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An innovative approach in its different implementations for the synthesis of compromise sum and difference patterns of monopulse planar arrays is presented. The synthesis method is based on a sub-arraying technique aimed at generating the compromise patterns through an optimal excitation matching procedure. By exploiting some properties of the solution space, the synthesis problem is reformulated as a combinatorial one to allow a considerable saving of computational resources. Thanks to a graph-based representation of the solution space, the use of an efficient path-searching algorithm is enabled to speed up the convergence to the compromise solution. In the numerical validation, a set of representative examples concerned with both pattern matching problems and pattern-feature optimization are reported in order to assess the effectiveness and flexibility of the proposed approach. Comparisons with previously published results and solutions obtained by a hybrid version of the approach customized to deal with the optimization of the sidelobe level (SLL) are reported and discussed, as well.