How do I make an object fill transparent without showing objects below in Illustrator?

I am trying to copy and paste this icon I designed into an infographic in Illustrator.

The black shadow is a copy of the original icon set behind, so if I set the white of the front element to transparent that black shows.

Is there an easy way to simply select only the white elements and make them transparent?

If I make the white of the icon transparent then this happens.

enter image description here

enter image description here


Thank you for visiting the Q&A section on Magenaut. Please note that all the answers may not help you solve the issue immediately. So please treat them as advisements. If you found the post helpful (or not), leave a comment & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Method 1

Using pathfinder is a destructive process so it isn’t ideal.

A better option is to define a transparency knockout group. In a transparency knockout group, the elements of a group don’t show through each other.

  1. Group your icon (cmd + G)
  2. From the transparency panel check Knockout Group.

enter image description here

  1. Select all the white shapes in your group.
  2. From the appearance panel set the opacity of the fill (not the whole shape) to 0%.

enter image description here

You now have a transparent icon that you can still edit as before. No need for destructive pathfinder operations.

Method 2

There are 3 parts to this graphic.

The black shadow, the calendar object and the calendar outline.

For your design, copy the white object with the stroke and paste infront. Make 1 version have no stroke and a fill and the other version have no fill and a stroke. Hide or lock the object with the stroke for now.

Select the top parts both the calendar object and the black shadow (Ungroup from the bottom part of the calendar icon if needed).

selecting for pathfinder

Open pathfinder options, Window -> Pathfinder. Select the “Minus Front” option.

minus from front

Do the same for the bottom half of the calendar icon.

Reveal the stroke.


End result

Method 3

When you make a fill transparent, it just means you can see right through it to anything that is behind it. In this case, to the shadow object behind it. The image below is one way you can get the desired effect:enter image description here

I just recreated a simplified version of your artwork to illustrate. There are other, non-destructive ways to do this same thing, but they’re more complicated and involve clipping masks or transparency masks, which you can explore on your own!

Hope that helps! 🙂

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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