I have drawn a circle and a square, and I used pathfinder to cut the circle out of the square... and the result looks exactly the way I want it to... but I want the resulting shape to be a stand-alone shape, not a complex path... is there a way to make the resulting square with a circle cut out of it into a stand-alone object?
Click "Expand" in the Pathfinder Panel.
It will be a Compound Path, whether you use Pathfinder or Object>Compound Path>Make, because you have two paths defining the shape. But you may have made a Compound Shape with the two paths appearing as separate; you can turn it into a Compound Path if you Object>Expand Appearance and Ungroup. To avoid a Compound Shape using Pathfinder Minus Front/Subtract from shape area, you should press Alt/Option in older versions.
Thank you so much..