How do I join/blend lines in Adobe Illustrator?

Dear Lazyweb

I have to do some work using Adobe Illustrator (eek!) for the BarCamp I’m helping to organise. I have some graphical elements in a drawing that I want to join/blend so they don’t look yuck. I have not the faintest idea of how to achieve the desired result.

Anyone able to help me?

43 Replies to “How do I join/blend lines in Adobe Illustrator?”

  1. I know how to join the ends of two different paths.

    1. Choose the Direct Selection tool.
    2. Click and drag to select the two endpoints.
    3. Go to Edit>Paths>Join.

    I’m doing this by memory as Illustrator is not on my computer at the time so some instructions may be off.

  2. Not quite…

    Illustrator screenshot

    The image above shows the lines I want to blend/join. When I follow your instructions, it blends from the two furthest endpoints and not the two closest…

  3. Hmm, I would have to have the source file to try figuring it out with my limited Illustrator knowledge… :-/

    Perhaps trying other path adjustments would work? Other than that, I have no clue. :(

  4. Goose’s instructions are basically correct. You may not understand their details.

    0. Make sure nothing is selected (Select > Deselect).
    1. Use the Direct Select tool (the hollow arrow).
    2. Select ONLY the two points you want to connect (drag may not work): try click on one then shift-click on the second).
    3. Object > Path > Join.

    — Nancy
    teacher of AI

  5. This isn’t working for me either. My problem is that I cannot select ONLY the two end points– when I click on the end point, it selects the entire segment. When I join the paths, AI yells at me and says I can’t join them unless they are two endpoints…

    Am I doing something completely wrong? How do I select only ONE point to join to another?

    Thanks in advance!

  6. Use the Direct Selection tool (the white arrow at the top RIGHT of the toolbar), not the black arrow.

    Make sure nothing is selected (Select > Deselect) before you start.

  7. Hi

    I am having the same problem that Stephen was having, hoever when I followed the advice given here, I got a message saying “To join, you must select two open endpoints. If they are not on the same path, they cannot be on text pathsnor inside graphs, and if both of them are grouped, they must be in the same group”

    I have done everything that message says. still it will not work. Anyone able to help me?


  8. I see this message occasionally, even though I use AI a lot. Things to try:
    (1) Make sure they’re endpoints only connected in one direction.
    (2) Make absolutely sure that each path is not part of a group or compound path or anything (select and look at every possible Un- command on the Object menu and its submenus).
    (3) Make sure you haven’t selected more than one point at the end of the path. Sometimes there are two right on top of each other — see what happens when you us the Delete Point (the Pen-minus) tool.
    (4) Quit and relaunch AI.

    Here’s a workaround:
    (1) Choose the Pen tool.
    (2) Approach one endpoint. When you see the Pen icon get a tiny slash to its lower right, click.
    (3) You’ve selected the point as though you just drew it, so you can continue the path.
    (4) Approach the destination endpoint. When you see the Pen icon get a tiny square-with-dash-through to its lower right, click.
    (5) You should now have the points “joined”. Use Convert Anchor tool as needed.

  9. do this:
    1-select direct selection tool (the white arrow)
    2-drag an area over the points you want to join.
    3-if there are other paths selected press shift and click to deselect them.
    4-Object– Path– Join…

  10. Manufus:
    You are the hero of the day.
    I have struggled with this one too and in one simple step you have shown me the light!

  11. I say Nancy’s the hero here… she helped me figure it out, and then I figured out a better way… zooooooooom in until you can actually see where the 2 points are separated (in outline mode) and you can see the point you need to select to join :)

  12. Thanks Nancy,

    I had the same problem and your advice no. 2 helped me!

    (2) Make absolutely sure that each path is not part of a group or compound path or anything (select and look at every possible Un- command on the Object menu and its submenus).

  13. I still cannot get this to work.

    I have 3 shapes. And when I select the end points I’m still getting the error message everyone else has got!

  14. dave! the meaning of end points dosnt mean the sides of a shape, its the end and/or beginning of a line or semi-shape.

  15. ah, i get it.
    what i did was goto pathfinder and select “add to shape area” – that allowed me to basically join my 3 shapes into one, and therefore let me add a gradient to the 1 shape, as opposed to the 3 shapes individually.

    if that makes sense.

  16. I’ve discovered that if you do it in the preview mode so the lines are REALLY thin, make sure they’re not on top of each other – you even have to pull them away just a bit. Then – select one end point, shift and click it again, then still holding shift, do the same to the other line, then join. It works! But you may have to use the direct selection tool to drag the one line back in place. What a hassle…

  17. This was driving me nuts. In my case I found out there were two sets of lines for some reason – one right on top of the other, so they looked just like one set. I had to use the Direct Selection Tool to delete one set (click and delete key). The other Selection Tool (V) would just select the whole thing. After that I was able to join the ends.

  18. I found a solution to this problem if you are working with separate paths. Select the first path and go to the layers pallette. Click the arrow in front of the layer to go to the sublayers. Fing the group that your path is in and click that arrow and it will be another sublayer. Move the Path above the group layer. The group layer will be gone leaving you with just the path layer. Rinse and repeat for your other paths.

    You can now join to your hearts delight. I think maybe the problem is when you complete a path it changes it to a group. When you delete points and make it just a segmented path again it retains that group status. Or maybe it’s just a bug.

