Graphic Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Graphic Design professionals, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have several circles that are set at type none color and 0.01 black stroke. They're all currently in paths (except two I made into compound paths). I want to know how to remove the stroke from the areas where the shapes overlap.
Here is an image:

I want it to look like what's on the right.

What I've done so far: I can get somewhere if I select the two hollow circles which are currently 4 separate paths and make them into a compound path on exclude, but it still looks like the image on the left. I tried removing the anchors, but that does something completely different since those two circles are then broken up into a total of 7 pieces at the intersection points.

share|improve this question
up vote 9 down vote accepted

If the lower arcs are closed you can Select all the shapes, go to Pathfinder (Window -> Pathfinder) and choose Unite function

Two upper circles are compound path

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

share|improve this answer

Select the shapes and click-drag with the Shape Builder Tool to easily combine areas.

shape builder

Note: That last click-drag I performed isn't really needed :)

share|improve this answer
I deleted my answer, cause your is 46k times better – Ilan Apr 9 '14 at 20:37
@Ilan multiple, different answers are encouraged. You never know what answer a user will find most beneficial. I'd suggest you undelete it ;) – Scott Apr 9 '14 at 20:38
done. But anyway, I'd accept your answer – Ilan Apr 9 '14 at 20:40
What about in illustrator cs4 (which I'm using)? I believe there isn't a shape builder tool. – user2899444 Apr 9 '14 at 20:42

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.