the lines, new line segments were created.
    Three Lines Joined
  6. If the anchor points of two paths are directly on top each other, the anchor points will be merged into one point. The easiest way to select the overlapping anchor points is draw a marquee around them with the Direct Selection Tool.
    Select Anchor Points
  7. There are shortcuts for the Join command. You can either right-click on the selected anchor points and choose Join, or use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl-J.
    Right-click to Join

Author: Kate Cahill

Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her classes. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint, to produce a fully developed and cohesive brand identity.

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