“Intersect” Not Working in Illustrator – Pathfinder Tips

A common problem for Adobe illustrator beginners is the occurrence of the error “The filter produced no results. Please select two overlapping paths” when attempting to use the “intersect” function of the pathfinder. For whatever reason, support on this particular issue is scant, though the solution is actually quite simple. The error message that shows up in Illustrator

I am going to illustrate how to accomplish this task in a series of simple steps. I am working with Adobe Illustrator CS6, though this should apply to other versions as well.

How to use “intersect” in the pathfinder:

Let’s assume we have some text and a simple shape, and we would like to trim anything not overlapping, leaving only the intersecting areas. Here is how we can accomplish this.

What the intersected product should look like

Our finished text, intersected with its shape.

1. Select your text, then hold down shift and select the shape behind it.
2. Hold down alt, then click the intersect button.

Voila! How could it be this simple, you ask? Well basically what alt-clicking does is create compound paths from your text automatically. Compound paths are required to use the tool and this process bypasses the need to do create them manually. What’s interesting about this process is that with the final product, you will actually still be able to edit the text after it’s done, which can be incredibly useful.

About Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson is a website developer and designer living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with a passion for code and WordPress. He spends his days building WordPress websites for small businesses, developing new code with the online community, and living life.

24 Comments on ““Intersect” Not Working in Illustrator – Pathfinder Tips”

  1. Thanks! Another beginner’s frustration error solved, hah! My instructor suggested I use the Expand option to solve the issue, it did not work regardless—but the OPTION (alT) key did!

  2. Thank you so much! I hit rewind on a YouTube tutorial for nearly 30 min. struggling to do this intersect with no success. I was nearly in tears. You are AWESOME!!! This worked!! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!

  3. I have tried many troubleshooting threads for the error message β€œThe filter produced no results. Please select two overlapping paths” just to unite two shapes. None of that worked for me, but I was able to resolve this using the Shape Builder Tool! I just squiggled over my shapes and boom. Not sure why the Unite button wasn’t working for me…

  4. I think this will work by not having to press down the alt key when selecting the intersect.
    I think the trick here is that you used shift and select to gather the two overlapping objects rather then using the select tool and boxing the two overlapping objects. . . .
    When I do that, if a third overlapping object is underneath, sometimes too small to be seen,
    then you get that error message.

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