Use the Illustrator Join tool to join segments and points

The Join Tool in Illustrator isn’t the most exciting, featured-packed, weapon in your Adobe arsenal but it does make short work of what was once a laborious process.

Nested in with the Pencil and Shaper Tools the Join Tool is essentially a brush, but unlike other brush tools in Illustrator there are no editable parameters and the brush size is fixed.

join tool in illustrator

What is does do is join segments and points together quickly and easily. In the example below there are 2 lines overlapping – draw over the intersection and the 2 paths are now joined to form a corner. You’ll see that the length of each segment has a bearing over what gets joined and what is considered redundant and is deleted in the process. Since the 2 upper stems of this intersection are shorter than the lower ones these are deleted and the lower part of the shape is retained.

joining overlapping paths in indesign

If I change the line lengths and repeat the process we end up with a different result.

change line lengths then join

The Join Tool is quick to use as it doesn’t require any great accuracy – paint near the intersect and it does the rest for you, dividing joining and removing on-the-fly.

Notice in the examples above none of the elements were selected. By selecting content we can specify which elements we wish to join without the need for locking, hiding or moving content in the same area. Only 2 of the 3 lines below are active but even when painting over both intersections only the active elements are affected by the Join Tool.

only active elements affected by join

It’s worth clarifying that the Join Tool only works on segments and open paths so it won’t join shapes or compound paths together. That said, it will complete an open path and does so with a degree of intelligence.

In the examples below you’ll see each path is completed in the most logical way according to the direction of the lines and curves within the existing shape.

blog pic 170

So there you have it! If you would like to get more comfortable with Illustrators wide range of powerful tools then why not learn Adobe Illustrator with a Highlander course.

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