I have created a simple ellipse and then from one end to the other created a path using the pen tool that intersects this ellipse. I now want to divide the ellipse into two shapes using the path, however no matter what I do I can't get this to work.

I am trying to use the pathfinder - divide tool, but when I apply this effect nothing happens, I have tried grouping the objects but still nothing works. Is there a simple trick that I need to apply to get this to work?

The ellipse I am trying to divide in two and the path I want the division to be made along

  • Guessing... use the Pathfinder Panel not the menu command.
    – Scott
    Oct 31, 2014 at 0:40
  • Hi @Scott how do I access that panel? Thank you
    – PaulBarr
    Oct 31, 2014 at 17:23
  • Window > Pathfinder or Command/Ctrl-Shift-F9
    – Scott
    Oct 31, 2014 at 17:23
  • Worked perfectly! If you write up an answer quickly I can accept it. I dont know why that would make a difference but thankyou!
    – PaulBarr
    Oct 31, 2014 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


It's important to realize that the menu item Effect > Pathfinder is not the same as using the Pathfinder Panel (Window > Pathfinder).

The menu item strives to keep all artwork "live" and editable. So, while operations are completed, not all operations will result in a change to the actual artwork. The menu applies an Effect to the existing artwork. it does not change the artwork though. If you are seeking to actually alter the artwork, you should choose to use the buttons on the Pathfinder Panel, rather than the menu items. (Note; you could also use the menu item but then you need to be certain to choose Object > Expand to "bake in" the pathfinder effect if needed).

Random extra: Holding down the Option/Alt key while clicking a button on the Pathfinder Panel will make the buttons work the same way the Pathfinder Menu items work.

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