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How can I change thickness of "outlines", which actually are not strokes but closed shapes? In the following example you can see outlines which I would like to make thicker, all of them. I wish I could convert them to strokes...

enter image description here

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The easy way: add a stroke of the same colour, then object > path > outline stroke, then merge using Unite in the pathfinder window.

(or even easier: just add a stroke and leave it there so you can adjust it as needed!)

If you need to do the opposite and make it thinner by an even amount: add a stroke, outline stroke as above, then punch the stroke out of the original using Minus front in the pathfinder window.

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I can't unite since strokes are not overlapping. –  Michael Jul 1 '13 at 16:40
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So long as, in the Strokes panel, they were set to 'align strokes to center' (the default), and they've been outlined normally, they should always overlap the paths they were strokes to. –  user568458 Jul 1 '13 at 16:47
    
to clarify - after doing the outline stroke, it leaves you with two things selected per object: the original shape, and the now-outlined stroke. For a shape like this it might be hard to see that there are two different paths because the original shape will be coverred by the new outlined strokes. The 'Unite' is to merge the outlined strokes with the shapes they were formerly the strokes of. –  user568458 Jul 1 '13 at 17:51

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