I am new to Illustrator and can't figure out how to make a single object from many paths and shapes.

I used Image trace to trace a black&white image (settings: abutting, create fills and ignore white option selected). After this, I expanded the object and then I changed black colour to another. Now I want to make the drawing as it was before I expanded it. I tried to use compound and pathfinder but it didn't worked, or maybe I didn't use these functions correctly.

Hope somebody can help me with this.

After image trace : enter image description here

After expand: enter image description here

After recolour: enter image description here

After I used Unite from Pathfinder(the other options from pathfinder don't work too): enter image description here

Best regards,


  • There is no direct inverse equivalent of Expand operations, because the Expand creates shapes with equivalent "rights" and characteristics. Let's say stroke becomes filled shape and you cannot convert it to stroke as it was.... (only cmd+z can help a little bit)
    – Ilan
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 7:23
  • 1
    If there is no direct inverse Expand equivalent operation, then how image trace creates a single object which I can expand into many filled path?
    – NumLock
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 7:29
  • Can I change the colour of image trace result without using expand ?
    – NumLock
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 7:31
  • If you provide the picture of interest and ask the specific question you will learn something specific and useful. Now, we have general question which will add you some general points only
    – Ilan
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 7:33
  • I will provide an image.
    – NumLock
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 7:33

1 Answer 1


As stated in the comments, there's no direct inverse of Expand other than Undo.

The issue you appear to have is due to the Image Trace feature.

When the image was traced and expanded you then have both back and white objects. Using Pathfinder > Unite then makes everything the same fill color as the topmost object. Which was probably a white object.

WHat you should use rather than Unite, is Pathfinder > Merge. This will ensure different fill colors remain separate objects.

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