I'm designing small icons for screen, I'm using align to pixel grid. One problem I've encountered is aligning a compound path to the grid.

Here is a screenshot of the problem

This is the letter "O", which is a compound path, when I align to grid, it messes things up. How can I fix this?

  • I don't see the problem here in CS6. What version are you using? Are you scaling Strokes & Effects as well?
    – Scott
    Jun 12, 2012 at 20:54
  • The cutout of the "O" gets filled in and the outside path is removed. I just want the object align to pixel gird. I'm not doing any scaling/resizing.
    – decimal
    Jun 12, 2012 at 21:28
  • I see what you are experiencing. Just not experiencing it here. Are you ticking the Scale Strokes & Effects option as well?
    – Scott
    Jun 12, 2012 at 21:31
  • ticked and unticked, both have the same result :(
    – decimal
    Jun 12, 2012 at 22:17
  • 1
    Can't beat a bit of all caps Eurostile Bold Extended (where appropriate of course)
    – e100
    Jun 13, 2012 at 11:48

6 Answers 6


This may not be the perfect answer, but it might get you through the project.

Duplicate the layer. Then flatten it.


I don't trust Illustrator's own align to pixel grid options, they have too many side effects, consequences and quirks.

I prefer the Wundes script PixelAlign, which works more like the buttons in the Align palette - you hit it once, it does its thing, the shapes are aligned to the pixel grid once, and then nothing else happens. No surprises.

I can't guarantee it'll fix this problem, as it seems to be a strange problem that is difficult to replicate, but this is something worth trying for anyone with pixel grid problems.

Direct download link.

  • THANK YOU! This is a wonderful way to align to pixels without distorting and to align text! Have I said thank you? ;)
    – spiral
    Feb 16, 2015 at 19:48

Apply a 2px stroke (inside) first, then switch to a 1px stroke. For some reason Illustrator will keep the object aligned to the pixel grid then. Quirk for sure.


I'm not seeing the problem here at all.

I'd suggest resetting the Illustrator preferences. and then relaunching Illustrator to try again. Instructions on resetting preferences can be found on Adobe's Site here.

  • Just tried it and it didn't work, I've linked the file here
    – decimal
    Jun 12, 2012 at 22:48

It looks like you have a centred stroke. In Illustrator, the stroke position and size affect the path's position, when pixel snapping is turned on.

Illustrator stroke width and pixel snapping

Odd stroke widths (1px, 3px etc) snap differently to even stroke widths (2px, 4px etc). The same rules apply to compound paths.

Compound paths and pixel snapping

Often, a good solution is to just draw separate paths.

Illustrator path pixel snapping

  • Check the link in the question comments.. it's a standard compound path.
    – Scott
    Jun 13, 2012 at 4:26
  • It doesn't really matter what kind of path it is, they all play by the same rules. Jun 13, 2012 at 4:30
  • paths yes... compound shapes.. no. Again.. check the file linked in the comments of the question.
    – Scott
    Jun 13, 2012 at 4:39
  • Compound paths, yes. I've edited my answer to include compound path examples. Jun 13, 2012 at 6:18
  • Replicate the users issue with the supplied file. You're missing the problem entirely. Not stating what you post is incorrect, it's merely off in left field.
    – Scott
    Jun 13, 2012 at 9:10

it is probably because of the size. I am also having a similar (may be the same) problem. when scaling down a compound object it gets weird below about 300px. I suppose this version of illustrator has some bugs. Hope they fix it soon.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.