I'd like to know if what I do is the correct process for what I want to achieve. I created some paths to draw the strokes of an illustration (a helmet).

As these strokes are paths, and they can't be merged together, so I decided to use the expand function of illustrator. This way, I could merge all the paths and have something clean.

The only 'issue' is the fact when I use this function, it generates a lot of useless anchors points.

I want to also mention that I used the 'width tool' on these paths, to give some thickness at some places before expanding. I mention this because I noticed it doesn't create as many extra anchors points when I expand without using the widthtool.

I tryed to use as well the simplify tool but that doesn't give nice result.

So finally, is there a good workflow to expand paths? Should I have managed this differently?

Here is a picture to show you what I mean:

The isssue I'm pointing

The color of the helmet is given by a simple shape placed behind the stroke. Once again, as a 'noob' with illustrator I'm not sure I did it well.

  • 1
    you can use Object->Path->Simplify tool after using expand command. it will decrease the number of anchor points accordingly to your settings
    – Ilan
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 11:13
  • 1
    I tryed this, but it doesn't give a good result... Do you think the way I drew my strokes, is the way you would have done it ? I'm maybe trying to find solution where there is no need to find one, I mean, Is it totally incorrect to leave the paths not connected ? Sorry if these questions might sound stupid...
    – Geoffrey
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 11:34
  • Personally I delete anchor point only if they make my paths not smooth, so in your case I'd leave the work as is %)
    – Ilan
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 11:48
  • Thank you for your input. It enlights me a little bit, :) I don't know why but I had in mind to merge them all (paths) and optimize the anchors, as I had heard in the past that was "important".
    – Geoffrey
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 12:27
  • Illustrator simply has a habit of doing this. It's been complained about for years.
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 17:20

2 Answers 2


Astute Graphic's InkScribe (Smart Remove Point) should do a great job on beautifully cleaning those points. Here's their page: http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/inkscribe/


Probably it is the best way for Illustrator to do that without changing the appearance of the artwork. As you used the 'width tool' on these paths, that extra 'information' that you input into the artwork must be represented by those additional anchors. The more details you add (the more complicated width shape), the more points have to be added. If you don't want to distort your artwork you need to accept the situation as it is.

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