I drew thie illustration below. As you can see (“Outlines”), the illustration is made of shapes and borders. In the end, it looks like the illustration in the center.

Is there any trick to quickly create 2 compound paths out of this? As a result I want two layers: (1) Background, (2) white borders.

In the 3rd image you can see what happens, if I use pathfinder. I’m an advanced Illustrator user and I’m aware why it looks how it looks and how to achieve my desired result. However, I hope for a work-around that lets me create a flattened vector easily. Tracing a Hi-Res PNG isn’t a solution for me. I want perfect lines.

Thank you!

enter image description here

  • nevermind. Why don't you use pathfinder in a few objects at a time? it won't work if you select everything and try to apply at once.
    – Luciano
    Feb 7, 2020 at 14:45
  • Yeah, this is a great problem. There is no way to work with line priority in illustrator
    – joojaa
    Feb 7, 2020 at 15:54
  • @joojaa Maybe a native english speaker could write down the “issue” and we could suggest this feature to the Illustrators feature request page? My english is too limited to write it down in a professional way to get enough upvotes … Feb 7, 2020 at 17:42

2 Answers 2


I do not understand your Pathfinder results.

There must be some construction aspect which might be a problem. I realize you may be unaware of what that may be.

I don't see anything suspect in your outline view.... so I'm really not sure how you get the Pathfinder results you are getting.

  • Are there open paths with a fill applied to them somewhere? If yes, close those paths.

  • Or you may be using a bad option for this artwork when using Pathfinder.

  • Or perhaps you need to Expand Appearance and then Expand, and then use Pathfinder.

Expand and then Pathfinder > Merge should absolutely get you flat artwork which looks correct.

enter image description here


Copy your shape.

Expand the stroke Object → Expand and ungroup the paths (Ctrl+Shift+G)

You now have to use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift+M) to carefully merge together the paths as desired.

You can also delete the green paths when you're done with that.

Paste in place (Ctrl+F) your original path, do pathfinder merge on that as well and send it to back behind your strokes path.

  • Hey, this is not a solution for me. This is the standard procedure I would like to avoid. „carefully merge“ is very annoying. Feb 7, 2020 at 14:59

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