How to Use Pathfinder Tool in Adobe Illustrator

Pathfinder is a unique option which help to modify your Illustrations into new shapes and sizes, in simple words this tool help you to create new objects and shapes with two overlapping shapes and objects. These unique effects can be applied only on Layers, Solid objects, Text objects and group of objects. These effects are temporary and you can easily edit these effects from Appearance panel in Illustrator. In this post you will find simple steps to use Pathfinder on your objects.

Image Credit

For better understanding I have uploaded some screenshots which helps you to apply Pathfinder on your objects in an easy way. Just follow the steps given below and use them on your Objects practically. Firstly you have to know where Pathfinder option is available and how you can add this option in the right side of your window with other editing options. There are two option to apply pathfinder on your Objects. First goto Effect > Pathfinder and you can select From options which you require to apply. Secondly it can be activated from window > check Pathfinder Option. You will find the Pathfinder panel in the right side of your window.

Pathfinder Panel

Lets come to the point ow to use this pathfinder tool on your objects, for this take an example of a box and a circle with fill of different color. Then select the object on which you want to apply pathfinder effect. Simply select the objects and click the option required from the pathfinder panel. You can find many options here.

Note: All these pathfinder effects are changed or deleted from Appearance panel on the right side of Illustrator window. To activate this panel Simply goto Windows > check the Appearance Option from the list.

Lets apply these pathfinder effects on objects. For this create a new document of A4 size (recommended size) and create a box and a circle with color fill and with no stroke. To apply effects just select both both objects and hit the options given in pathfinder panel. I used all these effects one by one and captured all screenshots for better understanding for our visitors. Have a look:

1. Unite – This is used to create a compound shape from two different objects and both objects converted to an object which occupy all the shape area on your document. 

Unite Effect

2. Minus Front –
This is used to create a compound shape and subtract the select object from the shape area.
Minus Front Effect

3. Intersect – Used to intersect the objects into whole shape area.
Intersect Effect

4. Exclude – Used to exclude all overlapped shape area. 
Exclude Effect

Also options like Divide, Trim, Merge, Crop and Outline also used for creating a different objects from two different objects. This is used for advance usage in Illustrator. Use of these effects will be published in an article on Advance use of Pathfinder in Illustrator. Stay tuned to for further Unique basic and advance tutorials on Illustrator.

Itender Rawat
Article By Itender Rawat

+Itender Rawat is editor-in-chief and owner of DigitFox. He is a Technology Enthusiast and CG Artist Loves to create 3D models and objects. He loves playing Computer games and believes in Simple Living.
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