Using the Shape Builder tool (), you can visually and intuitively merge, delete, fill, and edit overlapping shapes and paths directly in the artwork. You can also use the Pathfinder effects, which can be found using the Effects menu or the Pathfinder panel, to create new shapes out of overlapping objects. As you saw in Lesson 3, “Using Shapes to Create Artwork for a Postcard,” shapes can also be combined using the Shaper tool.
The Scissors tool () is meant to split a path, graphics frame, or empty text frame at an anchor point or along a segment. The Knife tool () cuts objects along a path you draw with the tool, dividing objects. When you cut a shape with the Scissors tool, it becomes an open path. When you cut a shape with the Knife tool, they become closed paths.
To erase in a straight line with the Eraser tool (), you need to press and hold the Shift key before you begin dragging with the Eraser tool.
In the Pathfinder panel, when a shape mode (such as Unite) is applied, the original objects selected are permanently transformed, but you can hold down a modifier key, and the original underlying objects are preserved. When a Pathfinder effect (such as Merge) is applied, the original objects selected are permanently transformed.
Paths, like a line, can show a stroke color but not a fill color by default. If you create a line in Illustrator and want to apply both a stroke and a fill, you can outline the stroke, which converts the line into a closed shape (or compound path).