As the title asks what does it do? When and why we need it?

Can anybody explain with an example for me?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because "what does it do" can be found in the Manual. When and why to use it is too broad to answer in any sort of sensible way. It's like asking when to use a paint brush... you use it when you need it. If there's something you don't grasp about the tool then ask that but a general question like this reads as, "Im too lazy to use a search engine and need to turn this into my Intro to Illustrator teacher tomorrow" – Ryan Jun 11 '15 at 16:38
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    @Ryan I just tried googling "What does Expand Apearance do in Adobe Illustrator?" and nothing good quality came up. We can definitely do better than the poorly written docs pages and rambling forum posts that already exist. "Expand appearance" is one of those things that makes sense when you know what it does but doesn't make much sense until you've used it, so I can totally understand why someone would ask a question like this. – user568458 Jun 11 '15 at 16:52

To put it simply: lots of effects in Illustrator involve automatically generating vector shapes in a pattern based on rules that can be tweaked and re-applied. Normally, you can't select those shapes, because they're part of the pattern, brush, etc etc.

"Expand appearance" breaks these effects, turning the automatically-generated shapes into normal vectors you can edit.

Example - brushes:

Suppose I create a scatter brush of this dorky-looking face, and I apply it to a brush path:

enter image description here

Illustrator auto-generates lots of sized, scattered rotated vector faces - but I can't select them because they're tied to the brush settings and the path. Normally, that's a good thing - it means I can move the path around, tweak the brush settings, etc etc.

I'd use "expand appearance" if I wanted to break the link to the path and the brush so that I could select those dorky faces manually:

enter image description here

They're now lots of regular, normal vectors which I can edit manually. But I've lost the ability to change the brush settings or move the path they were attached to around. It's a good idea to keep a copy off the artboard / on a hidden layer before expanding a pattern in case you decide later you wanted to change it.

enter image description here

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