I need to make (actually re-creating) a diagram for a repeating process consisting of 5 steps.

Here's how it might look with two arrows:

enter image description here

I need to do basically the same thing with 5 arrows, different colors, and the arrowheads not sticking out... essentially a donut shape.

The arrows also contain text, but that's not a big deal since I can flatten each arrow if the solution involves handling them as separate objects.

I've already tried making the arrows in a straight line and making an art brush, but AI gives me an error saying "The selected artwork contains an element that cannot be made into an art brush." ??? I removed the text just to make sure that wasn't it, but the error still happened.

I also tried making a donut from 2 circles, making compound path, and using the knife to divide into sections... made a nightmare mess out of that. It's nearly impossible to cut a straight line that isn't exactly horizontal, perpendicular, or the exact in between of those.

It looks so simple! Am I just being obtuse? :p

2 Answers 2


The easiest method is to simply use strokes with arrowheads.


for 5 arrows, you simply divide a circle into 5 sections, apply your stroke and arrowheads, then expand and use the Shape Builder Tool.

5 arrows


Here is how I would do it. I am using a very basic arrow shape. It can be adapted to a more refined design.

  • Step 1: Draw the doughnut with one of the arrows in place. (Here drawn with no fill so the next steps are easy to understand.)

enter image description here

  • Step 2: Select both shapes and make a symbol (drag to symbol panel)
  • Step 3: With the symbol selected in the canvas, select Object->Transform->Rotate
  • Step 4: Enter 72 degrees (= 360 degrees / 5 slices). For a different number of slices, enter 360 / number of slices enter image description here

    • Step 5: Click on the "Copy" button (as opposed to OK). A new symbol is created. enter image description here

    • Step 6: Repeat step 3, 4 and 5 to created the rest of the slices (3 more times in this case, 4 in total; 1 original slice + 4 slices = 5 slices

enter image description here

  • Step 7: Select the group of slices and expand them together. Object->Expand. The link to the symbol is broken and they are turned into basic shapes.

enter image description here

  • Step 8: With all the shapes selected, use the Pathfinder and click on Divide. This removes redundant overlapping areas.

  • Step 9: Double click on the group. Colour each individual shape a different colour.

enter image description here


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.