This is my first time asking something here so I hope I can get the help I need. I seem to be stuck with a pathfinder problem.

I made this detailed vectorized image of my dog and I need to merge it as it is (with all the details) into one piece for a different software (laser engraving) open cuts get filled in which I don't want because those are the details that are important.

Is there a way to merge the vector into one without losing the detail? a different tool or something instead of pathfinder.

Thank you!

my original vector before merging pathfinder

my vector after merging pathfinder

  • Tracing your screenshot with 0,5 px accuracy leaves a good amount of details as a compound path which has black fill : i.sstatic.net/NCZBZ.jpg If the image is say 6 inches wide there's about 3000 paths, total length about 42 feet, but many of them are small splinters and everyone has several 90 degrees direction changes per millimeter. i.sstatic.net/zAt93.jpg Here's a high zoom in of the "edge". Black fill is changed to blue and the thin black stroke shows the cutting route. Ask the cutter how long it takes to cut and take a vacuum cleaner with you to get it all. Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 0:07
  • (continued) No vacuumcleaner is needed if the laser power is kept so low that you get it back as one piece. Then the metal surface may look this: i.sstatic.net/dlAmO.jpg Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 2:05

2 Answers 2


– Select all vectors
– Click Object/expand to make sure all strokes are outlined
– Click 'divide' in the pathfinder
– Using the magic wand select all white areas and delete them
– Select all black areas left and click 'unite' in pathfinder

Not sure if this method works in all cases but hopefully will work for you.

enter image description here


I assume this is an Image Trace.

  1. After tracing, make sure to go into the Image Trace options, and under Advanced, set the option to Ignore Color in your trace, and make sure it's set to white.

enter image description here

  1. Do Object > Expand to expand the Image Trace to vector.

  2. If you want a single path, Ungroup everything repeatedly until there are no groups left.

  3. Select everything and do Object > Compound Path > Make.

An example showing the resulting compound path in the layers panel.

enter image description here

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