I’m merging about one hundred (100) fill-only half circles into whole circles—fill only. Pathfinder Panel > Pathfinders: Merge works perfectly if I click on it in the panel—that’s not the issue.

Going back and forth to the panel like that, with 100 circles—even when I move the panel directly below the row of circles I'm working on—is quite tedious and time-intensive.

I checked, but there wasn’t an existing command key for it in my keyboard shortcuts. So I created one. Unfortunately, using it doesn’t actually Merge the two half-circles into one whole circle.

The command is definitely executing—I checked a few things to be sure: “Undo Merge” appears in the Edit Menu, and “Merge Again” in the Effect menu, among other things.

So… Does anyone have any idea how to get the Pathfinder Panel > Merge keyboard shortcut to work?!

Screenshot below, if that helps.

It will speed things up immensely, but even if I’m finished this project by the time you reply, leave an answer—Please! I’m very curious to know what the issue is. I'm also planning on submitting a Bug Report if there are no working solutions.

It may turn out I’ve got some kind of conflict and it really works for everyone else. I’m on a Mac OS X 10.14.6 running Illustrator 23.0.4. I have a couple of apps installed, but they were downloaded from Adobe CC marketplace.

In advance… I really appreciate your help with this issue, thanks very much!!

UPDATE: There’s a shortcut for Pathfinder Panel > Repeat Merge and, drumroll please… It works! I’d still love to know if there’s another way to get the shortcut for Pathfinder Panel > Merge to work, though—thanks again!

Screenshot of Merge menu item with shortcut

  • Erm... Why dont you merge all and expand the resulting compound object?
    – joojaa
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 13:03

1 Answer 1


The Pathfinder panel does not have shortcuts nor can they be assigned to the panel. This is primarily because the panel operations are generally destructive and are rarely if ever needed in succession.

If you find yourself needing to repeatedly perform some Pathfinder panel operation, you may want to examine your workflow. It is exceptionally rare that one need to repeatedly perform the same Panel operation.

In this case, your workflow can easily be reduced to 2 shortcuts and one panel click.

  • Select all (Command/Ctrl+a)
  • Pathfinder panel > Merge
  • Ungroup (Command/Ctrl+Shift+G)

This will leave you with each dot merged.

The only reason you would need to individually merge anything is if it is touching other objects you do not wish the merge. In your sample, none of the dots are even close to touching each other. There's no need to merge them one at a time.

Even if, on the off chance you really want to merge each "dot" individually, selecting them all then using the Shape Builder Tool to merely drag over each dot would be faster than using the Pathfinder Panel.

It is also important to realize that the Pathfinder Menu item is not the same as the Pathfinder panel.

The Pathfinder Menu item is an effect, which is why it is located in the Effects menu. Effects add non-destructive, "live", appearance settings which then can be expanded for further alterations. The panel, by default, performs destructive operations which do not need expanding.

You cannot perform the Panel operations from the menu.

You can somewhat perform a few of the menu "shape" operations from the panel by holding down the Option/alt key when clicking a Pathfinder Panel button. This keeps the Pathfinder operation "live". However, it won't be visible as an effect in the Appearance Panel the way the menu items are.

In short, the Pathfinder Menu and Pathfinder Panel are not interchangeable. They each construct objects in unique ways. While the end visibility may appear the same, the underlying construction is different.

This is also true for the Effect Menu Warp items compared to the Object > Envelope Distort > Warp item as well. They may appear the same, but they are constructed differently.

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