I have an overlay I want to drape on top of another map of SC for a project. The screenshot below is supposed to be an overlay, and the vectors came from ArcGIS Pro. If you are unfamiliar with GIS software, ArcGIS Pro & Adobe Illustrator have a plugin called Maps for Adobe which provides additional interoperability between these programs. It allows a person working in GIS to export the map as an .AIX file that can be opened in Illustrator. Upon opening the AIX file, it becomes an 'untitled' AI file that you need to save and continue to work with. This file came into Illustrator with its vectors sliced oddly. See those horizontal lines present about 6 times in the middle of the state? They're not supposed to be there. They should be one vector, but they're not. I am trying to use tools in Illustrator to merge them back together, but since they do not overlap, the pathfinder tools and the Join tool are not working.

Any suggestions of ways to merge those paths so they essentially dissolve the horizontal lines and treat those areas as one compound path?

Overlay in AI


1 Answer 1


Assuming the paths are closed/joined and not merely a collection of disconnected segments....

This might help....

  • Select All
  • Add a fill of the same color
  • Increase the stroke weight by a tiny amount.. 0.25pt
  • Object > Expand Appearance (if it's available)
  • Object > Expand
  • Pathfinder Panel click the Unite button.

This will cause the overall shape to increase by half the size of the stroke increase (0.125pt).


Once everything is united, you can...

  • Add a stroke the same size as the increase you used (0.25pt)
  • Change this stroke to a different color than the fill
  • Object > Expand
  • Pathfinder Panel, Merge button
  • Use the Direct Selection Tool (white arrow) to click the new stroke shape (Should be easy if it's a different color.
  • Select > Same > Fill & Stroke
  • Hit Delete

SEE HERE for a more visual explanation of the second part.

This will subtract half the size of the stroke from the overall shape Resulting the the original shape as 1 object the same size as it was previously.

Then simply remove the fill, add a stroke.

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