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I'm one day into learning how to use Illustrator (though I've got some experience with paths in Photoshop, from 5 years back). I want to take a simple, rectangular path and put tabs on the sides so that each rectangle fits together kind of like puzzle pieces.

There must be a nice, easy way to do this but I can't figure it out.enter image description here

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted
  • Draw a rectangle
  • Choose Object > Path > Split Into Grid...
  • Define the size of the pieces by altering the row and column settings for the grid
  • Grab the Shape Builder Tool
  • Click-drag to combine grid pieces
  • Option/Alt-click to remove pieces.

puzzle rectangle

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Yes! That is what I wanted to be doing! What do you mean by "click-crag"? –  doub1ejack Jun 9 at 14:25
    
Typo.. click-drag. –  Scott Jun 9 at 15:34
    
@Scott! Scott!! Scott!!! –  Ilan Jun 9 at 16:30

Well this worked, but it was kind of finicky.

I made a rectangular tab, using the dimensions to make sure that the tab was 1/6th the height of my path. Copied this out 6 times, grouped the tabs, and copy/pasted the group so that there were tabs on either side of my path. Aligning the tabs perfectly was a real pain, but eventually I got it.

enter image description here

Then I deleted every other tab.

enter image description here

And last, I was able to select all the tabs and my original path and use the Pathefinder->Exclude tool to produce the shape I wanted.

enter image description here

That's about as efficient as I can think of. The biggest time sink was in the alignment. In order for these to fit together they really need to be perfect. I think the reason it took so long was a combination of my inexperience and poor snapping settings in IA.

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You probably could have created one tab, aligned it with the top of the large square, and opt-shift-dragged it to create a second one that's in line with the first tab. Let the top of the second tab snap to the bottom of the first. Then select both tabs, opt-shift-drag down, and snap the top to the bottom of the first two. Repeat once more to end up with 6 tabs all left-aligned neatly and touching. Then just select all 6 tabs and scale them up to the bottom of the square. Then it's just a matter of selecting the three you wanted on the right, dragging them over, and using the Pathfinder tool. –  lawndartcatcher Jun 9 at 17:52

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