I've made a shape in Illustrator by taking a square and a circle, selecting both and choosing the Unite option in Pathfinder.

So I now have this shape:

enter image description here

However, I want to extend some of the lines on the square edges so it will look like this, and still be one single shape (path):

enter image description here

But if I simply draw the extensions in using the line tool and then select everything and click unite again then the extensions I have just drawn disappear and I end up with just the original shape again. I guess it's not seeing the lines as a 'shape' to unite???

Anyone know the easiest way to extend the lines as needed, and still have it as one shape?

Thanks guys!!!

  • 2
    This is not possible with a unite boolean operation. You are trying to unite a closed path with several open paths. This simply won't work. What are you using this for? Why do you need it to be one path? At the moment your question reads like an XY problem.
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 20, 2023 at 16:04
  • Draw the extensions manually. Expand your strokes to shapes... Then the shapes can be united via Pathfinder. But.. you will no longer have a stroked path, you'll have a filled shape that merely looks like the stroked path.
    – Scott
    Apr 20, 2023 at 18:52
  • Actually this is a cut line for a sticker project. I want the corners extended to that the cutter 'overcuts' the corners making sure the stickers and super-easy to remove and that the corners get cut out correctly without that tiny little bit you get on corners sometimes where you have to snap it off. Because it is a cut line it really needs to be a single path.
    – Lion Heart
    Apr 21, 2023 at 18:55
  • In that case, perhaps delete the two end paths, redraw those with lines that overlap, then select all, and do Object >Compound Path > Make. This will make a compound path, which is a single path. Try that. Disclaimer: I don't know if this will work with your cutting machine. You might want to check the documentation to see if it can cut using compound paths, sometimes aka combined paths.
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 22, 2023 at 12:12
  • Why do you need for it to be one closed path? If you just want to fill it, the easiest way would be to just duplicate the path and use one for the filling and the other for the outline and group them.
    – SabineR
    Apr 24, 2023 at 15:14

2 Answers 2


Unfortunatelly Illustrator doesn't work that way, and will treat unclosed segments as individual shapes. You can overlay them, you can group them, you can apply the same color, stroke style, etc .. but essentially they will be treated as separate objects.

The only way to get a continuous, end-to-end shape in Illustrator is by doing what you have in the first image, meaning a shape with every segment connecting to the next one, until the shape is closed.


Fortunately the case can be worked around easily. Have at first your 4 sides as separate paths. Lets see how to work in one corner. For simplicity I drew only 2 lines:

enter image description here

Select the anchor points of the short ends with the direct selection tool and press "Join" (sorry, I use Affinity Designer, I do not have Illustrator, not sure where such command is placed there, but surely it exists). A new line segment appears between the ends and the shown parts are one curve:

enter image description here

Insert a new anchor to the new line segment. Drag it with the direct selection tool towards the wanted corner point:

enter image description here

Drag the anchor to the crossing. It snaps if you have smart guides and snap to crossings ON. The corner is now this:

enter image description here

Do the same in other 3 corners and you're ready.


  1. It's not at all sure this works right if you try to make the joints in all 4 corners with a single hit. Very likely you must undo and reverse 1 or 2 paths to get the wanted shortcut lines to appear instead of something like this:

enter image description here

  1. Check if your final application also stands those forth-back segments. If it tries to burn a gap with laser, the workpiece can get an overdose. Better to prepare the path in the final cutting application to be sure or at least to read the manual.

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