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I'm used to gimp in which there is a way to select a path and use an algorithm to remove excess points and generally smooth out the path.

It asks for details like what kind of edge to keep as a corner, and thresholds for removing and rounding out points.

Is there a way to do this in illustrator? I've seen the smooth tool, but it seems strange there isn't a way to do it all at once coming up in any of my searches.

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As per Ryan's and Scott's comments the feature you are looking for can be found under Object -> Path -> Simplify...

This will present you with the following dialog:

enter image description here

Here you are given some control over how it should simplify a path.

Curve Precision

Enter a value between 0% and 100% to set how closely the simplified path should follow the original path. A higher percentage creates more points and a closer fit. Any existing anchor points are ignored except for endpoints of a curve and corner points (unless you enter a value for Angle Threshold).

Angle Threshold

Enter a value between 0 and 180° to control the smoothness of corners. If the angle of a corner point is less than the angle threshold, the corner point is not changed. This option helps keep corners sharp, even if the value for Curve Precision is low.

Straight Lines

Creates straight lines between the object’s original anchor points. Corner points are removed if they have an angle greater than the value set in Angle Threshold.

Show Original

Shows the original path behind the simplified path.

Source

When you're happy with your options, hit apply. Here's an example of a simplified straight line with default settings:

enter image description here

Note that if you're looking for more manual control there's also a tool called the Smooth Tool which essentially lets you draw over a path in order to smooth or simplify it by hand. Click here for more information.

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