I am trying to color this shape with three colors, but it must be equally distributed.

Usually for a simple object I would have created the three rectangles, duplicated the main object for each color and intersect one of the main objects with one color at a time, but with groups it's not that simple.

Complex object with three colored bars

  • With all the shapes it's hard to tell, could you possibly include a picture of roughly what you're trying to achieve? A similar example or quick sketch in Photoshop would help – JohnB Sep 27 '15 at 22:02

If I understand your question correctly, your problem is not being able to use pathfinder on a complex group of objects at once.


A simple solution is to convert the group to a compound path. With the group selected go to Object → Compound Path → Make or just hit CMD+8 (Mac) or Ctrl+8 (Windows)

Then you can duplicate the compound path and use pathfinder as you would normally.

Or Use a Clipping Mask

Another option, without using pathfinder, is to create a compound path as I described, then use that compound path as a clipping mask for the coloured bars. That way you can edit the shape and the colours without having to go through the whole destructive pathfinder process again every time you want to make a change.

  • I would go with clipping masks, since The color remains editable that way. The clipping masks shortcut is ctrl+7 or cmd+7 by the way. – PieBie Jul 30 '16 at 6:55

You can use the Shape Builder tool:

  1. Pick the desired color with the eye dropper tool (I)
  2. With both objects selected, click the Shape Builder tool:

enter image description here

  1. Click on the overlapping areas that you want to color:

enter image description here


Go to Edit -> Edit colors -> Recolor Artwork or Edit -> Edit colors -> Recolor with presets

  • 1
    This doesn't answer the question. – Cai Jan 3 '16 at 10:22

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