Has anyone else experienced an issue dealing with converted CAD files in Illustrator?

Sometimes I get CAD files converted to PDF that have really overcomplicated simple shapes.

Everything is converted to points even text. It's a really poor conversion like one letter being made of hundreds of points and shapes. (Path Finder isn't much help here)

This makes Illustrator extremely laggy on some computers.

My client and I have no idea what CAD program is used to create these files.

Here's an example of it. I've zoomed in on a sample of really small text.

Zooming in or out of this letter creates about 4 seconds of lag. enter image description here

Path simplify does this: enter image description here

Is there a solution to this problem?

  • use path Simplify
    – joojaa
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 20:00
  • @joojaa That doesn't work. I've updated my answer. Thanks! Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 20:04
  • Did you try: Pathfinder >> Unite ?
    – LeoNas
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 20:18
  • 1
    Only solid solution I've ever found.. hunker down and start hiding, locking, and deleting items.
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 20:21
  • 1
    Ah you should have said that your data is tesselated, merge then simplify
    – joojaa
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


What you are seeing is just a dump of the OpenGL data, this happens is programs that are a bit older (like MSC Adams). While this is fine for printing it is not really meant for downstream editing.

Ok let me generate a similar situation by earcutting, a font (Raleway) that had been subdivided (with add points) and made into straight segments with simplify. (Code as used here)

enter image description here

Image 1: Triangulated letter to test on. Comparable but not same.

TO make more sense out of this next i Just merge the vertices with pathfinder. Holding shift allows me to marquee select merged things which makes quick work, don't select too many to begin though. Also you can specify tolerance This gets me more or less the same thing as i started with.

Then I apply path simplify, possibly 2-3 times.

enter image description here

Image 2: Simplify.

Its still a LOT of work though.

enter image description here

Image 3: After silplifying a few times.

  • I'm going to accept this and also note Simplify makes it less jagged. Unfortunately Re-Typesetting it seems to be the only real solution but I really liked this answer. Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 15:29

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