How do I join branching paths? I have tried the 'Join Tool' and 'Direct Selection Tool'. This seems to only work for 2 paths/endpoints?

This is what I am trying to achieve:

enter image description here

What method can be used to join 3 endpoints for a branching path?

3 endpoints to be joined, branching path

In the final step I would also like to make the origin/stem stroke to be thicker/wider. Once the paths are joined will the stroke 'Profile' work nicely?

Stroke profile

Narrowing stroke width

2 Answers 2


You can not join 3 paths in Illustrator.

Illustrator anchor points can only connect 2 paths. Each anchor has an "in" and an "out" and can not have any more connections.

  • Be nice if a future AI version had some sub-options for this. Assume it would be difficult to program.
    – Kerry7777
    Mar 31, 2019 at 1:47

As already answered, there's no branched single strokes in Illustrator. But there's no need to make joints as you draw. A branch can well be independent object.

enter image description here

  1. A random stroke with the pencil tool. Before you draw, double-click the tool icon to get the smoothing options onscreen.

  2. Round stroke ends are selected to get some direction tolerance in the branches. A branch is at first drawn a little aside, because the Pencil easily modifies the old stroke if you start a new on it. The new one can be placed exactly with the direct selection tool. For smooth branching start the drawing nearly to the same direction as the older stroke.

  3. Stroke ends are faded with the Width Tool.

  4. A new branch is added. Both ends must be adjusted with the width tool.

If you later need a single solid shape for easy moving or scaling, you can group the parts. Or you can convert strokes to paths (=closed filled shapes) and join the shapes with Pathfinder panel's Unite. Save the original stroke-only version if you end to unite all. The united shape is virtually undeditable.

You must allow stroke scaling in the preferences if you want to scale the stroke-only version.

  • I love when people break down a process into steps. Actually, you also helped me with my last question here. 'Curve leaf shapes and grains with minimal distortion'. Thanks again man.
    – Kerry7777
    Mar 31, 2019 at 1:57

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