How to Use the Scissors Tool in Illustrator

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Let’s learn about an indispensable tool in Adobe Illustrator.

It reminds you of a tool you use around your house frequently. As a graphic designer, this tool is one of the most useful. I use it every time I work on Illustrator. It’s fast and reliable. It cuts shapes and objects and gives me more control over my designs.  

The Scissors Tool works very similarly to a real pair of scissors; the only difference is that it’s easy, and much faster. You will need a starting point and an endpoint.

You can delete, edit, divide full shapes, or work on paths and segments.

I will show you in this tutorial where to find the Scissors Tool in Adobe Illustrator and two ways to use it. 

Check out this tutorial on How to Make Pie Charts in Illustrator.

Use it on Shapes or Paths

Start by opening a fresh document in Adobe Illustrator and selecting your preferred size document. There aren’t any specific document size values for this practice tutorial. We just need a blank space to work on. 

Where is the Scissors Tool?

It’s actually under the Eraser tool, which might be what you first see in the side Tool panel. Click and hold to grab the Scissors Tool (C). You can also use the shortcut by pressing C on your keyboard.  

Start by using the Rectangle Tool (M) and creating squares. We will add some shapes like lines, circles, and rectangles. 

With the Ellipse Tool (L), we will create a perfect circle from the Center point outward. Don’t forget to hold down the Alt + Shift key to start from the center point shown in the screenshot above.   

Now, for the fun part! Let’s cut our first shape. Grab the Scissors Tool

Click on the first anchor point where you want to break the path, then click on the second anchor point to separate the arc from the circle. 

You can now delete the part shown in the screenshot. Select the leftover path and press delete on your keyboard.

Let’s add more rectangles to our design. Create a rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M) to place on your artwork.

Position and rotate (45°) to get this result. Don’t forget to duplicate the rectangles about 5 times before you rotate. 

Let’s start cutting again! Select all shapes that you want to work on and select the Scissors Tool. Break the paths by clicking on all Anchor points, one by one. I selected all the rectangles together with the Selection Tool (V), then clicked on the intersection points where I wanted to break the segments. 

Select the divided segments you want to delete, by clicking and dragging your mouse with the Selection Tool (V) over all the segments you want to delete.  

And here you go! You didn’t need a bin, you just needed the Delete (DEL) button on your keyboard. You can also delete objects by selecting them, and then going to Edit > Cut from the overhead menu.

Add more shapes to your design. I added 4 circles.

Use the Direct Selection tool (A), to select all 4 circles. Following the same steps as before, delete the parts you don’t need anymore. 

It’s time to be creative! Add more shapes. Use the Shape Builder Tool, to add colors. You will have a beautiful background that you can add to your designs. Here is the final look!

Use the Scissors Tool on Text

Let’s write the word “Scissors” separately on the same artboard. 

Use the Type Tool (T), and write “Scissors” in big bold letters. 

We’re going to cut out some parts to add a cool effect. 

Right-click and click on Create Outlines to convert your text into an editable object.

With the Scissors Tool (C), click on two anchor points on the first letter.

Now, delete the separate section.

Follow the same steps and delete the parts or segments that you don’t need. 

You can play around and see for yourself!  

Remember the Scissors Tool only works on segments and anchor points. Your text must be outlined before cutting or dividing. Use the shortcut Shift+ Command + O for Mac / Shift + Ctrl + O for Windows.

You can divide a circle by simply clicking on 2 opposing anchor points. 

Try it yourself! 

Related Article: Best Vector Graphics Tool For Mac