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I have downloaded some SVG icons from the web which are all outlined paths. In Illustrator I would like to make those paths thicker. Is there a way to do this? I know when a line is still in stroke-mode you can just adjust the size of the stroke, but once this has been converted to outlines I don't know if this is still possible?

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Yes, you can make the outlined path thicker. Simplest way is to just apply a stroke on the outlines. This will then be added to your stroke (so remember it needs to be 1/2 the additional weight you need). Closed outlines may need this done to both sides.

A bit more cleaner way would be to offset the outline. I suggest using Effect → Path → Offset Path... as its nondestructive so you can change your mind later (as opposed to Object → Path → Offset Path...). You can then later expand this if you need to bake the effect in.

Offset path

Image 1: Offset the path to create thicker (for thinner use negative values) outlines.

It is also possible to reduce the outlined stroke back to a stroke. To do this measure the distance between the outlines and then delete the other side and offset by half the distance. This is slightly less work for closed paths as you dont need to clean up after yourself.

enter image description here

Image 2: Reversing the expanded path back to a stroke.

  • thx, although adding a stroke might seem simplest indeed, i do prefer the effect method as it seems cleaner to me indeed. Thank you for the professional replies :) – Justin Othername Dec 1 '14 at 10:35
  • @JustinOthername If you feel that this or any other post answers your question then accept one of the answers otherwise this post will be destined to haunt us forever. – joojaa Dec 1 '14 at 16:28
  • yip, you're very right, i'm not at all expert in stack exchange matters but thx for the warning ;) – Justin Othername Dec 4 '14 at 9:07
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Since the outlined art consists simply of filled objects, the intuitive solution would be to add an exterior stroke of the weight of half the amount you wanted to increase the initial stroke. For example, if the outlined stroke was 1pt, and you want to change it to a 2pt line, you would add a 0.5pt exterior stroke to the outline. However, some caveats I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Adding strokes to unjoined outlines will add weight to the ends, while with path stroke behaviour, the stroke is capped at the endpoints by default
  • It's a lot harder to reduce the weight of the stroke after it's outlined. Luckily, you want only to thicken it, so you don't really have to worry about this.

There's probably others — working with outlines when you want paths is never ideal. Nonetheless, the short answer is yes, it is entirely possible. You just have to be a little craftier.

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