I am creating an image in Illustrator that has a cornfield in the background. To make it, I created a cob of corn and some leaves and then rearranged these items and duplicated them over and over again. It has slowed my computer down to the point where it's near impossible to continue to work on the drawing.

Is there a way to "flatten" the corn field components into one image? I know there's a way to flatten layers into one, but obviously I don't want to do that to the entire drawing.

I've tried Googling, but all I see is stuff about flattening the entire drawing.


2 Answers 2


Use symbols as explained in the Adobe manual. It can save you time and greatly reduce file size.

To create a symbol do one of the following:

  • Click the New Symbol button in the Symbols panel.

  • Drag the artwork to the Symbols panel.

  • Choose New Symbol from the panel menu.

  • Thanks, but when I try it it tells me I don't have enough RAM to do this. :-/
    – julie1013
    Aug 24, 2018 at 15:55
  • If you've insufficient RAM available to make a single symbol of a cornstalk, I'd say your two most pressing issues are SAVING the file and SAVING the file: What's held in RAM is the difference between the last save of a given file and the current state of the file - therefore to decrease your RAM footprint - save the file. Moreover, if you're that low on RAM that you cannot successfully save a simple symbol of a single cornstalk - you need to safeguard your work - so save the file. Copy out one of your cornstalks into a new clean file and save as a symbol there. Aug 24, 2018 at 16:28

If not even using the symbols it works you could try adding a scratch disk if you didn't already added it:

  • Choose Edit > Preferences > Plug-ins & Scratch Disk.

  • Choose a hard disk from the Primary pop-up menu. If you work with large images and have more than one hard disk, choose another disk from the Secondary pop-up menu.

  • Click OK and restart Illustrator.

Here you can find other info:


  • Thanks, but I use a MacBook Air and I don't have an external drive at my disposal. Also, I wasn't having trouble saving a single cornstalk. I'd made the entire field and was trying to make THAT into a symbol. And yep, I do regular saves.
    – julie1013
    Aug 24, 2018 at 17:28
  • OK, so I converted the cornfield to symbols in pieces. It's still slowing down Illustrator.
    – julie1013
    Aug 24, 2018 at 17:59
  • OK, actually, it seems to be workable. Thanks!
    – julie1013
    Aug 24, 2018 at 18:28

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