I am trying to use Pathfinder shape modes to cut out parts of shape and overlay them on each other (as shown in following figure)

enter image description here

However, I am getting shape overlapping with border of background shape (see arrow in figure). For now, I am manually resizing overlay so that background borders are visible. However, this process is highly inefficient once shape become more complex. Is there way to properly achieve this so that I can use shape mode from Pathfinder and still able to see background border properly?

  • 1
    As long as the top object doesn't have a stroke of its own, you could change the stroke of the bottom object Window > StrokeAlign Stroke: Outside.
    – Joonas
    Aug 31, 2018 at 6:49
  • 1
    @Joonas, this is the exact effect I was hopping for. Thank you. Put this as an answer for future designer.
    – Dexter
    Aug 31, 2018 at 6:52
  • Done and done...
    – Joonas
    Aug 31, 2018 at 6:55

2 Answers 2


Not really. You can alter your workflow in a small way and its nolonger a problem. Remember what you are doing is a model of how things ought to work. There are many situations where the model fails you. Dont be afraid to alter your model.

There are 2 approaches to this.

  • Use strokes that are outside the object (Window > Stroke → Align Stroke: Outside)
  • copy the shapes behind kill their fill and put the copies on a layer above.

Make a Clipping Mask

  • Select the circle and send it back
  • Select both shapes
  • Menu Object > Clipping Mask > Make
  • Direct Selection Tool > click the mask edge
  • Fill it and add a stroke color and width

enter image description here

  • I thought of including clipping paths in answer but then decided not to because the op said more complex and pathfinder. Im not sure it scales to the more complex.
    – joojaa
    Aug 31, 2018 at 16:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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