How to Cut Out an Image in Illustrator

It’s time for another tutorial to beef up your graphic design skills! Today, I’m going to show you how to cut out an image in Illustrator.

How to Cut Out an Image in Illustrator

When you think about cutting out images you’re  first instinct is probably to go straight to Photoshop. For the most part, photoshop is the preferred medium for image clipping because it has a few more tools for the job, but, if you’re tired of toggling between Photoshop and Illustrator all the time, there is a way you can cut out an image without leaving Illustrator at all. How is it done? Clipping masks.

Clipping masks are a super basic tool, but they can be insanely useful! One benefit to using clipping masks is that you don’t actually delete the background, and if you ever want to look at the rest of the picture again, all you have to do is hide the clipping mask. Also, if you don’t get the mask exactly right, you can always go back and edit the points later.

The two tools you’ll learn about in this tutorial are:


Shortcut: P


Clipping Mask

Object>Clipping Mask>Make

Shortcut: ⌘7

Thank you to reader Michelle who suggested this tutorial idea! Knowing how to create clipping masks is a necessity for any designer. If you have any questions, or want to request a specific tutorial, be sure to leave a comment and let me know!

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13 Comments on How to Cut Out an Image in Illustrator

  1. graphic design
    November 25, 2015 at 6:24 am (9 years ago)

    how to be a freelance web designer?

  2. Clipping Path Service
    January 25, 2017 at 12:25 am (7 years ago)

    Your tutorial is really great. Informative tutorial and i get more experience. Thanks

  3. Nishith Tripathi
    September 17, 2017 at 9:15 am (7 years ago)

    Thank you.

  4. Vector Conversion Services
    November 7, 2017 at 3:34 am (7 years ago)

    I am very thankful that you have shared this wonderful information, these tips are some best tips for the illustrator and i will share this information as much as I can.

  5. Bob Kapp
    November 26, 2017 at 2:50 pm (7 years ago)


    I should have paid more attention during Illustrator class. I don’t know what I would have done without your tips. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.


    • Mandee
      November 28, 2017 at 9:22 am (7 years ago)

      Thanks Bob! That’s very kind of you to say. Glad you found my tutorial useful! ^_^

  6. Clipping Way
    November 27, 2018 at 2:09 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing nice post about cut image.

  7. Ben
    February 19, 2019 at 8:44 am (5 years ago)

    Great Tutorial, thank you.

    I have a question, now that I have the object cut out, how do I save it as an image, jpg, png, etc?

    • Mandee
      February 19, 2019 at 2:35 pm (5 years ago)

      Hi Ben! Simply go to File>Export>Export As, and then be sure to select PNG as the format in order to make sure it has a transparent background. 🙂

  8. Deborah Redwood
    February 27, 2019 at 8:11 pm (5 years ago)

    My computers old the bluetooth speaker doesnt work and so I couldn’t hear very well what you were saying. Cn you make the videos so I can turn up the sound.

  9. Sherman
    July 15, 2019 at 7:47 pm (5 years ago)

    Thank you. Thank you. Gotta come back here.

  10. Ellian
    January 7, 2020 at 11:21 am (4 years ago)

    Thanks for this good informations,


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