I have a company logo in vector repeated multiple times to make a pattern/background. I want to apply a halftone to it, but to do so I need to make all the repeated vectors into one single vector. I have tried all of the pathfinder options with no luck and making a compound path messes up the logo (fills in the hole in the "a"). Does anyone know how to accomplish this?


  • The pathfinder tools would normally be the way to achieve this, what happens when you try to Unite the paths, does it give you an error message? Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 15:54
  • @JacksonHyde no error, just incorrect results. i.imgur.com/FduZ5q5.jpg
    – Brett
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:07
  • Have you tried Object > Compound Path > Make, and then apply the gradient?
    – user26481
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 15:07

7 Answers 7


Select all and use Pathfinder > Merge.

This will combine all shapes which are the same color and touch.

Afterwards, you may have undesired white objects. Simply select one white object and choose Select > Same > Fill & Stroke and hit delete.

Based on the comments below, I need to highlight this method....

  • Select all
  • Group
  • apply a new fill via the Appearance Panel
  • set that fill to be a gradient
  • If needed, drag the new fill above the contents item in the Appearance Panel
  • Merge does the same as unite, adds in and unwanted fill in the "a" - i.imgur.com/FduZ5q5.jpg
    – Brett
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:08
  • Then your art has some issues. It should be expanded completely before using the merge command.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:09
  • after expanding the merge works without filling in the "a", but it does not seem to become "one" vector. I need to apply a gradient but when I do after the merge every single logo gets its own gradient and I need the gradient to spread across all logos
    – Brett
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:17
  • To apply one gradient over everything... select it all, add the gradient, then use the Gradient Tool to click-drag the gradient.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:17
  • Yes, and I may be going about that incorrectly
    – Brett
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:18

Select all and use Object > Compound Path > Make

Just a different method to use. It keeps all the objects individual instead of merging them.


If your text is still "text", release it all by highlighting everything and then go Type > Create Outlines.

Then, with everything selected, use Object > Expand

Finally go to pathfinder and choose the Unite tool to turn it into "one" vector:

enter image description here

  • my text was already outlined. Did object > expand, then unite, results in "a" being filled for some reason? i.imgur.com/FduZ5q5.jpg
    – Brett
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 16:12
  • That would be because the bowl in your A was already filled in white. You should of removed it before your copied your logo about 500 times.
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 16:15
  • 1
    @Saturneye Thanks for the helpful tone, but I did already remove it before I copied it 500 times
    – Brett
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:05

Why don't you group images then make a clipping mask and a gradient over that?

This way you can change anything you need to at a later date as well easily


An interesting conundrum. In this situation, I might try Pathfinder on one instance of the logo, get that right, then create the pattern and merge, but you're well past that point. At this stage, I don't see messing with paths as productive.

You want to end up with a half-tone of a particular size or a small range of sizes, so there isn't really a need to retain everything as vector information. Instead, export what you have as TIFF(s) or PNG of appropriate size, create a new document, import the raster image and apply the half-tone to that.


You could try using the Pathfinder and performing a Divide first. This will make sure that overlapping areas are simplified. In particular it will make sure that the counter of the "a" (the enclosed part) is knocked out from the black area, which I seem to understand is what is giving you trouble.

Then, after divided, you could select all black objects (select one then, as Scott suggested, use Select > Same > Fill & Stroke and using the Pathfinder again perform a Unite. You can also delete the white or empty (no fill) objects.


If anyone is still reading this thread years in the future like myself, I found something that worked for me after experiencing a similar problem. I made sure my two objects were ungrouped and expanded them. Then I selected Object > Compound Path > Make. I applied my gradient and voila! The gradient stretched across the two separate objects rather than creating two separate gradients.

  • Sorry, that solution was mentioned several times above. I was trying several different things in Illustrator, found my solution, and got a little too excited to post and didn't notice the answer had been given already.
    – eioDesign
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 16:13
  • If the solution was already stated you can delete your answer by clicking the delete link. Keep in mind that duplicating answers that are already present tends to receive downvotes and gets flagged for removal.
    – user9447
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 17:08

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