Combine and Clip Objects

Create complex shapes with Union, Intersect, Difference, Append and Divide.

Union

Union combines two or more shapes into a single shape object. Note, the new shape adopts the style of the top object in the selection.

  1. Select the shapes to be combined.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Click the Union button in the Geometry Tab, or
    • Choose ‘Graphic > Combine > Union’ from the main menu.
  3. Shapes are combined into a single object.

HINT: Using Union, Intersection or Difference with an open path produces undefined results (though Undo works to correct any unexpected outcomes).

Intersect

Intersect clips the bottom object(s) to the intersecting area of the top shape (shown here with a hatch fill), resulting in a new shape(s). Note, the remaining shape(s) maintains its original style.

  1. Select object(s) to be intersected and top clipping shape.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Click the Intersect button in the Geometry Tab, or
    • Choose ‘Graphic > Combine > Intersect’ from the main menu.
  3. Object(s) are clipped to the top clipping shape.

HINT: Using Union, Intersection or Difference with an open path produces undefined results (though Undo works to correct any unexpected outcomes).

Difference

Difference subtracts a portion of one shape (the top shape) from another (bottom) object(s). Note, the remaining shape(s) maintains its original style.

  1. Select the overlapping shapes to be subtracted from each other.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Click the Difference  button in the Geometry Tab, or
    • Choose ‘Graphic > Combine > Difference’ from the main menu.
  3. The top shape is subtracted from the bottom shape(s).

HINT: Using Union, Intersection or Difference with an open path produces undefined results (though Undo works to correct any unexpected outcomes).

Append

Combining like objects into single shapes can make your drawing more efficient. The Append command combines multiple shapes into a single shape object, with overlapping areas excluded from the new shape. Objects do not need to overlap to be appended together. Append is also appropriate for open paths, whereas the others work only with closed paths. Note, the new shape adopts the style of the top object in the selection.

  1. Select two or more shapes to be appended.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Click the Append  button in the Geometry Tab, or
    • Choose ‘Graphic > Combine > Append’ from the main menu.
  3. The selected shapes are appended into a single shape.

Divide

Use Divide to split shapes into separate objects. All selected shapes that are intersected by the top shape are sectioned simultaneously with Intersect and Difference operations. The top shape is removed and the remaining pieces left in place. The new shapes keep their original style or styles.

  1. Select the shapes to be intersected by the top cutter shape.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Click the Divide button in the Geometry Tab, or
    • Choose ‘Graphic > Combine > Cookie Cutter’ from the main menu.
  3. The bottom shape(s) is divided into separate shapes.

To Break Shapes Apart

Objects that have been appended together can be broken back apart into their original separate components.

  • Choose ‘Graphic > Combine > Break Apart’ from the main menu.

HINT: ‘Break Apart’ applies only to Appended objects. Union, Intersect, and Difference physically combine objects with the result equaling only one object. Cookie Cutter also physically alters the input shapes. Thus there are no longer objects to be broken apart. (The exception is if you apply Union to two objects that are not physically touching – the objects still exist separate from each other and thus can be broken apart.)