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Coming back to Illustrator after many years away, and I seem to have forgotten how to do what seems really elementary. Forgive my quick hand sketches... I drew some circles (blue) and lines (black):

enter code here

I want to convert everything into a single path out of which I can delete specific segments, and end up with this final shape:

enter image description here

What obvious method am I missing, O great hive mind?

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Although pathfinder will definitely work, using the Shapebuilder Tool (Shift+M) will probably be much simpler.

Just Select All and Click+Drag over areas to merge. Then select the area to delete and remove it (see included GIF)

enter image description here

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One way of doing it is using Pathfinder.

Given your example I would:

  • Your example [img 1]
  • Close all the lines into a single shape [img 2]
  • Use pathfinder to unite the resulted shape with the two farther circles [img 3]
  • Use pathfinder with minus front to cut the middle circle out of the newly created shape [img 4]

enter image description here

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  • It may be simpler to use pathfinder – joojaa Mar 4 '18 at 16:24
  • I guess I'm a lot more remedial than I thought. Just spent half an hour and can't figure out how to accomplish your step #2 "Close all the lines into a single shape". :-( – CaymanCarver Mar 4 '18 at 17:22
  • @BrianDunning You can either manually draw the connecting 3 lines from endpoint to endpoint, select all the lines, right click and select join or you can join them using the Pen tool. – Alin Mar 4 '18 at 18:17

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