Join Paths

AG Trim and Join Tool

AG Trim and Join Tool Operation

Illustrator Location: Advanced Toolbar > Eraser Stack > AG Trim and Join Tool

As the AG Trim and Join tool has several keypresses which can add or change its functionality, we suggest installing the free Astute Graphics plugin Astute Buddy, which creates a panel that dynamically updates to inform you of the various keys which can be pressed in the tool’s current context.

Much of the functionality of the AG Trim and Join tool is also available in the Dynamic Sketch tool. However, that tool requires the Shift modifier key to be pressed to enable trimming, and does not offer style-dependent joining.

To use the AG Trim and Join tool, simply drag it across a path, over the part that you want removed. A dashed line (blue by default) will show you the path of the tool. Cuts are made at the nearest intersection with another path, not at the position where the tool was dragged over the path:

AG Trim and Join Tool Trimming Example

AG Trim and Join Tool Trimming Example

Multiple paths may be trimmed in one pass:

AG Trim and Join Tool Trimming Multiple Paths Example

AG Trim and Join Tool Trimming Multiple Paths Example

For closed paths to be trimmed, they must be intersected in at least two positions by another path (or must self-intersect). However, only one section of a closed path can be trimmed at a time:

AG Trim and Join Tool Trimming Closed Path Example

AG Trim and Join Tool Trimming Closed Path Example

The path(s) to be trimmed need not be selected. However, if the preference Prefer Selected Paths is enabled, then when the tool is dragged across a mix of both selected and unselected paths, only the selected paths will be trimmed.

When a path with variable width stroke is trimmed, AG Trim and Join attempts to retain the width profile(s) of the untrimmed section(s) as they existed prior to the trimming.

If the tool preference Auto-Join Paths After Trimming is enabled, trimmed paths which contain an endpoint which is at the same spot as another path endpoint will be joined to that path (unless sub-preferences are set which only allow joining under certain circumstances; see AG Trim and Join: Preferences).

AG Trim and Join Tool - Auto-Join Paths Example

AG Trim and Join Tool - Auto-Join Paths Example

When paths with variable stroke widths are joined, the width profiles of each section will be preserved as best as possible. Note that this is in contrast to joining the paths with the native Command/Ctrl-J, which instead takes the stroke width profile for the joined path from the topmost of the original paths.

Keypresses

While dragging the tool to trim a path, several keys may be pressed to held down for additional options:

Esc: Aborts the current trim operation (nothing will happen when the mouse button is released).

Option/Alt: Starts a “rubberband” section – a completely straight section that stretches between the point at which the modifier key was held down and the point at which it is released.

Shift: When creating a rubberband section, constrains the rubberband to angles that are 45° increments around the general constrain angle.

C: Changes the annotation color (for the dashed line preview) among the following choices: blue (default), red, magenta, green, cyan, and black.

J: Forces joining of paths for the current operation, even when the preference is set to not join.

N: Forces no joining of paths for the current operation, even when the preference is set to join.