How To Cut A Circle In Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is recognized for editing and creating vector graphics due to its rich tools engine, which lets you reach the same goal in various ways. This means that if you want to cut a circle for a logo, pamphlet, character, or any design, you can do so in different ways. So what are the easy methods to cut a circle in Illustrator?

After you create the circle, you can use three features to cut your circle easily: Scissors Tool, the Knife Tool, and the Clipping Mask feature. You will first select the circle and then use the knife or scissors to cut it however you want. Alternatively, you can make a Clipping Mask to use another shape to mask parts of the circle you want to crop.

Although there are multiple ways to cut a circle in Illustrator, it is important to know the easy methods to develop a fast yet efficient workflow in making your design. In this article, you will find out how to cut a circle in Illustrator in three easy ways.

Cutting A Circle In Illustrator: Three Easy Ways

The Scissors Tool method, Knife Tool method, and Clipping Mask are one of the many features that you can use to cut a circle in Illustrator. You can follow the above-explained steps for each method to cut a circle:

Using the knife tool

  1. First, select the circle using Selection Tool (V). This will show you anchor points.
  2. Proceed to select the Knife Tool from the left toolbar in the Eraser Tool category. You can also put it there using the Edit Toolbar option if you can’t find it.
  3. Use the tool to cut out any shape you want. Once you cut it, select the layer with the cut shape and use the Selection Tool to move or delete the cut part which you don’t want.

Here’s a video to clarify these steps further: 

Scissors tool

  1. Click on the Scissors Tool under the Eraser Tool in the Tools panel. Alternatively, press C to select it.
  2. Now you can cut the circle by clicking on one anchor point at the edge to another at the edge. It is also possible to create a third anchor point with the Scissors Tool to make one more cut.
  3. Use the Selection Tool to move the cut parts away. Delete the part which you don’t want.

Making a Clipping Mask

In this method, only the parts of the circle inside the second shape that we will use as a “mask” will be visible.

  1. You will first create another shape to use as a mask. It will be called the clipping path.
  2. Move this clipping path above the circle you want to mask in the layers panel. Use the Direct Selection Tool to move it above the circle on the artboard according to the shape you want to cut.
  3. Once you are done, select the clipping path and the circle and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make.


We can conclude from the article that Illustrator allows us to cut a circle in various ways, among which these three may be easier. You can find out which method works best for you through our guide.