I've got an svg in Illustrator, build from 3 paths. I want to create a path that is the complete inverse of the current paths. So everything that is transparent now - I want it to be white and the three paths I want to be transparent.

I've tried using various selection methods, different layers, not to sure what to try now.

How can this be done?

Basically what I want is to have a box round it with background x color (I can change to white later) and the current colored paths/shapes to be transparent


2 Answers 2


Ok, so after over an hour of playing around in illustrator, I found the answer:

Create a (inset color here) rectangle and place it at the back. I created mine the same size as my artboard. Then click on each path induvidually, and go Object > Path > Divide Objects Below

This will mean that the object below is split into two, one the same as the object/path you had selected. You can then delete the part you don't want. Finally, after doing that to all objects, you get the result I wanted.


An easier way to do it is to group together all your paths, select that group and your background shape, then go to pathfinder (Shift-Ctrl-F9) then under Shape Modes click "Exclude" (should be the 4th option).

Then your background square should have all the shapes cut out of it.

  • Try it when the shapes overlap. Add a fill. Maybe you want to edit a little.
    – user82991
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 23:14

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