the image below was created from a clipping mask; is there a way to trim what is outside of the mask? I want to keep the paths separate and preserve their individual stroke colours. I have tried using the crop pathfinder option but this deletes everything and if i try to expand the image it converts the paths to shapes. Any help would be amazing! Thanks

enter image description here

  • There's no easy automated solution for this, but it is possible using the Shape Builder tool. First you need to release the mask, select all. Then using the Shape Builder hold down (Alt) to remove pieces, then you will probably have to zoom in to remove the connecting strokes that are left behind. see simplified example
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 28, 2023 at 12:30
  • Shape builder has done the job, thanks! Was just being hopeful that there may have been a quicker option
    – NGH654
    Sep 28, 2023 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


Try this:

Release the clipping mask. Let it have no fill, but insert a well visible stroke.

Select all.

Wipe the unwanted parts off with the Shape builder. Hold the Alt key continuously to keep "wipe off" active instead of building new closed areas. Click with the shape builder just the paths which you want to remove. Do it one by one, do not drag nor click empty area between the paths.

This may not work if the paths have effects or tricky multilevel groupings or nested masks. A single group doesn't harm.

In the next image the blue-red shapes are a single group of separate paths. The green rectangle is the released clipping mask;

enter image description here

The result after Alt+clicking with the shape builder every unwanted segment. The green rectangle is only moved aside. The group is released after wiping the unwanted parts only to show the remaining paths are free. The shortest one is selected:

enter image description here

Warning: If you happen to drag or Alt+click the areas between the paths you get easily unwanted extras which must be deleted separately or something can vanish totally. Work with a copy to avoid irreversible damages.

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