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How do I turn a traced and expanded image back to a single layered image? I'm new to Ai.

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  • Hi Willi, thanks for your question. Could you tell us what you tried that didn't work? Always good to show some effort, and your chances for a good answer increase. If you have any questions, please see the help center or ping one of us in Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site! – Vincent May 18 '15 at 14:40
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The Layers Panel in Illustrator is fundamentally different than the layers panel in Photoshop. Illustrator's layers panels is actually a "layers and objects panel" which not only shows layers, but shows the objects on that layer. So, within Illustrator there's no such thing as "one layer" if your document has more than one object. Seeing multiple objects in the Layers Panel inside Illustrator is just how the application works and is not an inherent issue. It's the difference between layers in a vector application as opposed to pixel layers in a raster application.

If seeing object levels really bothers you, you can change what the Layers Panel shows by choosing Panel Options from the Layers Panel Menu and ticking the Show Layers Only option.

Layers Panel Options

This will stop showing you objects and groups and only show layers and sublayers. This does not change the artwork or how it is constructed, only what is visible in the Layers Panel.

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  • What I should've asked is how to turn multiple objects (back) into one object. Let me explain why... The thing is that when I work with traced and expanded images and want to keep a lot of colors and detail, it creates A LOT of paths and objects. Then, when I want to continue to work with the expanded image, I have like 40 000 different objects, so the system runs super slow. – WilliW May 19 '15 at 17:20
  • You can use the Select > Same menu item and Pathfinder Panel to combine objects. Unfortunately if you want it vector, and objects of different colors, you need separate objects. – Scott May 19 '15 at 17:24
  • @WilliW this may help: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/17964/… – Scott May 19 '15 at 17:25
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If you're asking how to get elements from many layers onto one layer, simply Select > All, Group, then copy/paste to a new layer. This will keep your original art on their respective layers, and put a copy of all art grouped together on its own layer (which you can then Ungroup and edit).

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  • I am familiar with the group/ungroup command. What I need to know is how to turn a layer with all its objects into one single object. What I should've asked is how to turn multiple objects (back) into one object. Let me explain why. The thing is that when I work with traced and expanded images and want to keep a lot of colors and detail, it creates A LOT of paths and objects. Then, when I want to continue to work with the expanded image, I have like 40 000 different objects, so the system runs super slow. – WilliW May 19 '15 at 17:20
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The merge function in in pathfinder can sometimes crate some weird results and doesn't always work for what you want it to do. From what you are describing, the Shape Builder tool would be your best bet. Here is a tutorial from Adobe on how to use it: https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/creating-shapes-shape-builder-tool.html

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