6 Replies Latest reply: Oct 1, 2008 11:44 PM by (Dick_Shane) RSS

    Combining shapes in InDesign

      InDesign CS3.3 (mac)


      I'm fairly used to Illustrator and have recently begun using InDesign CS3. I have what I hope is a fairly simple question:

      Is it possible to combine the paths of two separate shapes in InDesign by joining end anchor points?
      I'm aware of the pathfinder method of combining shapes, but have not been able to find a way of, say, combining a circle with a rectangle - by positioning then deleting sections of each object to create end points, and then joining those end points etc. - a way that is really basic in illustrator. Or do I have to do this in Illustrator and import it into InDesign as a vector graphic?

      Thanks for any help.
        • 1. Re: Combining shapes in InDesign
          dave c courtemanche Community Member
          Does the way of combining shapes not work for you? I took a circle & triangle and opened them up. Using Pathfinder/Add I was able to merge the two shapes, but the open endpoints had to be touching. You could always create the shape in Illustrator & copy/paste it into ID for a live path.
          • 2. Re: Combining shapes in InDesign
            Community Member
            The Pathfinder does work, but I'm wondering if InDesign is known for being less flexible in creating and combining the path of one shape with another.

            In Illustrator, for example, I can combine a rectangle and the negative space of one quarter of a circle (the area outside the circle), by deleting the other three-quarters and then cutting a gap in the corner of the rectangle and combining the end points. Much easier just to do than explain, but you can see the shapes here, which are merely sitting on top of one another:


            I can't seem to combine them in InDesign as I get the error message 'Cannot convert a closed line to a path', but it is very simple to do in Illustrator.
            • 3. Re: Combining shapes in InDesign
              Sandee Cohen Ban the Spam ACP/MVPs

              The Connection and Join options for paths are a little confusing.

              InDesign CS3 does have a command that will connect the endpoints of two separate open paths, but it is a hidden command.

              Go into the Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

              Go to the Object Menu area and find Paths: Connect. This will create a line that connects any two open paths.

              Then assign a keystroke to the command.

              You can also assign a keystroke to Paths: Join. This will merge two endpoints into a single point and join the paths. However, the points have to be less than 6 pts from each other.

              Fortunately, ID CS4, the Join command does the work of both Connect and Join in CS3. And the command is not hidden. It is visible under Object > Paths > Join.

              However, you need to remember that InDesign is not an illustration tool. It is for page layout. Very sophisticated illustration commands such as Join, Average, and other path actions are not expected in InDesign.
              • 4. Re: Combining shapes in InDesign
                Community Member
                Ah - great. Thanks, Sandee. So it seems the usual thing to do with more complicated shapes is to create them in Illustrator and import them. Useful to know those shortcuts though.

                Thanks for the help.
                • 5. Re: Combining shapes in InDesign
                  dave c courtemanche Community Member
                  If the shapes are not insanely complicated, you can copy/paste them from Illustrator to ID if you'd like an editable within ID file - rather than place the Illustrator file.
                  • 6. Re: Combining shapes in InDesign
                    Community Member

                    Thanks David.