Clean up line work in Adobe Illustrator. Join paths, trim excess line segments from intersecting paths, and close any gaps between two open paths.

Analyze the artwork

Our sample illustration was created using the Pencil tool and has many paths that should be joined together. Some of these paths must be joined where they intersect, while others have gaps between them that should be closed to create clean-looking artwork.

Taking a look at the artwork

Select the Join tool

You’ll first add the Join tool to your Basic toolbar. Click the Edit Toolbar icon (three dots) at the bottom of the Basic toolbar. The All Tools drawer appears, which holds all the tools available in Illustrator.

To add the Join tool, you can drag it anywhere onto the toolbar or drag it onto a tool group to nest it. For now, drag it to the bottom of the toolbar.

Tip: To remove a tool, drag it from the toolbar to anywhere in the All Tools drawer. You can also choose Reset in the drawer’s options menu.

Selecting the Join tool

Join intersecting paths

In the practice file, a couple of areas in the artwork have two paths crossing over each other. Locate the area shown, and then drag over the excess portions of the paths. When you release the mouse, the two paths will be joined at their intersection into a single, complete path with the excess trimmed.

Joining two paths

Close a gap between two open paths

Locate the area of the artwork shown, which has a small gap between two paths. Enlarge your view with the Zoom tool before you join the lines. Select the Join tool and draw a line to connect the two paths.

Connecting two paths


You may notice other areas in the artwork where paths need to be joined or trimmed. Practice using the Join tool to clean up the illustration.

Use the Join tool to clean up the illustration

Great going! Now you can draw and edit your quick sketches without breaking a sweat.

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