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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Illustrator

How to Combine Paths in Illustrator

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Read Time: 4 min

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to combine paths in Illustrator, how to merge paths in Illustrator, and how to combine objects in Illustrator.

Once you learn how to combine paths in Illustrator, you can head over to Envato Elements where you can get unlimited downloads of stock videos, music, graphics, photos, fonts and many more. This set of abstract signs is just one of the many examples that might inspire you to combine paths in Illustrator and create your own intricate shapes.

abstract signsabstract signsabstract signs

What You'll Learn in This Illustrator Tutorial

  • How to combine paths in Illustrator
  • How to join lines in Illustrator
  • How to merge paths in Illustrator
  • How to combine multiple paths in Illustrator
  • How to combine objects in Illustrator

1. How to Combine Paths in Illustrator

First, let's see how you can combine paths in Illustrator.

Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) from your toolbar and use it to select the two anchor points that you wish to join. Click the first one and then hold down the Shift key as you click the second one to add it to your selection.

Now that your anchor points are selected, go to Object > Path > Join or press Control-J.

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Alternatively, you can use the Selection Tool (V) to select two paths that need to be combined.

Obviously, the Control-J keyboard shortcut is the quickest method, so try to memorize this shortcut and use it whenever you need to combine paths in Illustrator.

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2. How to Join Lines in Illustrator

Step 1

Now that you've understood the basics, let's further explore this technique as you learn how to combine two paths in Illustrator.

Let's say that you have two paths that do not share the same appearance. If you choose to combine these two paths, the resulting path will keep the appearance of the top path in the Layers panel.

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Step 2

Let's say that you want to join two overlapping anchor points. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select both of these points, press Control-J to join the points, and Illustrator will also remove one of those points.

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Step 3

When needed, there's an easier method that you can use to bring together two anchor points from separate paths.

Select the two anchor points and go to Object > Path > Average (Alt-Control-J). Just check Both and click OK.

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3. How to Combine Multiple Paths in Illustrator

Using the Control-J keyboard shortcut, you can quickly combine multiple paths in Illustrator.

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4. How to Merge Paths in Illustrator

Besides combining, you can also merge paths in Illustrator. Select your paths and go to Object > Compound Path > Make or use the Control-8 keyboard shortcut.

This will merge your selected paths into a single compound path. If your paths do not share the same appearance the resulting compound path will keep the appearance of the bottom path (in the Layers panel).

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5. How to Combine Objects in Illustrator

Step 1

Let's see how you can combine two shapes in Illustrator.

Select your two shapes, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder), and simply click the Unite button. The topmost shape in the Layers panel dictates the appearance of your resulting shape.

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This technique is not limited to two shapes, so feel free to combine as many objects as you wish.

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Step 2

Alternatively, you can use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) to combine objects in Illustrator.

Select your shapes and simply click and drag across the shapes that you wish to combine. Before you click and drag, have a look at the fill color from your toolbar, and keep in mind that it will be used for the merged shape.

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Step 3

As with the paths, shapes can also be turned into compound paths. Simply select your shapes and press Control-8 or go to Object > Compound Path > Make.

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Congratulations! You're Done!

Now that you've learned how to combine paths in Illustrator and how to combine objects in Illustrator, feel free to use these techniques in your future projects.

You can find some great sources of inspiration at Envato Elements, with interesting solutions to improve your design portfolio.

Want to Learn More?

We have loads of tutorials on Envato Tuts+, from beginner to intermediate level. Take a look!

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