How to delete one shape from another in Illustrator CS4?
I have an image (below) of two hands over a black circle. All three are currently separate paths with a fill but no stroke, all on the same layer.
How do I delete the shape of the hands from the black circle, so that afterwards I can delete the hands themselves, and just have the circle, with the shape of the hands cut out of it?
Open up the Pathfinder palette (Window > Pathfinder or Shift+Control+F9). Select one hand and the circle and press the 'subtract' button:
Depending on your preferences, the 'Expand' button may become clickable. If it does, click it. Repeat with the other hand.
It might be a good idea to make copies of the hand shapes in advance (and paste them in front, Ctrl+F and lock and/or hide them) so you have spare copies of the same shape.