Use Shape Builder Tool in Adobe Illustrator CS6

Edited by Freya, VisiHow, Eng, Anonymous

You're watching VisiHow. In this tutorial, we're going to show you how to use the "Shape Builder Tool" in Adobe Illustrator CS6 in Windows 7.

Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas185 455932.jpg

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Steps

  1. 1
    To begin, you should open Adobe Illustrator CS6 either from your desktop or by coming down to the bottom-left corner and clicking the Windows icon.
    This will reveal a list of recently used programs. You may find Illustrator on the list. It has a brown-and-orange icon with the letters "Ai".
    Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas16 620624.jpg
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  2. 2
    If you can't see Illustrator in the start menu, use the search bar along the bottom and start typing "Adobe Illustrator".
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  3. 3
    Click "Adobe Illustrator CS6".
    It will immediately start loading and take you directly to the workspace. We need a document now.
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  4. 4
    Click "File" in the horizontal menu in the top-left corner.
    Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas54 291582.jpg
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  5. 5
    Click "New..." to open up a new document.
    Alternatively, press "Ctrl" + "N" on the keyboard. You can also open an existing document. For more information, refer to our tutorials on how to create a new document and how to open documents.
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  6. 6
    For this tutorial, let's click "OK".
    With our document ready, you need shapes.
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  7. 7
    Click and drag "Rectangle Tool" to select "Ellipse Tool".
    Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas81 713267.jpg
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  8. 8
    Now, create two overlapping circles.
    For more information on how to do that, refer to our tutorials on how to create basic shapes and how to get perfect shapes. The "Shape Builder" tool merges different shapes together to create one shape.
    Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas85 094389.jpg
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  9. 9
    In order to use this tool, first click the "Selection Tool" black arrow.
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  10. 10
    Select both circles by dragging the marquee over the objects.
    A blue frame will appear around the selection, which means the selection is ready for editing together. They act like one object even though there are two.
    Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas104 740804.jpg
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  11. 11
    Next, click "Shape Builder Tool" in the vertical toolbar.
    It is located about halfway down on the left side. It has an icon of two circles with a line through them and an arrow. Alternatively, press "Shift" + "M" on your keyboard to use this tool.
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  12. 12
    If you move the cursor over sections of the objects, the tool will automatically highlight areas in gray.
    You will notice that there is "+" next to the cursor, which indicates that the selected shapes will be added together.
    Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas136 163464.jpg
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  13. 13
    Click and drag the cursor to draw a line across the two circles.
    You will see that the gray area will show the mergence, and the red line will show the outline of the new shape.
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  14. 14
    Let go of the mouse button.
    A new shape will be formed.
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  15. 15
    Let's press "Ctrl" + "Z" to step back several times.
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  16. 16
    You can "subtract" shapes by holding the "Alt" key.
    "-" will appear next to the cursor.
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  17. 17
    Now, click and drag the cursor to draw a line across a shape.
    A portion of the object will be highlighted.
    Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas186 39324.jpg
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  18. 18
    Let go of the button and the key.
    The highlighted portion will be removed.
    Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas187 419172.jpg
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  19. 19
    Double-click the "Shape Builder Tool" icon on the vertical toolbar to change the settings.
    A new window will open.
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  20. 20
    You can check the "Gap Detection" option.
    This option may be useful if you want to have a gap between the shapes. It is recommended to leave the default settings is you are new to the tool.
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  21. 21
    You can change "Options".
    For example, you can check "In Merge Mode, Clicking Stroke Splits the Path". This option will work in the same way as "Scissors Tool", which is shown in the tutorial on how to use the "Eraser Tool", "Knife Tool", and "Scissors Tool".
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  22. 22
    Click the "Pick Color From" drop-down menu.
    Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas243 71646.jpg
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  23. 23
    You can click "Artwork" or "Color Swatches".
    This will select colors from the either source. It is recommended to leave the default setting, which is "Color Swatches". The final options are under "Highlight".
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  24. 24
    You can check or uncheck the "Fill" and the "Highlight Stoke when Editable" options.
    Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas251 187118.jpg
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  25. 25
    You can click the "Color" drop-down menu.
    This will change the outline color when clicking and dragging the line across the object with the use of the tool. For example, if you already have a lot of red objects on your canvas, you may want to use this drop-down menu to change your highlight color.
    Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas264 988922.jpg
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  26. 26
    Press "OK" to apply any changes.
    Use the Shape Builder Tool on Adobe Illustrator CS6.mp4-canvas273 886255.jpg
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This concludes our tutorial showing you how to use the "Shape Builder Tool" in Adobe Illustrator CS6 in Windows 7. If you have any questions or queries regarding this tutorial, just add them to the comment section below. Thank you for choosing VisiHow!

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Video: Use Shape Builder Tool in Adobe Illustrator CS6

Questions and Answers

Object dimensions change after filling with the Shape Builder Tool/Paint Bucket Tool?

Hello, I already wrote in Adobe forum about this issue (https://forums.adobe.com/message/8339546#8339546) and tried all suggestions to solve this problem, but still nothing… I'm using Mac and newest Illustrator CC version (19.2.0). So the problem is that when I fill an object with a Shape Builder Tool/Paint Bucket Tool that object dimensions always changes. You can see an example in a picture - https://www.dropbox.com/s/qkvhhtej46pdhx4/Screen%2BShot%2B2015-12-27%2Bat%2B03.07.24.png?dl=0 (it's just an example, I don't use bucket for simple objects like this circle, but for more complicated objects it's very useful). I created 35x35mm circle and used Shape Builder Tool 3 times in a row and each time I got different results. This problem occurs only with millimeters. Maybe you know how to solve this problem? This is very important to me, because I just can't work like this. It would be very helpful to get an answer. Thank you.

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Recent edits by: Eng, VisiHow, Freya

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