I have created an image for a door consisting of vector based (AI) emoticon balls in InDesign on a Mac. The supplier doing the print and installation is having an issue where hidden lines are also appearing as cut lines in the document. Is there any way I can remove the non-visible lines and objects so that the supplier can import the file into Corel on a PC and only have the visible art lines for the cutting? When I export the PDF/EPS/PS I am still able to click into each object in it's entirety and edit it.

This is what it looks like - need to weed the white areas out:


3 Answers 3


With vinyl, you need to make sure you don't have overlapping paths. That's probably what you printer is referring to.

Maybe the issue the printer has is because you didn't clean up your graphic by using the "pathfinder" tool and having transparent filling and/or white instead of transparent.

Your strokes should also be "expanded."

Mini guide here.


If you did this in InDesign, first thing to do is to export all this in PDF. Then you'll be able to open and modify your montage in Illustrator.


I made an example with 2 smiley faces overlapping.

Normal artwork

If you look in the menu "view/preview", you will notice the lines overlapping. It's not ideal for vinyl cutting even though when you look at your artwork in normal view it looks normal. What you want is to remove the overlapping parts.

Overlapping artwork in preview mode


First, expand all strokes. Vinyl cutting cannot really read the thickness of strokes. They only need the outlines.

Select all > Then go in the menu "Object" and select "Expand"

Expand strokes

Check the 2 boxes in the window "Expand"

Expand strokes lines and fill


Then what you need to do is to cut everything in order to remove the extra parts you don't need... If you use the "Divide" in parthfinder, it will separate the overlapping parts from the rest and will be easy to remove.

Select all, then on the Pathfinder tool, select "divide"

Divide artwork with pathfinder


Now you need to remove the white parts. Unless you need to print in white and black, the white parts are usually representing transparency. Do this step if your vinyl is black only.

Use the Direct Selection Tool (white arrow) and click on a white part of your artwork to select it. Then go in the menu "Select" and choose "select same fill and stroke". Then delete that white.

Remove white from artwork


Now all your have left is your black with the outline but also some paths that could be merged to simplify your vector.

To merge all your black together, click on one portion of your black and then go again in the menu "select" then choose "select same fill and stroke"

Select same black

Then go on the Pathfinder tool, and click "merge". It will assemble together all the black parts of your artwork.

Merge artwork


Finally, you want to remove all the transparent paths and shapes left.

Take the rectangle tool and trace a box with no filling and no strokes.

Then select this box, go in the menu "select" and choose "select same fill and color". Press delete!

If you select all in your artwork, you will know if you did a good job because all you'll see is black in the color swatch. That means no white or empty paths are left, and no strokes either.

Final result

And the outline view should look like this, where nothing is overlapping anymore.

[Final outline view[11]


Without inspecting your artwork file or talking with your printer, it's a bit of a shot in the dark for us to determine what pre-press setup you'll need for this to work.

Is there any way I can remove the non-visible lines and objects

"Non-visible lines and objects" could be a few different things. If they are closed paths with no Fill or Stroke applied, it's easy to separate only the parts you need using Select > Same > Fill Color and move the selection to its own layer so you can export just that.

separation demonstration

Open paths can also be non visible objects, and they could possibly be included when separating like I've demonstrated. There's no convenient way within Illustrator to select open paths, but there are some suggestions available in this question.


Thanks all, because each face/ball was a separate AI file it was a bit of a mission to recreate it. I ended up exporting a nice high res file and just doing a trace on it - looks like it has solved the issue - next one I will do all in AI i think! I was just because we had a colour version for one side and the Sandblast Vinyl the other side - it was easier to do it in InDesign to ensure both sides matched.

  • Just a trick for next time: If you like to do this in InDesign, you can export your PDF from InDesign, with trim marks and open that PDF in Illustrator! This way you can make sure it's all perfectly aligned with your original design (back and front); the trim marks will ensure your design is perfectly centered and aligned with the back. And you can even re-import your final "clean vectors" in InDesign. The tracing works too, it's a smart shortcut if you're really stuck and if you don't have tiny details.
    – go-junta
    Aug 8, 2015 at 23:10

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