How To Cut Objects In Illustrator

Being able to cut and edit shapes is an essential part of editing while working in Illustrator. It allows users to transform objects into their desired shapes and enhance their work. So, how can you cut an object in Illustrator?

There are many ways to cut objects in Illustrator. Knowing each method in case the others do not work is crucial. You can use the pathfinder tool, the knife tool, or the eraser tool to cut and edit your  Illustrator objects.

Continue reading to learn more about each of the methods stated above. 

Using The Pathfinder Tool For Cutting Objects

The pathfinder tool includes several options for cutting objects. Follow these steps to use this method:

1. Open “windows” from the overhead menu.

2. Then, click on “pathfinder” to access the tools in it.

Among the several options that can be used to cut shapes in the pathfinder tool are trimming and dividing. The “trim tool” is beneficial as it only cuts the object from the top layer, which creates a paper-cut effect. It can easily be used to create logo cutouts.

Additionally, the “divide tool” within the pathfinder cuts and splits the selected objects into different parts. It does so along the path of intersection on the shape. This tool can be beneficial when moving objects around to create a shape poster. 

Using The Knife Tool For Cutting Objects

If you find it challenging to use the pathfinder tool, you can use the knife tool instead. Keep reading to learn this method:

1. Go to the “tools” menu and select the “knife tool” found below the “eraser” tool.

2. Then, draw a line through the shape in the way you want to cut it.

3. If you want to draw straight lines for cutting, press on the “alt” for Windows or “option” for the Mac key while making the line.

4. Next, if you hold “shift” while pressing “alt” and drawing the line. The line will get fixed at a 45 degrees angle.

Other methods of cutting an object in Illustrator include the eraser tool.

The following video describes methods of cutting objects in Illustrator:

How To Use The Eraser Tool To Cut Objects

To use this method, follow these steps:

1. Go to the toolbar on the left side of your workspace and click on the “eraser” tool. Alternatively, select the keyboard shortcut “shift + E” to select it.

2. Then, go over the required part of the shape that you need to cut.

3. To brush over larger areas of an object, you can increase the eraser side. To adjust its size, press the right or left square brackets “[, ].”

However, while using the eraser tool to cut objects, you must remember that it only works on vector images. Thus, the eraser tool cannot cut live text or raster images.


Cutting an object is required when editing them to increase your work’s quality. In Illustrator, you can use several methods to cut objects, including the pathfinder tool, knife tool, or eraser tool. 

However, the knife tool is the easiest to use because it is more user-friendly and simple to understand, even for beginners.