How to Remove an Overlapped Path in Illustrator

By Payton Pritchard

Paths are the heartbeat of everything in Illustrator. Paths make up any drawing object or shape in the vector drawing program. Each path begins and ends with anchor points that make a path straight or curved. Therefore, any shape or drawing object you create in Illustrator can be changed simply by dragging or repositioning an anchor point. Two methods--the Scissors tool and Pathfinder--can be used to remove an overlapped path in Illustrator.

Scissors Tool

Step 1

Choose the "Rectangle" tool, and click on the art board. The Rectangle Options window will open. Set the rectangle width at two inches and the height at two inches. Make a second rectangle and overlap the corners of the two rectangles.

Step 2

Choose either the "Direct Selection" tool or the "Selection" tool, and click on the rectangle that is on top to make it active.

Step 3

Select the "Scissors" tool from the tools panel located under the Eraser and Knife tools. The Scissors tool allows you to cut a path at any anchor point or along a path.

Step 4

Click on the intersecting anchor point of the two paths using the Scissors. Click on the second intersection located where the path of the rectangle beneath meets the path of the rectangle on top.

Step 5

Select the "Direct Selection" tool, and click on the path located between the two cuts. Delete the path by hitting the "Delete" key on your keyboard.

Step 6

Click on the intersecting anchor point of the two paths using the Scissors. Click on the second intersection located where the path of the rectangle beneath meets the path of the rectangle on top.

Shape Modes

Step 1

Create three rectangles that are two inches in width and height. Make the shapes overlap.

Step 2

Click on the "Selection" tool, and click on each rectangle to fill with color and a stroke.

Step 3

Go to "Window," and choose "Pathfinder" to open the Pathfinder Panel if it isn't already open. A check next the panel means it is open.

Step 4

Select the three rectangles. On the Pathfinder panel, click on the "Unite" icon that is the first icon under Shape Modes. The three rectangles are now one shape and the overlapping paths have disappeared.