I have a design with a number of paths that have thick strokes and they overlap and intersect. I want to take each one and convert it into a shape - but Outline Stroke doesn't do what I want. Then I can merge them and play with them and other things

Imagine you draw a line and give it a stroke of 40pt. It looks like a rectangle but is actually a thick line. How can I convert this thick line to a filled rectangle?

  • Thats what expand does. what exactly is your objection? – joojaa Oct 8 '19 at 15:13
  • Object->Expand is greyed out . – zuzzy Oct 10 '19 at 8:26
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    Is the right object selected? For example the stroke may be applied to a layer. – joojaa Oct 10 '19 at 13:00
  • It's okay to post an answer for your own question and mark it solved, and in fact it would be helpful if you did. That way your questions isn't listed as "unanswered". – JohnB Oct 16 '19 at 15:23

The thing with outlining strokes is - it works as it says on the tin:

Big fatty line entity:

enter image description here

Menu>Object>Path>Outline Stroke:

enter image description here

New compound path entity resulting from outlined stroke - super-simple, fast and exactly as expected:

enter image description here

If you did this to multiple entities, you'd get multiple such open strokable shapes, and you could use either Pathfinder or ShapeBuilder to then "...merge them and play with them and other things..." as you saw fit.

Hope this helps.

  • Strange thing is that I do exactly that and it does not do what yours does. I draw a line,make a path or use the paint brush, add a thick stoke to those objects, and click on Path->Outline Stroke and it does absolutely nothing. I don't understand why! Happy to mark someone as a correct answer if we can figure that out but honestly its probably just a version thng. – zuzzy Oct 10 '19 at 8:21
  • @zuzzy - Can you post screenshot of whole app, object selected, with both appearance palette and layers palette visible and expanded? This will help us all diagnose. – GerardFalla Oct 15 '19 at 16:30
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    Ok so turns out that this is the answer but my Illustrator install was the problem. I have tried this on another computer and it worked, so I reinstalled Illustrator (after reinstalling Windows, which wasn't entirely unplanned, I had some Windows performance issues) and it worked. While I'm surprised, I can't replicate the problem so I have to assume it was related, however that may be. – zuzzy Oct 28 '19 at 16:31
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    NB sorry for the delay, obviously I was reinstalling! – zuzzy Oct 28 '19 at 16:32

Yes, to answer the apparent question, you can select a path regardless of how thick it is and transform it to an object via one of these:

  • Object → Path → Outline Stroke
  • Object → Expand (sometimes you first need to do Object → Expand appearance)
  • You should add: Possibly you have a 'variable width path' here, that's why you can only expand it via Object → Expand Object (That's what was asked) – AAGD Oct 10 '19 at 9:26

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