I've drawn an irregular shape in illustrator and I want to know what its area is then I want to compare it between another shape
How could I calculate its area in Illustrator (CS6 or CC)?
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There's unfortunately no way of getting the area in Illustrator (CS6/CC) natively that I know of.
You may have more luck with scripts.
I found one here that seems to work.
The code seems rather simple:
alert("Area & Length (inches)\nArea: " + (Math.abs(app.activeDocument.selection.area/5184).toFixed(3)) + "\nLength: " + (app.activeDocument.selection.length/72).toFixed(3));
You could also convert these measurements from inches to centimeters. The source page seems to go into some descriptions on how to customize it.
Getting area in CS-CS5
That being said you can look at it through an unsupported feature in CS5 and below (down to CS I believe) by clicking:
Select your path then open the
object section and look at the area read-out:
I can't tell you how to interpret that area read-out (I'd assume points) but you can use it as a point of comparison. No pun intended.
Do be careful with this feature as it is unsupported and could cause grief.
If Johannes method fails to work for you, Telegraphics have a free Patharea filter which may do the trick: http://www.telegraphics.com.au/sw/product/patharea
Bryan Buchanan made a script available on github to compute the area of a shape in Illustrator in squared cm or squared inches. I used it on Adobe Illustrator CC 2020.
In order to use the script you have to:
.jsx(right click on "raw" and then "save as" somewhere on you computer).
File/Scripts/Other scripts...(or shortcut
.jsxfile in the folder pannel
The shape(s) area will be displayed in a pop-up window.
If you want the script to appear directly in the
File/Script menu, you have to place the ".jsx" file in the subfolder
Presets. The exact path to that folder depends on you operating system, Illustrator version and language, but should look like this on Windows:
C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator 20xx\Presets\en_GB\Scripts
If you can use Photoshop as a supplementary tool and can accept some error, say 0,4% of the area of the bounding box of the shape you can try this.
Let's have in illustrator a vector shape:
Its bounding box has W=98,8 mm and H=89,8 mm. The area of the bounding box is 8872,24 square millimeters.
Copy the shape to the clipboard, open in Photoshop a new RGB image which takes its size from the clipboard. Paste to that image as pixels the shape from the Illustrator.
You should have in Photoshop pixel dimensions at least few hundred pixels to get the max available accuracy. If needed open bigger image before pasting, scale the shape to bigger size and crop the image to the minimum which covers the pasted shape.
Change the color of the pasted shape to full white (RGB=255,255,255) with levels or curves:
Insert a background layer full of black. Merge the shape and the background layer:
Apply Filter > Blur > Average. Check the color with the info panel:
The color is RGB 117,117,117. Number 117 shows that the area is (117/255 )x( 8872,24 square millimeters) = 4071 sq.mm.
RGB numbers have only scale 0....255 with steps =1. The error can be 8872,24/255 sq.mm = 35 sq.mm. or less.
Another unasked, but available tool is Inkscape. It has extension Visualize Path > Measure. It can in Inkscape 1.0 calculate areas and path lengths of single Bezier curve shapes (=rectangles and other preset shapes must be coverted to paths). Groups are not supported. Every item of a group is measured separately.
The result is written as text to the image.