Someone delivered a vector file from me that was from an older version of illustrator. There is an excessive amount of clipping mask, and I'm wondering if there is a way to .... make it into one file? if that makes sense.

It's still vector and all, but I use CTRL + Y a lot.

Here are some shots to illustrate what I'm talking about. enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

The last picture is what happened when I tried to merge it into one shape.

  • 4
    "It's still vector and all...." --- No. It is not. All those rectangles in outline mode designate embedded raster images, not vector content. My guess would be they started as standard gradient fills, but got expanded and clipping masks added when back-saved to a legacy version. Asking for the working version of the .ai file would be the best scenario. Otherwise you need to recreate all those gradients as standard objects with fills based on the bounds of the clipping masks and delete all those raster rectangles.
    – Scott
    May 4, 2015 at 23:29
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    Respectfully, It is vector because I can enlarge it and edit the shapes. I'm sure it was created entirely in illustrator. The squares have live gradient fills. May 5, 2015 at 3:42
  • So you can alter the gradients in the squares via the Gradient Panel?? The outline mode view would indicate otherwise. (I'm assuming Illustrator but there's no mention of any software in your question) You can enlarge embedded raster images within Illustrator. With clipping masks the edges will remain crisp but the interior raster content will degrade like any enlarged raster content.
    – Scott
    May 5, 2015 at 4:16
  • And.. if those are live gradients, before removing clipping masks, you should be able to select all and click the Merge button on the Pathfinder Panel. However, if those gradients are embedded raster images, as I suspect, the Merge button will have little to no effect.
    – Scott
    May 5, 2015 at 4:27
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    Do you need to fix this one? because recreating it with mesh tool is very easy!
    – Naty
    May 5, 2015 at 7:03

1 Answer 1


You'll probably need to recreate the gradients.

Sometimes, saving from CorelDraw does that to gradients.

But if this trick can make it faster for you to re-work the gradient, you can delete all the "inside" little lines/square (the ones you see as square in the outline view) and keep the ones that serve as clipping mask on the outside edge of the gradients. And then you should be able to re-apply the gradient properly using the same "skeleton".

You'll probably need to keep the original version opened next to the new one and use the color picker to get the exact same gradient colors for every element.


If you don't think you'll ever need to make this into a pantone and can use it in CMYK, then maybe you could try to use the "pathfinder" and "divide" all this. That won't make a clean job as re-doing the gradient but at least the logo should still be less annoying to work with than it is right now.

If you want to have less paths, than the first option is the best one.

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