Background: I'm using illustrator to add color to a floor plan imported from a CAD program. The issue I'm running into is that in our CAD, our doors are created by "blocks"and the lines of the walls are covered up by a "wipeout" object in autocad which is imported into Illustrator as a box with a white background and no stroke. It works fine for doing a black and white image but if I place color behind the linework, I have white boxes where all my doors are. I can manually cut the lines, etc which works for small plans but when doing potentially dozens of doors it becomes overly tedious.

I've tried searching, experimenting with the pathfinder, clipping masks, etc but I haven't found anything that works for me. Is there anything that will cut multiple shapes from multiple lines? I attached an image of an example showing the lines of the wall and the boxes of the "wipeout" that I'd like to subtract from walls so there is no white box in front of the color.

enter image description here

  • Not sure if I entirely understand: you want your "door-blocks" to be "transparent", ie no colour? And therefore see the colours of wall/floor?
    – benteh
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 15:39
  • Not sure what you are asking but if I understood well : I think you have to associate (select all paths to associate -> right click -> Associate) all your door rectangles and also associate all you walls (so that you have a Doors group and a Walls group). Then select both groups and use Substract pathfinder.
    – user67482
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 16:53

3 Answers 3


You can use the Shape Builder Tool with some success here.

If you just want to remove the lines within the door rectangles...

Select All, then using the Shape Builder Tool, just drag the cursor over the door... (note the background color still shows through.)

enter image description here

If you need gaps or holes where the doors are -- Do the above.. then go back through and delete all actual door rectangles. You'll be left with gaps where the door rectangles were and solid lines.

There's no "one-click" solution to what you need. This is still somewhat manual, but it's much, much better than adding anchors or using the Scissors/Knife tool and then deleting pieces.


If I understand the problem correctly, you want to place a colored background on the floors, but your CAD program generates white boxes where the doors should be so they can skip having to boolean/cut out from the walls.

If you can create your doors with a slightly different stroke you can select all of the door frames with a Select > Same > Appearance, or if you can import the layers correctly you can also grab them all at once from a layer. What you will want to do is create a group of all the door rectangles, and a group of all the walls. You can also delete all of the white rectangles using the select same.

Using Alt + LeftClick on the Shape modes in the pathfinder to create whats known as a compound shape, which allows you to do the operation in a nondestructive manner so that if you need to change anything after the fact all is not lost. Double click the path in the work area to isolate it and you'll be able to change any of the points within.

Compound shape

I work with CAD Floorplans a lot and I feel your pain. Most of the work will be trying to seperate the doors from the walls if they are drawn with the same appearance. Select > Same is a very handy tool if you didn't know about it. in the same menu, you have Select > Object, where you can get rid of non-outlined text and clipping masks.


An additional solution particularly suited for repetitive work might be to create the geometry for the door and then make it a symbol by opening the symbol tab and dragging the geometry to it.

Then, whenever you need a door, you can drag the symbol from the symbol palette onto the document and duplicate (by alt+dragging) any number of the door symbols anywhere they are needed.

The benefit to this is that if your background changes, you can make a single update to the symbol definition and that change will automatically happen to all of the instances of that symbol in your document. Additionally, once you create symbols that are used often in your documents, you can save them to have available in every document.

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