I need to simplify my vector file. The file that was given to me is a vector that has multiple paths overlapped on top of each other.

These drawings are very detailed, and the original software it was created in was for engineers not necessarily meant for graphic designers. I now need to take their drawings and use them in my designs, but the vectors are so complex and unnecessarily overlapped, that it makes Illustrator lag because of the size and complexity of the vector. Is there a way to merge lines that are touching other lines in a quick and simple way, kind of like the function of pathfinder, but for lines.

I've attached photos for examples, but it doesn't get the full visual of the multiple lines that are piled onto of each other.enter image description here

  • 1
    Why not expand the lines and then use the pathfinder option to unit the objects?
    – AndrewH
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 19:06
  • You may start by reading this post: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/59032/…
    – joojaa
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 19:28
  • You can try to go Object>Path>Simplify Path and try to play with the Curve Precision. Try applying two instances of Simplify Path with 100% Curve Precision. Maybe it would help reduce excess points and ease up the lag.
    – knnku
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


What you could try is:

  • Select all

  • Expand the shape: Object > Path > Expand

  • Remove any remaining stroke

  • Then try to make a compound path (ctrl + 8 or cmd + 8). If that doesn't work try using the Join command from the Pathfinder dialog.

This should combine them into 1 vector shape that doesn't take much memory.

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