How to create composite shapes and paths using Adobe InDesign cc

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Marie-Ange Demory
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Since its founding in 1982, Adobe has stood out for its web editing tools. To date it offers its users a wide range of programs, including stand out Photoshop, Acrobat e Illustration . In this way, he brought to his users, the Adobe InDesign tool.

The presentation of InDesign

On the other hand, neither Illustrator nor Photoshop (with features like installing fonts and fonts) offered the necessary tools for developing and improving graphic design. Several tests were carried out, until Adobe InDesign appeared in 1999.



This new program was presented with the premise of: the new professional layout standard for the next millennium . Since then, with each update, it incorporates more and more new and important tools for creating multimedia files for both web pages and mobile phones.

Adobe InDesign tools

La creation of book, newspaper or magazine covers, interactive PDFs, editorial design . This program has amazing tools. Being the creation of compound paths and shapes one of them.

What are compound strokes?

Compound strokes are none other than the combination more shapes to create one.

Creation process

Once you have entered the shapes you wish to merge, you will proceed to select them to begin the combining process. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Go to the "Object" tab on the InDesign ribbon.
  • Select the "Track" option.
  • Click "Create Compound Path".

Inverted selection

Shape matching happens when there are 2 or more shapes, so if you want to act on a specific shape, you have to respect these instructions:



  • Use the direct selection tool in the options bar on the left of the screen.
  • Select the object on which you want to perform an action.
  • Go back to the file "Object, path" and select the inverted selection option.
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This way, there will be an empty space inside the shape you have selected and you can start with the edition you want to make with it.

Object separation

If you don't feel too confident in the shape you created, that's fine. The peculiarity of this program is that you allows you to separate them and test the new idea you had . There is a simple method for this:

  1. Select the compound path with the InDesign selection tool.
  2. Go to the "Object" tab.
  3. Enter the "Tracks" section.
  4. Click "Free compound path".

Pathfinder tool

Another very interesting option offered by InDesign is the pathfinder . In case you don't have it visible in your program, you can activate it in the following way:

  • Click on the "Window" option.
  • Go to the "Objects and Layout" section.
  • Click on "Pathfinder".

Pathfinder menu

This tool, unlike the one that allows the creation, combination and separation of various objects, what it does is provide other types of alternatives to weld and unify elements . Within the Pathfinder menu, you have these options:


  • Add or merge : take the outlines of all objects to make it one piece. So, for example, if there are multiple objects, of different colors, this option removes the lines and transforms them into a stroke-free, solid-color shape. A solid object.
  • Delete objects - When there is a parent and child object, this option deletes the previous object. Basically, you subtract an option from the layout and leave the objects in the background.
  • Intercept : delete the larger portions within the project and leave only the interceptions that the team had.
  • Exclude overlap : Contrary to the previous option, this tool removes the intercepts and leaves the rest of the object.
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Delete background : the shape of the pieces in front is eliminated and leaves a small part of the combination.



Compound path and explorer

It should be noted that the difference between the Pathfinder option and the path option compound is that objects cannot be separated in the first.

This is why during the process of using the tool search for traces the term is used welding , since, once an action has been performed, it cannot be undone. Likewise, if you also need to insert text on a curved path, it is also possible with the help of Adobe InDesign.

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