What is a “Reversed” Path?

When you tell Illustrator or QuarkXPress to “reverse” the direction of an item in a “compound” or “joined” path (hoping to make a see-through “hole” in it), what’s really happening?

One way to think of what’s happening is to imagine cutting an O out of paper. You first use your scissors to cut around the outside of the O in a particular direction. Then, in order to create the inside “hole” of the O, you need to slice through the body of the O and then continue inside the O in a reverse direction. PostScript uses this same logic.

To get to these path options in QuarkXPress, select two items then choose Item> Merge. To get the the donut hole effect, choose Item> Merge> Difference.