There Must Be A Way: Trimming Groups Of Lines To Fit Complex Shape – Illustrator

This doesn’t seem complex, and I’m not a beginner but can’t figure it out or find answer online.

I want to be able to trim a series of lines to fit in a complex shape (lay the shape over a group of stroked paths and trim them so only segments that are within the shape remain). I want actual truncated line segments left so that I can apply strokes, widths, profiles and brushes to what’s left.

I understand clipping masks (but they don’t leave new endpoints for width/brushes) and envelopes (which bend/distort lines to fit) and have tried all of the pathfinder options with no luck. I can of course just use scissors and cut-cut-cut at each intersecting point, but this isn’t a one-off shape it’s a process that I want to be able to repeat often across several works.

Essentially it should just be a clipping mask that cuts/deletes line segments outside it and leaves actual line segments (not shapes) behind…seems simple and an obvious function, but I’m stumped. (I’m in CS6)

Thanks for any help!


  1. select all the lines to be trimmed and the shape
    enter image description here

  2. grab the Shape Builder Tool, and Alt+Drag from A to B with it
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  1. repeat on other places as necessary

  2. on more complex shapes, where Alt+Dragging in a straight line is not possible, you can Alt+Click on individual lines to delete one by one.

Source : Link , Question Author : bleacherboy , Answer Author : Carlos Canto

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