In Illustrator, when I apply Pathfinder tools (like Trim, Merge) it generates invisible paths (paths with no fill and no stroke). I believe this only occurs with compound paths.

These "ghost" paths often adversely affect later operations. I know how to find and delete them, but it is an annoyance to have to do so every time I apply a Pathfinder effect.

Is there a way to prevent this?

I suspect it may be something in my configuration because I cannot find evidence of other people having the same problem (or I was just calling it the wrong thing while looking for an answer).

2 Answers 2


Choose Pathfinder Options from the menu on the Pathfinder Panel and adjust the settings.

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Beyond this, you just have to remember to remove unpainted things if they occur.

  • I already have both options selected. From the name, it appears that the second one only affects Divide and Outline (which I don't use, so I can't say for sure). I can remember to remove them, but I'm looking for a way to avoid having to do it repeatedly (if there is in fact a way). Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 23:03
  • I don't think there's a way to be honest. I always just select same and delete after using Merge or something.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 23:41

Ok, this doesn't actually prevent illustrator from creating them, but will help with removing them.

Object>Path>Cleanup will give you the option to delete all unpainted objects

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