I would like to make a transparent cutout in a shape so that the position or shape of the cutout can be changed in the future.

For example, consider the black and the yellow rectangles:

enter image description here

I would like to use the yellow rectangle as the shape that makes a transparent cutout in the black rectangle.

Using the pathfinder tool I am able to get the "almost" wanted result:

enter image description here

However, the cutout is now fixed and its position or shape cannot be changed making any future changes to the cutout impossible.

Question: how to create transparent cutouts in shapes so that the shape or position of the cutout can be changed in the future?

  • 2
    Its not fixed just select it with the white arrow tool or group select tool. Also shapebuilder can also make the shapes live read your tooltip.
    – joojaa
    Jul 6 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


What you're referring to are Compound Shapes/Paths. There are several methods to create Compound Paths in Illustrator — Pathfinder, ShapeBuilder, (Object) Menu items...

They can be changed, actually fairly easily.

Using the Direct Selection Tool (White Arrow), you can select the anchors or paths of any part of the Compound Path and alter it. It's also possible to simply delete the inner shape, draw a new shape, select both shapes and Choose Object > Compound Path > Make from the menu to recreate a new "hole".

enter image description here

More resources to learn how to use Compound paths:

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