I am trying to cut a part of a shape that is outside another one using illustrator.

I've found this answer for Inkscape and I tried to reproduce it with Illustrator but I did not success.

enter image description here

I'd like to remove the part of the green shape that is outside the other one. When I try to use Pathfinder -> subtract it creates a hole in it.

I found if I use Pathfinder -> substract (front - back) Illustrator is keeping only the part I want to delete. I could copy paste that part onto my original shape and paint it the same color as the background but I don't like this solution...

P.S. What is the name of the operation I'm trying to do ? I have little to no knowledge about Illustrator and Graphic Design in general so I have trouble googling stuff

1 Answer 1


I always use Pathfinder > Divide to do exactly what you're asking to do. The divide action will also group the objects, so they need to be ungrouped or you need to double click into the group - and then manually select and delete the portions that need to go.

  • Oooooh, I did not know I had to go in and manually delete stuff, I tried every option in Pathfinder and I though Divide was not doing anything in my case... Thanks a lot !
    – Plopp
    Feb 14, 2019 at 14:24
  • I also needed to do Object -> Expand when my shape was a bit weird
    – Plopp
    Feb 14, 2019 at 14:39

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.