I apologize for the title, I can't explain for my life... But the problem i'm having is, I am trying to create a blank space over a letter.

You can see in the screenshots that I have two elbow shapes over an A and an O. I would like to delete them, but have the effect that they make remain.

I have searched online for a solution for this, but alas, there is nothing that can help me.

I even tried masking, but it didn't work.

If anybody could either help me out here, or link me to a YouTube video explaining how to do this, I would be forever grateful. Image1 Image2 Image3


2 Answers 2


I would do this basically the same way as Hans described, only with a hugely important difference.

First, you'll want to expand the appearance of your two stroked paths (Object > Expand). This gives you the actual paths that you will use in the next steps.


After you have expanded them, combine them with Object > Compound Path > Make (CMD + 8).

The next step is where my method improves upon that described by Hans:

DO NOT create outlines from your text, you might want to change it in the future and if you create outlines, you can't.

Now that you have the two pieces that you wish to subtract from your text, select everything and open your Pathfinder. Ensure that the pieces you want to subtract from your text are on top. You are going to click on Minus Front, but this time you want to hold down ALT while doing so.


The result will be a compound shape, made up of your text and the shapes above it "punched out" of the text. The benefit of this method is that you can still edit your text in the future, as you can see by my highlighting it (I placed it on a black rectangle so you could see the text is actually missing the appropriate shapes and still editable).


  • @JohnManly Does the Compound Shape created this way by default subtract every element except for the lowest one (in this case the text) from the shape? Kinda seems counter-intuitive ...
    – MoritzLost
    Dec 18, 2015 at 15:23
  • @MoritzLost I haven't really experimented with it, to that extent, I'm not sure.
    – Manly
    Jan 12, 2016 at 16:24

Thank you for posting this question in the Graphic Design SE site. This can be easily done with the pathfinder window (within the top "Window" menu you can find this window).

Procedure is as follows:

  • Select the text and go to the "Type" menu in the top and select the option "Create Outlines".

  • Continue to select the two intersecting objects (in this case, the text and the elbows).

  • Select the "Minus-Front" option (second box) from the Path Finder.

  • Enjoy the result.

More information can be found in the following YouTube Video.


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