Create compound paths
A compound path is a path that consists of two or more subpaths. Each subpath has its own starting and ending nodes. For example, to draw a bagel or donut shape (technically named a torus), you could draw two circles (one inside the other) and then combine them into a compound path. If you fill the resulting shape, the area between the circles will be opaque and the area in the middle will be transparent.
Compound paths often result from using path operations such as Front Minus Back or Divide. Similarly, when you convert text to paths, you get compound paths in characters that have holes in them (such as the hole inside the letter "e"). The subpaths in a compound path do not have to overlap. For instance, you could make a compound path of four nonoverlapping squares.
To create a compound path
Select two or more paths or objects.
On the Object menu, point to Compound Path, and then click Make (or press CTRL+8).
In the following illustration, three objects (two rectangles and a star) have been selected (1) and then combined into a single compound path (2).
To convert a compound path to its original paths
Select the compound path.
On the Object menu, point to Compound Path, and then click Release (or press CTRL+SHIFT+8).