Slicing Text in Illustrator

Slicing text is a simple way of creating a nice graphic effect. Using Illustrator you can easily create a range of text effects, warping, cutting and reshaping to turn a fairly simple font into something a little bit more unusual.

If you want to slice your text, there a several options. Here are a couple:

1.    Convert the type to outlines (Cmd + Shift + O).
2.    Draw a rectangle (or other shape) over the type. (Use the Spacebar to position it before you release the mouse.)
3.    Select both the type and the shape and go to Pathfinder > Intersect. Click the expand button afterwards.

Intersect shapes

Intersect Shapes

Here’s the original and the quickly modified version:

Original type

Original Type

cut up type

Cut Up Type

Now, this could have been done using a shape mask, but it was just to show a technique. Here is another option that has been used a lot, using the knife tool to cut through the text outlines.

knife tool

Knife Tool

The Knife is ‘hidden’ in the Eraser palette so click and hold to reveal it. When using the knife tool, you can either cut straight lines or wavy lines through your shapes.

The trick to cutting in a straight line is to hold the Alt key down first. Click to select your start point and click again for the end point. When you release the mouse key, your shape will be cut into 2 halves, but they are grouped together. Cmd + Shift + G will ungroup them.

Go and click on the main selection key (V) in the tool box.

sliced text

Sliced Text

Click on the top half of the type shape and nudge it slightly to the right. Select the rotate tool (R) and place the anchor point at the bottom-left of the shape. Rotate it up slightly.

sliced and rotated text

Sliced and Rotated Top Half

That’s the basic technique. You can add effects and textures, or even sub-slices then remove sections to create shatters… It depends what you are trying to achieve.

Text effect

Sliced Text With Effects

other page


  1. Teresa

    Thank you! This tutorial was just what I was looking for and you explained it so well. Thanks for taking your time to post for the newbies!

    • Stuart

      Glad to help Teresa.

  2. tld

    Thanks for sharing this valuable post. really worthy.

  3. Jason

    Oh man the knife worked for me just what I needed. I thought I was going to have to add delete anchor points. Saved me a bunch of time thanks.

  4. beenasoomro345

    Thanks for sharing : how to crop in illustrator – do you want to cut this shape up well I already know


    Thanks for the time you have put in this tutorial, I had difficult with this for a long time and I new that there would be a solution. I went from many option that couldn’t cut it. THANKS AGAIN.

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