I made a field of lines evenly spaced in illustrator. They are grouped together. I want to cut out and paste a segment of this group. The grouped lines are parallel and the group is tilted at an angle; I wanted to cut out a vertical segment so I have a strip of trapezoidal shapes to paste elsewhere.

How do I do this?

1 Answer 1


The long-winded method one which will allow you to only copy trapezoidal shapes.

To reduce art to standard shapes only

  • Copy lines to new layer
  • Hide visibility of old layer
  • Select lines, Object > Expand
  • Draw rectangle of area you want to retain.
  • Select lines and rectangle
  • click Crop button on the Pathfinder Panel
  • Draw a no-fill, no stroke, rectangle
  • Choose Select > Same > Fill & Stroke
  • Hit the Delete key.
  • Select the lines (which are now trapezoidal shapes)
  • Copy
  • Paste wherever you want.
  • Possible Problem with this method is the lines are not easily edited now. So should you need to alter the angle, you'll have to repeat the steps above. Any non-proportional scaling will change all angles of the lines, including the ends. In addition, reuse of this artwork will increase overall file size.

A second method....

Mask the lines rather than editing them.

  • Draw a rectangle on top of the lines for the area you want to retain.
  • Select the lines and rectangle
  • Choose Object > Clipping Mask > Make
  • Possible problems with this method is the need to edit clipping mask contents should you need to edit the internal lines. Not a huge hurdle, but depending upon the artwork, it can be time-consuming. In addition, reuse of this artwork will increase overall file size.

A third (preferred here) method....

Simply use a pattern and rotate the pattern.

  • Create a straight horizontal or vertical line pattern by simply dragging a series of strokes or shapes to the Swatches Panel - Be certain to double-check the odd/even rules so the pattern repeats correctly.
  • Fill any shape with the pattern
  • Choose Object > Transform > Rotate and uncheck the "Transform Objects' option - which will check the "Transform Patterns" option - and then enter the amount of pattern rotation you desire. This results in angled pattern lines within the shape.
  • Benefits to this method are pattern angles can be changed at any future point for reuse and ease of editing and non-proportional scaling of the pattern object will not result in angles being altered (or if the angles are altered, then can be reset with a click). And file size is not increased when the same pattern is applied to multiple objects (even if the pattern angles are different).

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