As a beginner in Illustrator, I have a simple question. I have an object as in the picture below (I also include .ai file). It is a fragment of a more complicated design. I want to fill the hole in the ellipse border.

hole in the ellipse Illustrator file: hole in the ellipse . ai

I have two questions.

1) is my method of filling the hole correct?

  • Using Ellipse Tool I draw a larger ellipse (orange). Then I transform this ellipse (rotate, move, scale etc.) to match the original orange ellipse

  • I draw a smaller ellipse (white) and transform it so that it fits to the center of the orange ellipse.

  • Then I create a Compound Path.

2) how to make ordinary Path from Compound Path?

Is this the right approach to my problem? (making new ellipses perfectly match the original ones is not so easy).

  • The right approach for you depends on many factors; maybe you just want a quick fix and maybe you want to rebuild the whole object. It's up to you to decide whether you want to learn how to use a particular tool or method, or just get it done.
    – Luciano
    Mar 13, 2019 at 12:24

3 Answers 3


For myself I'd take advantage of the pen tool, Smart guides (Illustrator's version of snapping) and the fact that it's pretty easy to pull out anchor handles and judge getting the curve tangent to the existing lines, then use pathfinder to union the results... I think this will be cleaner and far easier than trying to match new ellipses to the existing.

New section in contrasting colour for clarity: enter image description here

New section now eyedroppered to same colour, and pathfinder palette open an Union tool selected: enter image description here

End result: enter image description here

Like that!

Hope this helps.

  • 1
    Simple and effective. The Pen tool is by far the fastest solution. Great work!
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 13, 2019 at 0:06
  • 1
    Although this solution seems to be the simplest and the fastest, I could not reproduce the ellipse as I would like. It is quite possible that this is a matter of appropriate experience in using the Pen tool. That's why I finally used the second answer suggested as a solution to my problem.
    – Verbatus
    Mar 13, 2019 at 20:24

Obviously you know they are ordinary Illustrator's ellipses, only rotated. In that case you can fix them exactly in full Illustrator's accuracy. Draw nothing. Duplicate, rotate and join the uncut halves.

enter image description here

  1. The original

  2. Fill colors are removed and a thin stroke is inserted to see all better. Split with the scissors the ellipses at the nodes inside the red circles

  3. Delete the broken halves

  4. With Object > Transform > Rotate > 180 degrees, Copy make the missing halves

  5. Drag the halves to their places. Have snap to points and Smart guides =ON, no other snaps. Select an arc with the normal selection tool and drag the end node with the direct selection tool, the rest follows. Beware clicking anything else after selecting an arc. Join the halves (=select one whole ellipse, press Ctrl+J). You get this way 2 separate ellipses.

  6. If needed, make compound path to get hole and insert needed fills and strokes, no stroke here.

Ordinary path: You can release a compound path. You get 2 separate paths which are ordinary. If you want a hole in a single closed path, you can have a stroke or use clipping mask or Opacity mask to hide a part of the filled area. Stroke can have variable Width.

It's possible with math scripting or plugins to fit an ellipse to five points. I haven't such tools for Illustrator, but it's in Inkscape for free.

Not asked: It's difficult to be sure what it was, there are so many possiblities. Here's one:

enter image description here

  • Thank you for your response. I used this method as it seemed to me quite simple and accurate. I really liked the use of the obvious fact that the ellipse is symmetrical :)
    – Verbatus
    Mar 13, 2019 at 20:07

If you want match a shape but make it smaller or bigger for a certain units, use offset.

enter image description here

  • I am afraid that this does not solve my problem.
    – Verbatus
    Mar 13, 2019 at 20:28

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