Home > Adobe, CS5, Illustrator > Adobe Illustrator CS5: Shape Builder Tool

Adobe Illustrator CS5: Shape Builder Tool

I’m slightly disappointed with the new Shape Builder Tool in Illustrator. Maybe it will shave a few seconds here and there, but it doesn’t let you do anything that you couldn’t do before… Here’s how to use it.

  • First, Select a group of overlapping objects. Remember to do this or the tool won’t work
  • Shape Builder Tool is grouped together with Live Paint and Live Paint Selection. Use [SHIFT+M] to activate it.
  • For the selected objects, drag over any regions that you want to combine, ALT+Drag any regions you want to delete
  • Use [SHIFT] to select regions as a marquee
  • and… that’s pretty much it…

like I said, disappointing. Here’s a bit more though

  • Double click on the Shape Builder Tool in the Tool bar to set its options.
  • Shape Builder Tool has gap detection, so  you can add/delete empty areas, or color them.
  • You can color regions straight from within the Shape Builder Tool
  • Like Live Paint, Shape Builder Tool can detect path segments as well, and can color those as well

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  1. Maher ghali
    2015/01/22 at 9:09 am

    the tool is adding more anchor points that is not necessary.. how can I override this problem !!

    • Canvai
      2015/01/22 at 9:47 am

      I don’t really use the Shape Builder Tool that much. I generally stick with my Pathfinder tools. But I doubt that will make a difference in terms of the number of anchor points it generates. If the shape isn’t too complex, you can try selecting the object and go to Object > Paths > Simplify, which will get rid of excess points. But it may also change the shape of your object.

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