  19. I am having the same problem. Adobe Illustrator is the most tedious, unintuitive program in the world. None of these fixes work, and it should not be this complicated to take the end of one stroke, and join it seamlessly with the end of another stroke. Why can’t i select one endpoint, drag it onto another, and have at least the option to connect them smoothly? I am only beginning to learn and I know it can have powerful uses once you get your head around it all, but I have to say I hate this program. If anyone has any better, clearer advice on the very simple task of connecting indepedent strokes onto one another at endpoints, please, by all means.

  20. Brad – John here, about 10 posters back.
    You’re so damn right !!! I would describe Adobe products as INEPT. And Macs are just too overrated and underpowered and overpriced. They are like Rolls Royce kind of look but with a sewing machine engine inside. Thus Intel Core 2 Duo . . . Big %$#$@# deal.

  21. If you did everything that Nancy recommended and you still couldn’t join, look to see if there is a compound path. if there is, release it, join as per Nancy’s rec’s then re-make compound path – It’s under the object menu. the same goes for a clipping mask.

    This is a common problem when trying to connect paths from outlined text.

    Illustrator, though very complex, is a great program with high capabilities. It is more advanced than Corel. Most people get frustrated when they want to use it to do something seeming simple yet are not very experienced with it. I use AI, ID, and PS everyday and love them all!!! I just wish they would standardize them more (i.e. key commands etc.)

  22. The problem I had while connecting paths was actually that specific paths (under layers menu) were not in the same parent. Let me know if it helps!

  23. Thanks for the suggestion Matt, not like we’ve all done that before. I have it sorted now – the thing is this program lacks an intuitive intelligence so that ‘things happen’, easily and on command.

  24. Nancy, thank you so much, you helped a lot. I was working for hours to figure this one. I went to all submenus in Object menu. I had to release a compound path and then it worked.

  25. Select the shape go to Object menu and make sure that you release the coumpound path, do the same with another shape you want to join. Then shift click both end points on different shapes and click Join. Woked Perfect.

  26. Please! I still cannot select ONLY one endpoint! Even with the white hollow arrow, it selects the whole line!

  27. This page was helpful to me — I also thought I had my two lines whose endpoints I wanted to join alone together in a single layer. The only solution for me was, with Daniel’s tip — turning off the compound path. what a relief!
    to Emma — select the whole line with your hollow arrow. THEN click on one endpoint with the same hollow arrow. this should work. it’s helpful to zoom in on an area, turn all your other layers off, whatever it takes for you to see the little square boxes that are the paths of your line.

  28. Those of you still having trouble, there was one point that was not touched upon. The joining that most of you were referring to was the joining of two points from, let’s say, a path. I think those that were having most trouble were trying to join two points from a path of a closed shape. What I’ve done is simply selected the portion of the path that is going to be joined together (in other words, select each path between the points you will be joining) and deleting them. You should now have two incomplete shapes. Now click on the two separate points from the two incomplete shapes and click CTRL+J (on a PC). This did it for me. Hope it helps.

  29. I had trouble woith this too until I asked a colleague.

    If you’re coming from Freehand like I did it’s worth noting that unlike Freehand guides are selectable and treated as drawing objects, so if you have a guide selected as well as the points you’re trying to join you’ll get the “To join, you must select two open endpoints. If they are not on the same path, they cannot be on text pathsnor inside graphs, and if both of them are grouped, they must be in the same group” error.

    To fix this either de-select the guides or lock them so you cant select them and only have the points selected.

  30. All of the above failed for me – here’s what worked.
    The endpoints in this situation seem to be corrupted, for want of a better word, and so aren’t recognised by AI as open endpoints. But if we select all of the line except for the endpoint and copy/paste, Illustrator will automatically make a new open endpoint in place of the old one. This endpoint will join as it should. So:

    1. Select one of the lines you are trying to join with the (black) Selection tool. Then use Shift and the (white/hollow) Direct Selection tool to deselect the endpoint which you want to join. This means that all of the line except the very endpoint is selected, including the section of line which leads to the endpoint.
    2. Copy and paste. When you paste, the line will be the same as the original, but a new endpoint is added, replacing the faulty one which would not join.
    3. Repeat for the other line if necessary.
    4. Join the two endpoints as normal.

  31. I just have to say, I find illustrator EXTREMELY unintuitive, and drives me nuts very often trying to do the simplest things.

  32. I have problem to fill up the texts which import from AutoCAD. The outlines of those fonts are several lines and arcs connect together but they are separated. I can’t fill up inside unless those lines joint together.
    Anyone can help me?

  33. Another item that will make an endpoint join impossible is a selected guide.
    Check for a selected guide if you use them.
    Unfortunately, guides are most needed in this kind of operation and the open pointer tool will select them every time when you marquee select the end points.

  34. Dean,

    Yours was the solution that worked for me. Bless you for figuring that out. I wonder if it really is a bug, or if there’s some other solution that the cut-and-paste method inadvertently brings about.

  35. How about MULTIPLE line segments. I have some lines copied from Excel charts. The curved chart line is broken up into hundreds of segments when copied into AI. I want to draw the lines as dashed but the individual line segments are too short to show a dash so I only get long strait segments looking dashed. I need to join all the little line segments, that make up the curve, together into one continuous line. I don’t have the time or patience to select every single endpoint pair and join each segment one at a time. How can I connect all the line segments at once. The endpoints of each line segment overlaps with the next line segment so it should be simple for the program to figure out which two endpoints should be connected.

    Any ideas?

  36. Wow, joining paths really is almost impossible. :-( Ok, I do manage to join the paths I want to join after following the different advice above. However, it’s still not exactly as I want it to be. The problem is that the end-points I want to join are overlapping, and in order to make them to join I have to move the paths away from each other. I don’t manage to join the endpoints as long as they are overlapping.

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