If a vector object (from Ai, for instance) is pasted into Ps as Path (especially on a white background), one get a really nice B/W technical drawing type image, which is even still vector in Photoshop.
Now, is there a way to save this vector path by itself, for instance as a PDF? Just saving creates a white page file. Ps used is CC 2014.

  • 1
    If the art is coming from Illustrator, is there some reason you can't merely alter fills and strokes within Illustrator? Why do you even need Photoshop? See here: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/5610/…
    – Scott
    Nov 29, 2017 at 15:39
  • In your accepted answer in that question, is there a way to then only select the created strokes? If an image has lots of color filled areas between the strokes, it’s tiresome to manually delete everything but the strokes to make the image a technical drawing. Nov 29, 2017 at 17:46
  • Right, i got it in another answer by you: Object ⇒ Expand Appearance ⇛ Object ⇒ Expand. Thanks alot! Nov 29, 2017 at 18:55

2 Answers 2


This answer is for Photoshop CC 2017. Older versions might be slightly different.

But generally, your problem is because the path has no stroke, and to get a stroke you need to convert it into a Shape rather than a just a path.

  1. Use the Path Selection Tool (A)
  2. Click on the path to select it (or part of it if it contains many paths)
  3. Click Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Colour - and click through giving it a new fill. The object is now a filled Shape.

  4. Now set the fill to none, and set the stroke to something like 1px black.

Now you can export your PDF.

  • Interesting, this just colors the outermost perimeter stroke; if the figure has lots of inner strokes, how can they also be revealed that way? Nov 29, 2017 at 16:53
  • @Россарх All the paths will get the same stroke if they are on the same layer.
    – Billy Kerr
    Nov 29, 2017 at 18:10

Since @Billy Kerr technically answered the question as it was put, it is fair for that answer to be the accepted one. However, as @Scott rightfully commented, there is really no reason to even leave Ai for Ps if the image is originating from the former.

So, for the sake of future visitors, including myself, i’m creating a second answer to my question, describing how to convert a vector picture to a technical drawing type image in Illustrator – essentially, how to imitate the fine Outline view, which for some reason can’t be saved as a vector image by itself.

  1. Select the whole image (Ctrl+A) and open Appearance (Shift+F6) from the Window menu. It can also be a good idea to first group the image (Ctrl+G) since the drawing created later will then also be grouped and be easy to separate from the original picture.
  2. In Appearance click Add New Stroke in the bottom left. Choose color and stroke width; for instance 0,25 pixels work great for complex vectors with fine details.
  3. Menus ObjectExpand Appearance and then Object again → Expand, just confirming the window in the latter.
  4. The «tech drawing» is now created in the Layers panel. If everything was previously grouped, the drawing is now a new group which can be selected and copied to a new document. Compare by pressing Ctrl+Y: depending on the stroke width, it can actually be less blurry and more detailed than the Outline view :)
  • Absolutely right. However it might also interest you that you can place AI documents in Photoshop as Smart Objects. So that's another route to get vectors into Photoshop.
    – Billy Kerr
    Nov 30, 2017 at 12:52

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