How To Use Knife Tool In Illustrator?

To use the Knife tool in Illustrator, select the tool, draw a path, then click and drag. The Knife tool cuts shapes where the path intersects, allowing you to create unique designs with precision.

Illustrator’s Knife tool provides endless creative possibilities for cutting and separating objects, making it an essential feature for graphic designers and illustrators. By mastering this tool, you can easily customize shapes, artwork, and designs to bring your creative vision to life.

In this guide, we will explore the steps to effectively utilize the Knife tool in Illustrator and unleash your artistic potential. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced user, understanding how to use the Knife tool will enhance your Illustrator workflow and help you achieve professional results.

How To Use Knife Tool In Illustrator?


Getting Started

To use the Knife Tool in Illustrator, you first need to open the program. Launch Illustrator by double-clicking on its icon on your desktop or selecting it from the Start menu. If you already have Illustrator open, you can create a new document by going to the “File” menu and clicking on “New”. This will open the New Document dialog box where you can specify the size, orientation, and other settings for your new document. Once you have set the desired options, click on the “Create” button to create a new document.

How To Use Knife Tool In Illustrator?


Accessing The Knife Tool

To access the Knife tool in Illustrator:

  • Selecting the Knife tool: Click and hold the Eraser tool in the toolbar, then select the Knife tool from the dropdown menu.
  • Finding the Knife tool in the toolbar: The Knife tool can be located by clicking and holding the Eraser tool in the toolbar and choosing the Knife tool from the options that appear.

Using The Knife Tool

Using the Knife Tool in Illustrator allows users to cut straight lines, curved lines, and shapes easily. Simply select the Knife Tool from the toolbar, then click and drag along the desired path to make a cut. For straight lines, ensure your drag is in a straight direction. To cut curved lines, follow the path of the curve precisely. When cutting shapes, make sure to intersect the edges effectively for clean cuts. Experiment with different cutting techniques to get comfortable with using the Knife Tool effectively.

Advanced Techniques

The Knife tool in Illustrator can be used for advanced techniques such as cutting shapes. Utilize it with guides to ensure precision. You can also combine the Knife tool with pathfinder options to create custom shapes and designs.

Tips And Tricks

Custom Knife tool shortcuts: To create custom shortcuts for the Knife tool in Illustrator, go to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts, select Tools in the dropdown menu, and assign your preferred shortcut for the Knife tool.

Undoing and editing knife cuts: You can undo knife cuts by pressing Ctrl+Z (Windows) or Command+Z (Mac). To edit knife cuts, use the Direct Selection tool (A) to select and manipulate the anchor points or paths created by the Knife tool.

How To Use Knife Tool In Illustrator?



The Knife tool in Illustrator is a powerful feature that allows users to cut paths and shapes with precision. However, there may be instances where the tool does not work as expected. If you find yourself facing this issue, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can try:

  1. Ensure that you have selected the object or path you want to cut with the Knife tool.
  2. Check if the knife icon is enabled in the Tools panel.
  3. Verify that the tool options are set correctly, such as the cutting method and mode.
  4. Make sure that the object you want to cut is not a grouped or clipped object. Ungroup or release the clipping mask if necessary.
  5. Ensure that you are using the latest version of Adobe Illustrator, as older versions may have compatibility issues.

Accidental cuts can happen if you are not careful with the Knife tool. Remember to always work on a duplicate or backup of your objects or paths to avoid any permanent damage. Take your time and practice using the tool on simpler shapes before attempting more complex cuts. By troubleshooting any issues and practicing safe usage, you can fully utilize the Knife tool in Illustrator for your creative projects.


Mastering the knife tool in Illustrator can greatly enhance your design capabilities. By learning to effectively use this feature, you can create unique and intricate designs with ease. With practice and experimentation, you’ll unlock a world of creative possibilities that will take your artwork to the next level.

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