I made a polygon shape in illustrator through stroke options and made it into a dotted line shape. I've applied some transform controls and want to expand the whole shape into individual dots. But whenever i expand the shape, it changes the stroke into fill which prevents me to further expanding the shape. Any one experienced a similar problem. I can't seem to find the fix for it.

  • Hi. Welcome to GDSE. What you describe is what expanding is supposed to do. It turns strokes into filled paths. Why are you actually trying to expand the strokes? Do you really need to expand them? What problem are you trying to solve by expanding?
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Nov 5, 2022 at 9:48
  • You can not actually expand dashed lines to multiple segmented lines. There is just no mechanism for doing this. Instead use a dash you manually made and then use a pattern brush this can be expanded.
    – joojaa
    Commented Nov 5, 2022 at 10:27

2 Answers 2


Rather than expanding via the Expand menu items, try using Object > Flatten Transparency and move the slider all the way to the right (vector).

Dashed strokes, at times, don't "expand" properly in Illustrator. Most often they will. But there can be some "voodoo" which takes place based on some (unknown) combination of appearance options that can prevent them from actually expanding to individual dashes/shapes. I've seen it often, but have never been able to nail down what the actual voodoo combo is (haven't earnestly looked though... I just undo and use flatten transparency.)

Flatten Transparency does pretty much the same thing as expanding and will avoid the "voodoo" often seen when expanding dashed strokes.


Not really clear what you're trying to achieve, but try to experiment with both the Expand and Expand Appearance under the Object menu. Also, this could be useful:

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