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Shape Builder Tools
How to use the Shape Builder Tool.
When to use
Anytime you wish to join shapes together, or create entirely new shapes from separate ones, the Shape Builder Tool is a perfect tool for the job. This can be great for creating things like badges or containers similar to what you might see in a logo design.
- Begin by opening the Shape Builder Tool - Exercise.ai file
- In the Illustrator file, you will notice that in the first row you have a rectangle, then a hexagon, and in the second row a circle, then a rectangle.
- Use your Selection Tool (V) to grab the hexagon in the first row, and hold down the Shift Key while dragging it over to the left so that the top and bottom of the shape line up with the top and bottom of the rectangle.
- Then, hold down the Alt/Option+Shift keys and drag a copy of the hexagon all the way to the other side so that you have one copy on both sides of the rectangle.
- Use your Selection Tool to click and drag around all three of these shapes so that they are selected simultaneously.
- Next, grab the Shape Builder Tool from the toolbar.
- Click inside of the hexagon shape all the way to the left and notice how a small grid appears inside of the shape.
- As you proceed to click and drag towards the right you will notice that there is a red bounding box around the shapes.
- Drag all the way across to the far right hexagon and then release the cursor.
- You have now joined these three shapes together and unified them into one single shape.
- From here you can use the Selection Tool, Free Transform Tool, Rotate Tool etc. to modify this shape without having to select the three individual shapes that we started with.
- Try the same thing with the circle and the rectangle in the second row.
- The keyboard shortcut for the Shape Builder Tool is Shift+M on the keyboard.
- You can use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select any points from a merged shape to further modify or tweak the appearance of the shape once it has been unified.
- You can also use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to round a corner if you have a shape with a hard edge that you want to change.
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