I have a triangle (purple) and a rectangle (white). Is there a way to delete all the white part of the rectangle lying outside of the purple triangle's border?

I've tried experimenting with the Pathfinder (eg. Unite, Intersect, etc), but none of them seem to result in what I want.

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  • 2
    See this answer for a good example of how the different pathfinder modes work.
    – Cai
    Mar 12, 2017 at 15:37

3 Answers 3


You are correct, you should be using pathfinder. Here's how I did it...

  1. Copy both items so they are ready to be pasted. Select both objects and use the intersect tool in the pathfinder menu.

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  1. You are left with only the white portion.

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  1. Now paste the items you had copied, using Cmd+F (paste in front). This will paste the objects exactly where they were before.

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  1. Delete the larger white rectangle so you only have the blue triangle and the smaller white shape we created. It will look like this because the white shape is hidden behind the blue triangle.

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  1. Send the blue triangle to the back using object>arrange>send to back.

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  • Thank you so much! Intersect just became so much more useful!! Copy-pasting makes sense, it just never occurred to me! :) Mar 12, 2017 at 15:33

Intersect should work.

  • Copy the triangle to clipboard
  • Intersect the shapes
  • Press CTRL+F to paste back the original triangle in the same position
  • Press CTRL+SHIFT+[ to push the triangle to the back
  • wow - thanks! it worked! I think I misunderstood how you would use intersect and didn't do the whole copy-paste part before! thanks! Mar 12, 2017 at 15:26
  • 1
    Pathfinder will affect original shapes, so you generally need to copy these to clipboard beforehand if you need them back.
    – Lucian
    Mar 12, 2017 at 15:28
  • Thanks, you've made life make so much more sense now! :P Mar 12, 2017 at 15:35

This is easy via Erase mode of the Shape Builder tool:

  • select all objects
  • select Shape Builder Tool (Shift+M) and holding Alt erase outer parts of object.

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