I am working on a graphic template for a curved window frame. I know my X axis is 18" and my Y axis is 18.25". The arc is roughly 28.75", this was added together by measuring the arc's + frame width. So the full arc is 6.75 + 1 + 6.25 + 1 + 6.25 + 1 + 6.5 = 28.75".

Arc window

I am trying to use the scissor tool to cut 6.75" from the 28.75" arc. I use the document info to see how big the arc is after I cut the line, I can get pretty close by trying to cut the arc a couple of times.

cut measurement


Is there a way to cut a curve by a specific amount instead of manually using the scissor tool and guessing?

Additional info

This is what I am trying to create a graphic template based from.


I may be going about this the completely wrong way but my measurements have been pretty close after doing this for a bit. I do not think I have to be exact since a graphic will have bleed when going to install. Let me know if you have any ideas on how to create a template instead of using the arc tool.

  • Why dont you work with angles? But yes you could cut by arclengths just a bit concoluted way to work. Personally i would just make a rubbing scan and draw on that.
    – joojaa
    Apr 14, 2021 at 19:24
  • Can you explain how this would be done using angles? Does this just mean use straight lines instead of curves? Next time I will suggest we measure by doing a rubbing scan.
    – AndrewH
    Apr 14, 2021 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


A well known Illustrator trick (which has been shown also here in GDSE several times) to separate the wanted length from a path which has a known total length is to apply originally straight line as Art Brush. The straight line is as long but divided to 2 separate differently colored parts.

enter image description here

Lets assume curve AB is 5 inches long. The green line is 2 inches long and the red line is 3 inches long. The colored lines are dragged together to the brushes collection and defined to be an Art Brush which should be stretched to full length.

The brush is applied to AB, Object > Expand Appearance is applied and the result is Ungrouped twice. The green part of AB is now separate and it's 2 inches long.

Another way to apply the same base idea is to divide AB to known proportions. If the lines were both as long - no matter how long exactly, but as long, AB whould be divided to 2 as long parts.

There's harmfully extra nodes appeared to the green part - probably to make the math easier in Illustrator. If that cannot be accepted you can place the original AB on the top of the green part; the left end nodes should snap perfectly if you have smart guides and snap to point ON and drag the selected curve from the left end with the direct selection tool:

enter image description here

Be sure the original is on the top. Apply the Scissors. They snap perfectly if you have smart guides and snap to point ON. The separated part of the original is free immediately and it has got no new intermediate nodes:

enter image description here

BTW. As others have already suggested you should check if the glass frame is constructed from straight lines and circular arcs in a simple way - there's a half circle which crosses straight radial lines. In that case you can use angles to find the arc lenghts. That's nothing special, only a rewrite of the fact that plane angle measure is originally in elementary geometry defined with arc length.

An example:

enter image description here

The length af the green arc from the midline of ray A to the midline of ray B is

(alpha/180 degrees) * Pi * R

where alpha = the angle between rays A and B. That's the same part of the half circle length Pi * R as what proportion alpha is of 180 degrees.

To get how long piece of the arc is between the red rays you subtract the thickness of the rays.

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