It is often easier to design complex shapes in Adobe Illustrator by creating individual paths and endpoints first. When you connect these elements, the software offers several methods to help you take two or more of the end points and join them to make a continuous path. This procedure can be implemented with the Pen tool or by selecting end points or objects and using various shortcuts to the "Join" command to connect your paths into one.
Select the "Pen" tool, which looks like the end of a fountain pen, and click on the first endpoint you wish to join.
Click on the next endpoint to be joined. When it is positioned over the second endpoint, the Pen tool will appear with a small "Merge" symbol next to the pointer.
Repeat the process for addition endpoints, first selecting an end point and then clicking on the next one you want to join.
Join End Points
Select the "Direct Selection" tool, which looks like an white outlined arrow.
Click on individual endpoints to select the ones you wish to join. Alternately, you can use the "Marquee" tool and drag to select multiple endpoints -- especially effective when the endpoints are overlapping, since it is more difficult to select overlapping endpoints individually using the Direct Selection tool.
Right-click and select "Join" to merge the two endpoints into one path. Alternately, you can select the "Connect Selected End Points" button, which looks like two endpoints connected by a curved dash line, from the Control panel.
Choose the Selection tool, which looks a solid black arrow.
Select the open paths. In other words, instead of selecting endpoints, you are selecting entire lines or objects with endpoints you wish to connect.
Click "Object" and then "Path" and then "Join." Alternately, you can use the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl+J" on a PC or "Command+J" on a Mac.
Tips & Warnings
- The Pen tool is not effective if your path end points are overlapping. Use the "Join" method in this case.
- When joining multiple endpoints or objects, Illustrator first looks for and then joins paths with end points positioned closest to one another. The software then repeats this process until all paths are joined. When you select only one path to join, the command simply converts it into a closed path.
- Information in this article applies to Illustrator CS4, CS5, CS6 and CC. Procedures may vary with other versions or products.
- Photo Credit Ciaran Griffin/Lifesize/Getty Images