I'm trying to cut text out of an object that I drew using the pen tool.

enter image description here

But when I select them both and click Minus Front (yes i have created outlines on the type) only this happens:

enter image description here

And I tried this on a regular rectangle and it worked fine:

enter image description here

Any help?

P.S I know there are lots of topics regarding this but I can't find one like mine (well I can't identify one).

  • In this case it should juist be easier to declare the text a compound path
    – joojaa
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 10:58
  • Especially when I scroll down enough to cover the top part of the image, it kind of looks like a skirt and a butt with legs kinda spread out. --- I'm not against removing this message, if someone feels it's too much.
    – Joonas
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 13:12
  • @Joonas It does look like a squirrel twerking indeed. I'm not against people removing my message either. It has absolutely nothing of value in it, unless someone add a critique tag to the question. But if I was stuck with the issue of the OP I would simply do a "divide" in the Pathfinder and remove the useless parts. Not the most elegant technique but it should work fine on a nut with text on it.
    – go-junta
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 5:08
  • @Joonas -.- its an acorn with 2 cashews inside of it. Its for an IT assignment. (I didnt screenshot the whole image)
    – harrison
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 8:36

4 Answers 4


After you created outlines to that font, the letters are then put in a group and minus front doesn't work well with groups.

Try to ungroup the letters, select all and try again.

If this doesn't work, try with each letter individually.


This is due to the fact that AI expects you to choose two layers when using Minus Front/Back and this is done with the help of layer/object hierarchy. When you have multiple objects selected, AI thinks in pairs and doesn't know to which pair of objects to apply the function, the first, middle...the last? So in the end you might end up with strange results like applying the function to each pair of two, one after another until the last one.

Also, you need to be aware of the fact that by taking the first letter and background and then hit minus front, AI will often bring the resulted background in front of the other letters and it appears as if they are erased when they are actually behind that background. Send the background to back and continue till the desired result.

  • It should work better with compound paths. But in this case it should be enough to just use a compound path.
    – joojaa
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 10:54
  • Yep, you often need to do multiple objects (such as letters) individually. Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 12:42
  • 2
    @MrJonnyWood the tricky part is that for someone who didn't experience this before, doesn't know that for example, when you take the letters individually, say first letter and background and then hit minus front, AI will often bring the resulted background in front of the other letters and it appears as if they are erased when they are actually behind that background.
    – Alin
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 12:52
  • @Alin good point Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 12:59
  • @MrJonnyWood Thanks, I've updated my answer with a little explanation of how AI works in terms of object relations and pointed out the "glitch" I mentioned above.
    – Alin
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 13:00

There's really no way of telling why it's not currently working. It should work with any text which has been converted to outlines. However, it's not impossible that some compounding or stacking is causing issues. You can try a few additional steps which may resolve some construction issues.

  • Select the text
  • Type > Create Outlines
  • Object > Ungroup (do this as many times as you can, until it's no longer available)
  • Object > Compound Path > Make

Now select the text and the shape and use Pathfinder.

enter image description here

This makes the separate shapes of the characters into one shape, which will then subtract from the underlying shape as a single unit.


I couldnt find a direct solution but I just created offset paths of the objects. Thanks for all the help though :DD Here is the end result enter image description here

  • result is teriible. If I wouldn't know, I would never discover word «healthy».
    – mrserge
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 7:48
  • To be a little more constructive, the word "Healthy" is a little hard to read. If you want it to be more legible, spread out the letters a bit so they don't overlap with each other as much. Regardless, glad you were able to get a result you're happy with!
    – Vicki
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 4:56

I was having this same issue and this is how it ended up working out. I was working with two layers, one was text (the bottom layer) and a shape above the text (top layer) when I used minus front I had the same problem (only one letter was left and the minus front command hadn't done what I wanted. I found that the text had a stroke and when I took that off, so it just had a fill then the command worked. Also the top layer had a fill of none and a stroke of none. Maybe try taking off the stroke and fill of the top most layer?

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