I have been watching a tutorial using the pen tool to create an illustration. What I have for the most part done is create paths that overlap and then using the shape builder tool get rid of the overlapping path. Sometimes I find using the shapebuilder tool creates a lot of extra points.

The method in the tutorial is to create overlapping paths and then select all, then go to the pathfinder and select "outline" then in the tutorial they use the lasso tool to select overlapping paths and delete them.

With the pathfinder outline however it breaks up the paths that intersect. So I am just wondering why this method would be used in the tutorial?

enter image description here

  • you can afjust shapebuilder settings by doubleclicking the tool. you can then adjust how agressive the tool is on accuracy.
    – joojaa
    Oct 24, 2022 at 11:09

2 Answers 2


They are simply different methods.. one is not better than the other.

Which one is appropriate depends upon what you need or want to do with the paths.


Impossible to know exactly why the Pathfinder method was shown. Could be a very old tutorial, though Shapebuilder has been around for a long time at this point.

Might be related to the specific result the tutorial is aiming for. Finally, it might just be a less-than-perfect tutorial: Outline + manual edit is less efficient than Unite for simply merging the two shapes.

Shapebuilder gives more options in a single tool - for example by letting you remove just one side of the overlap as in your screenshot.

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