How to use join tool in Illustrator tutorial

Learn how to use the join tool in Illustrator CC 2018 2017 etc to combine and trim paths

Illustrator join tool

join tool for Illustrator and how to join and trimming paths and lines
  1. Select two open Illustrator paths - two lines for the join tool to be used in Illustrator

  2. Toolbar and shaper tool (join tool is beneath that)

  3. Select the join tool in Illustrator

  4. Pass over the closest ends of the paths with the tool

The JT (Join tool) is found beneath the shaper tool in Illustrator toolbar. The Illustrator JT works quickly with two paths. Simply pass the JT over the paths and the paths will be combined (as long as the JT allows this - if the paths are not pointing in the same direction then they cannot be welded).


Video tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


The Illustrator JT is super easy to use and apply and combine different paths in seconds. The JT results in a sharp point design.



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The JT for Illustrator is found beneath the shaper tool in Illustrator toolbar and is for combining paths and trimming paths / lines / open paths etc. It works using two lines either selected or not (though personally, I generally select the paths I use and then use the JT with the Illustrator paths)


Example : select two open paths such as two lines, Go to the JT in the Illustrator toolbar, Pass over the closest ends of the two paths (and hope)


I say hope as the Illustrator JT is a tool with a mind of its own and I am certain it is coded (unless it really does work using magic) in a particular way with logic to work with lines at a certain angle to each other or lines that are crossing but at times, it can also be an amazingly frustrating tool to use as even though the lines look as much the same as another pair, those lines will not weld. Anyway, this tutorial shows the observations of the JT that seem to work 99% of the time with lines and open paths but I am certain you will find times when it just will refuse to connect a path even though the path look super close.


Another point with the JT is that it will result in a point, a sharp point in most cases and there is no preference to force it just to create a point to point (as with the pen tool) nor for it to generate anything other than a sharp point in the connection (no wavy or smooth edge)


If there is a fairly major overlap with the paths, you may find the connection fails and instead you will trim the paths. The JT is very dependent on where you pass over the paths. If you use the tool with a path overlapping another, and you use the JT close to the overlap then the paths will be trimmed. The same paths can also be connected if you pass the tool over the end segments. This is particularly the case with multiple point paths or curved paths created with the curvature tool. It also depends where the pass over happens, if the overlap is a fair distance away then the lines will not be trimmed (again this is just an observation and I am certain you will find circumstances where the opposite happens)


two paths

You can see two lines with both lines point towards each other at one end and the other ends heading off to eternity. You can use the JT over the ends that are angled towards each other. There is a cut off point where the angle is too great for the JT to process the paths and in that case, the connection will fail. You can angle the line so they are close to parallel and the JT will not work, you can then angle them at say about 80 degrees so they are fairly parallel and the JT will not work but at some point where the angles can be welded (without the weld flying off the page / artboard etc) you will get a sharp connection when you pass the two lines with the JT.


An example : create a line using the line segment tool. Create another line using the line segment tool. Place the lines close together such as on the right. Point the ends of the lines towards each other. Select JT. Draw over the end of the lines with the JT


There also seems to be an issue with distance. If you select the same paths on the right image and perhaps move one of those paths down the page a little (but not changing the angle) and then try the JT, it will at some point stop working even though the displayed angle is exactly the same. lines fail.



The JT in Illustrator can also be used as a powerful trimming tool as well as a JT.


The clipping works if you have a line butting close to an existing line.


The clipping works if the lines crossover.


Again, the JT does depend on the distance of the lines from each other (too far away and the clipping will fail). The trimming is applied to the smallest part of the lines. If you can't trim the crossover lines, the tool just doesn't do anything - there is no dialog box with an error message (a rarity from an Adobe application). You can draw over a different part of the crossover and the cut / add will be ignored. Create a line using the line segment tool. Create another line using the line segment tool. Rotate them and have the paths crossover.


An example being : select the JT in the toolbar. Draw over the smallest part of the crossover (the trailing parts of the lines) and the JT should then trim the lines and replace the two with one single sharp pointed line


Keywords : How to use join tool in Illustrator tutorial


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