How to Use Adobe Illustrator Shape Builder Tool

Let’s build some shapes!



Today’s tutorial is a simple breakdown of the incredible Shape Builder tool inside Adobe Illustrator. For those of you who may be new to Illustrator, you’ll want to pay close attention to this one. The Shape Builder tool lets you combine, edit, and fill shapes that are within your artboard. Follow the steps below to learn the ropes and get the hang of it.


How to Merge Shapes in Adobe Illustrator

How to merge shapes in adobe Illustrator

Draw overlapping shapes and use the shape builder tool to drag over the two shapes to create one solid shape. The shapes you wish to combine need to both be selected when using the shape builder tool.


How to Extract Shapes in Adobe Illustrator

How to extract shapes in adobe Illustrator

Draw overlapping shapes, while still selected, click the overlapping section using the shape builder tool. This will turn that area into its own independent shape. From here you can ungroup the selection and remove the overlapped portion.


How to Erase Shapes in Adobe Illustrator

How to erase shapes in adobe Illustrator

Draw overlapping shapes, while still selected hold the Alt key and drag with the shape builder tool over top of the shapes you wish to erase. This will completely get rid of any unwanted areas.


How to Create Shapes in Adobe Illustrator 

How to create shapes in adobe Illustrator

In our example we’ve arranged four circles in an overlapping fashion that creates a star shaped negative space between the four circles. Using the shape builder tool click the negative space to turn it into its own shape. From here you can use your selection tool to delete the original four circles, leaving you with a brand new shape that was created from the negative space.


The shape builder tool makes creating shapes, cleaning up selections, and executing fine details within a selection super easy and efficient. Take the stress off of having to pen tool everything and let simple shapes do the work for you!

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