I have an illustration with two compound paths which are on separate layers. What I would like to do is to have one sub layer with both compound paths. Sub layers with separate shapes

  • Hi. Welcome to GDSE. There are a couple of ways, make a compound path, or use the Pathfinder Unite button. Which to choose really depends on the construction though, and what you want to do.
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 5, 2022 at 19:00
  • Its very important that those are not layers they are objects. The layers panel is a bit misnamed it should be called layers and objects panel. If you only want to see layers go to the hamburger menu and hide objects. It is good to understand that in several situations you can just not collapse your objects into one object. So it might in fact be impossible if for example they have different colors or are of different type. But yeah release your compound paths and remake them. You will get used to the fact that a illustrator scene is frequently 10 to a 1000 more complex than a photoshop file.
    – joojaa
    Apr 5, 2022 at 20:11

1 Answer 1


If the shapes touch each other...

  • Select both compound shapes
  • Click the Unite button on the Pathfinder Panel (Window > Pathfinder)

If the shapes don't touch each other...

  • Select both compound shapes
  • Choose Object > Compound Path > Make from the menu.

Random over-explanation: What you have are two objects and not "layers". The Layers panel in Illustrator is actually a "Layers and Objects" Panel. It will show layers - Titled "Layer" by default - but things which are nested within that Layer are actually objects and not additional "layers". Objects are the things which are visible on the artboard, from path and shapes, to groups, symbols, and images.

If you are more accustomed to Photoshop, it's rather easy to see everything in Illustrator's Layers Panel as "layers". But it's helpful to realize that there is a difference.

  • Thanks for reply, I've tried that but it creates another group with the same compound shapes.
    – lvekua
    Apr 5, 2022 at 19:21
  • 1
    I updated the answer @lvekua -- I can only assume the shapes don't actually touch each other. Beyond this, I'd need to see what the art actually is and how the shapes interact with one another.
    – Scott
    Apr 5, 2022 at 19:24
  • Hey bud, that was it shapes weren't touching each other, therefore the second option you provided did the job. Thanks a million you rock!!!
    – lvekua
    Apr 5, 2022 at 21:28

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