I am trying to merge these two shapes in Adobe Illustrator, so that the black line makes a cutout through the grey rings of the target, and leaves a specified gap around the edge between the black line and the target (2px). I am trying to do this in Illustrator 2015.

Here is what I have currently.

target with arrow piercing the centre

If it helps, I am trying to create an icon which consists of a target and an arrow going into the centre of the target.

I have tried using the pathfinder tool, and have tried a number of different Google searches, though am struggling to describe my problem well enough for a Google search to yield any useful results.

Thanks in advance.

  • 2
    Hi Mark, thanks for your question. Could you tell us what you tried that didn't work? Always good to show some effort, and your chances for a good answer increase. If you have any questions, please see the help center or ping one of us in the Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site! To get you started I would take a look at using the pathfinder options.
    – AndrewH
    May 5, 2016 at 18:42
  • 3
    Thou shalt expand the strokes.
    – joojaa
    May 5, 2016 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


You'll first want to use the Offset Path command, to offset your arrow by 2px (or whatever value you so please):


Giving you a second instance of your shape, at the newly specified size:


Then, you can place your new, wider, arrow into a group above your rings. Open the Transparency Window (Window > Transparency) and adjust the wide arrow's opacity to 0, ensuring that Knockout Group is selected.


This accomplishes the same thing as using the Pathfinder, with the benefit of being non-destructive. That means all of your shapes are still there, in their original configuration, and can be modified at a later date, if need be. This is most useful when working with text.

  • 1
    You may want to make a note that this method will not work if the intended use is for creating a SVG icon for the web. This example uses the pathfinder options and the other method uses the knockout method you wrote about. Unless there is an alternative method for getting the knockout method to work on the web. Or you could change the style to the background color if solid and set the opacity back to 100.
    – AndrewH
    May 5, 2016 at 20:39

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