Shape Builder Tool
The Shape Builder is a powerful tool that allows you to create complex shapes within seconds.
With the Shape Builder Tool, you can merge or erase intersecting parts of multiple selected shapes.
You can create complex shapes within seconds with our powerful Shape Builder Tool. Unite multiple shape parts or subtract them from each other. This technique helps develop shapes for geometric logos, lettering, and illustrations.
The functionality of the Shape Builder Tool is similar to that of the Boolean operations, where you merge two shapes into a single one.
Learn more about Boolean Operations in the corresponding Learning Hub section →
The Shape Builder Tool ~ic-shape-builder~~ic-shape-builder~ on Mac is visible below the Shape Tool in the Toolbar or by pressing the ~key~ M ~key~ keyboard shortcut.
When you have activated the Shape Builder Tool ~ic-shape-builder~~ic-shape-builder~, the two following modes will be available:
- The Merge Mode ~ic-merge-mode-sb~~ic-merge-mode-sb~
- The Erase Mode ~ic-erase-mode-sb~~ic-erase-mode-sb~
You can switch between the Merge Mode and the Erase Mode while drawing via shortcut. Hold down the ~key~ ⌥ ~key~ key while drawing to swap modes.
In Vectornator, the Merge Mode is set by default. When you switch between tools, Vectornator remembers the mode you selected last. For example, if you set the Erase Mode, use another Tool, and switch back to the Shape Builder Tool, the Erase Mode will still be active.
As soon as you close and reopen a saved document, Vectornator automatically reverts to Merge Mode.
Below, we’ll explain the differences between the Merge Mode and the Erase Mode.
With the Merge Mode ~ic-merge-mode-sb~~ic-merge-mode-sb~, you can unite the intersecting parts of multiple selected shapes and convert them into a single complex shape, similar to the Boolean Operation Unite.
The Merge Mode is set in Vectornator as the default mode of the Shape Builder Tool.
When you have the Shape Builder activated and multiple overlapping shapes selected, you can draw (by clicking and holding) across the shapes to connect the intersecting parts. Release and the result will be a single shape.
To merge multiple overlapping shape parts into one shape, you must select the shapes before activating the Shape Builder Tool. An easy method to select multiple shapes is to use the Multi Select Mode.
Unselected shapes will not be affected by the Merge Mode. The resulting united shape will automatically take on the colors currently set in the Fill and the Stroke section.
As soon as you activate the Shape Builder Tool, the outer lines of the selected shapes will be displayed with a blue stroke, regardless of their current set stroke color.
When the Merge Mode is activated, a thicker blue outline marks the overlapping shape parts you are currently merging.
How to Create New Shapes With the Merge Mode
- Create first the shapes you want to merge later with the Shape Builder Tool.
- Select the shapes you want to merge with the Shape Builder Tool.
- Activate the Shape Builder Tool ~ic-shape-builder~~ic-shape-builder~ in the Toolbar or press ~key~ M ~key~. By default, the tool is set to Merge Mode.
- Click and draw across the shapes you want to merge and release when all the shapes are included. The selected shapes are now combined into a single shape.
With the Erase Mode, you can subtract the overlapping parts of a shape. This feature functions similarly to the Boolean Operation Subtract.
Click once to subtract a single intersection from your selected shapes. Click and drag your mouse along multiple individual intersections if you want to erase multiple shape parts.
When the Erase Mode is activated, a thick red outline marks the intersecting shape parts you are currently erasing.
Unselected shapes will not be affected by the Erase Mode.
Practice With the Shape Builder Tool
In Vectornator for Mac, instead of drawing complex shapes on your canvas for hours, you can speed up the process by merging or erasing intersecting shape parts with the Shape Builder Tool and transforming them into elaborate artwork with only a few clicks!
You can creatively combine the Merge Mode with the Erase Mode for your individual needs to create a visual composition or a logo. Use the Merge Mode to generate complex shapes by merging overlapping shape parts or the Erase Mode to subtract overlapping parts that you wish to exclude from the final result.