In Adobe Illustrator CS5, I have a circle (the letter "O") and a line going through it, like so:


Now, I want to remove the protruding south-east part of the line, for an end result similar to


but where the south-east end of the blue line extends all the way out to the edge of the black circle, making that end of the blue line follow the curve.

Rephrased, I only want to show the south-east of the blue line where it overlaps with the black shape. But the top-left and middle of the blue line should remain as is, even where they pass over the inside of the "O" or protrude into the north-west.

Could someone tell me a way to do this?

3 Answers 3


I figured out a way, but I'm very new to Illustrator (literally started using it last night), so I'm sure it's far from ideal. Putting it here in case it helps someone else.

Make sure you've done Object > Path > Outline Stroke for the line.

Duplicate both the letter and the line. Select one of each, with the line stacked higher (on a higher "layer") than the letter.

enter image description here

In the Pathfinder window, hold Option and click the "Intersect" button. You will now have a compound shape with only the parts of the blue line that overlapped the letter. If you hide the duplicate letter and line, it will look like this:

enter image description here

Now, add additional anchor points to both sides of the line inside the letter, then remove the old anchor points that were outside the letter. The line will no longer protrude outside, and the compound shape will show through. Made the line green to clarify:

enter image description here

All done:

enter image description here

  • 3
    Good job on figuring it out yourself and posting your findings :)
    – Kyle
    Aug 6, 2011 at 10:48

In AI CS5, the easiest way is to use the Shapebuilder tool (Shift + M).

First, convert your text to outlines: select it, and from the main menu, choose Type > Create outlines.

Outline the line: Select the line and from the main menu choose Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Note: you could have simply drawn a rectangle and rotated it, which would save the step of outlining the line, or path.

Next, select both the letter and the shape, and use the Shapebuilder tool to "trim" the offending bit of the shape. Check out this video to get a good overview of the Shapebuilder tool. http://tv.adobe.com/watch/learn-illustrator-cs5/creating-complex-art-with-the-shape-builder-tool-/

  • Welcome to GD.SE and thank you for your contributions! Both really good answers :)
    – Yisela
    Apr 18, 2013 at 3:12

That works well. Here's a slightly easier way that also works.

  1. Outline the letter. Copy it.
  2. Convert the stroke using Object>Path>Outline Stroke.
  3. Select both objects (stroke should be above letter) using Direct Selection tool, choose Window>Pathfinder>Intersect.
  4. Paste the outline letter you copied using Paste in Back.
  5. Delete the divided letter above the pasted letter using Direct Selection Tool.
  6. Select (using Direct Selection Tool) the line segments. Select Window>Pathfinder>Merge.

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