Path Builder Tool

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Path Builder Tool

The Path Builder Tool (also commonly known as the Shape Builder Tool) is a powerful tool for creating custom shapes from two or more other shapes.

To get started, select two or more shapes on the canvas, then select the Path Builder Tool in the toolbar. Gently drag between the strokes you want included in your new shape and the strokes will be highlighted orange. Orange strokes means the shape is an open path, and blue strokes means the shape is a closed path. If you drag over a closed path, the path will be broken and turn back orange. To fix broken paths, use the Pencil Tool in the Path Builder Tools toolbar to re-apply the stroke. To avoid breaking closed paths, toggle off the Sculpt Tool .

If you accidentally highlight the wrong stroke, toggle on the Eraser Tool and drag over the stroke needing to be removed. Then click toggle off the Eraser Tool to continue.

When you feel like you have the shape you want and you’re ready to place it onto the canvas, simply select another tool (like the Selection Tool) and the new shape will appear on the canvas.

Using a single shape

You may also activate the Path Builder Tool with a single shape selected. This comes in handy when you need to only operate on a single shape and use its intersecting shapes to build from. The intersecting shapes will not be affected by this operation, only the selected shape.

Manually select strokes

You may also manually select the strokes (rather than dragging between strokes) by toggling on the Pencil Tool and drag over the strokes you want included in your new shape. For some, this may be easier than the default automatic mode.

Sculpt Tool

You may encounter a situation where you want to build two paths that overlap without breaking the first path. This is where you want to toggle off the Sculpt Tool . The Sculpt Tool by default will be toggled on, allowing you to sculpt a path into existence by breaking the path as needed until the desired shape is manifested. Sometimes this may not be what you want, if so, feel free to toggle off the Sculpt Tool.

Subtract Tool

Use the Subtract Tool when you need to cut a hole into your shape. Let’s say you’re building a shape and need the inside of the shape cut out. You will need to toggle on the Subtract Tool to highlight the inside part needing to be cut out.

Properties Panel

When the Path Builder Tool is activated you’ll see the Path Builder Tools icon appear in the properties panel. Open this panel to change Result property.

By default Replace All is selected, this option will delete all shapes included in this operation and replace the selection with the newly built shape.

Replace None: Nothing will be deleted and all shapes will be kept in tact on the canvas but the new shape will be selected.

Replace Top: Only the first shape will be replaced. When using this option, make sure you are aware of which shape is first by using the Multiple selection tool to select the first shape manually.

Cut Out: This will cut out the old shapes with the new shape, performing a boolean subtraction on the old shapes with the new shape.

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