I'm new to Illustrator and struggling to solve this issue. I've created this image and I'm trying to make the area covered by the top layer (the white cloudy part with the circular cutout) transparent. Not just that shape itself, but everything within the area of that shape should be transparent, including all of the layers below - as if that area of the image was deleted.

enter image description here

Any ideas how I can achieve this?


2 Answers 2


What you are seeking is called a Compound Shape. There are a few ways to create compound shapes in Illustrator.

Perhaps the simplest is....

  1. Create the base shape
  2. Create a shape which represents the "hole" you want on top of the base shape
  3. Select both the base shape and the "hole" shape and choose Object > Compound Path > Make from the menu.

enter image description here

It is also possible to use the Pathfinder Panel or the Shape Builder Tool for step 3. Although, depending upon the actual shapes being used, Pathfinder and Shape Builder may create additional unwanted anchor points at times. The menu item as described above never creates additional anchor points.


I am not sure What actually you were looking for. From my understanding I prepared two ways.

1- Use Pathfinder operation.

2- The compound path is filled with white, for us to see, make that from white to none.

Thank you.

enter image description here

  • Meaning ? (facepalm) English is not my First language. So I find it sometimes difficult to understand What aristocrat laconic words mean! Jul 4, 2022 at 15:43
  • 1
    Compound object can also be made with create compound path ( ctrl+8) this is less resource intensive than pathfinding.
    – joojaa
    Jul 4, 2022 at 16:51

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