Is it possible to trim a clipping mask in Illustrator? I have an image that I created a mask for, but the entire image is so much larger than the space I need, I would like to crop the rest of the image to the mask.

Basically, I need the same result as in Photoshop when you Right-click > Apply Mask.

This is what I'm after

  • I know this is an old post. But many people is directed here with the same question: Here's the best solution I found: (6 easy steps, about 10sec...) design.tutsplus.com/articles/… Best! Carlos V.
    – user45626
    Jun 22, 2015 at 3:45
  • Object:Rasterise does it all fine nowadays.
    – Konchog
    Apr 6, 2023 at 19:27

3 Answers 3


Assuming all artwork is vector and not placed raster images...

  • Select the image with the mask
  • Choose Object > Expand Appearance if Expand Appearance is available
  • Choose Object > Expand
  • Click the Crop button on the Pathfinder Panel

This should trim the artwork to the boundaries of the clipping mask shape. It will leave unfilled objects in some cases, so to clean up I also generally...

  • Draw and unfilled, unstroked rectangle
  • Choose Select > Same > Fill & Stroke
  • Hit the delete key.

Or you can deselect everything and use Object > Path > Clean Up. Just be aware of the clean up settings. If you have other objects with masks, the Clean Up command may cause issues.

Additional based on sample image....

(Image was added after I typed the above, so I left it.)

You've got a raster image there. There's no way for Illustrator to crop a raster image. None. However, you can use the Rasterino plug in from www.astutegraphics.com to crop raster images within Illustrator.

(the astute web site seems to be very, very slow at the moment)

  • Thanks again, Scott! LOL, maybe I should just email you my questions.
    – ckpepper02
    Sep 3, 2013 at 20:58
  • even google bring me here...
    – Ilan
    Aug 28, 2014 at 20:38
  • 2
    Quite often I find Expand > Crop wipes everything except the top object, but Expand > Trim often works instead. Dec 2, 2014 at 16:39
  • 1
    @Scott Why is my Expand Appearance grayed out (non active)? Nov 5, 2015 at 9:10
  • Expand Appearance is only available if you have some appearance attributes which can be expanded. It's not always available and it's nothing to be concerned about if it isn't.
    – Scott
    Nov 5, 2015 at 15:48

Apparently, it is doable with a raster image!

via: http://design.tutsplus.com/articles/quick-tip-how-to-crop-raster-image-in-adobe-illustrator--vector-4989

Involves setting a blend mode other than "normal" and then using flatten transparency.

Select the clipping mask group, then set any Blending Mode for that group. set blending mode for clipping mask group

With the same group still selected, select Object > Flatten Transparency with preserve alpha transparency selected: flatten transparency

That's pretty much it. It creates multiple nested clipping groups, but the raster image within is now trimmed to the clipping path.

  • Oh sure... NOW I see this after Illustrator 2017 finally adds the ability to crop images to the program!
    – BANG
    Jul 20, 2017 at 4:40

I did not get multiple nested clipping groups after trying this, and if I did, when I deleted anything, the entire image deleted as well.

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