I have a certain PDF containing data plots generated and exported with Wolfram Mathematica. It is a highly zoomed in version of the dataset, and sadly Wolfram seems to export all of the data, and simply hide the part that is not included in my plotting range. Now, one can definitely argue that this is something I should solve on the Mathematica side; I will most certainly look into that. However, at this stage I am already stuck with 40+ plots that have been heavily edited in Illustrator, so regenerating them from scratch would be rather annoying.

I'm therefore looking for a way to fix my problem with Adobe Illustrator. To illustrate exactly what I mean, here are two screenshots, the first in which I simply show the plot, and the second of which I select one of the datasets in enter image description here enter image description here

As you can see, there is a ton of hidden data in the background. I'm very unfamiliar with illustrator so I don't know the correct term for this type of hidden data (perhaps also why I couldn't find a previous question that already asked this), but I suppose it is clear what I mean.

Is there a way for me to get rid of this hidden data? Preferably I could simply choose an option while saving, or select all of the objects in the image and delete all the hidden parts at once.

As an aside, I uploaded the pdf at https://rbfi.io/dl.php?key=/sEyl/Temp.pdf in case you are interested, but of course I can't guarantee it will be there forever for future readers. I used https://robustfiles.com/ to upload it (I just googled trusted file upload website) but if you have something different you'd prefer just let me know.

2 Answers 2


You could use the anchor selection tool (A) and select al obsolete points to delete. It's probably easier to dysect the image into layers first i.e. Text on one layer(locked), plots on another. This will make selected the obsolete points quicker.

Just in case the points are not entirely flush with the graph outlines you could use the pen tool (P) to add them along the way of the graph outlines, or draw a line ontop of the graph outlines and use pathfinder to combine it with the plotted lines to create points exactly on the ends of the plot lines. This way the angles of your plotted lines will be ensured to stay the same, even though there doesnt seem to be much visible diffirence in the lines close to the graph outline.

  • @user129412 If this helps, please accept my answer, otherwise please explain in more detail what you would like to achieve
    Jan 19, 2017 at 15:25
  • That appears to have been a mistake, I thought I originally accepted it when I upvoted it. My apologies and my thanks
    – user129412
    Jan 24, 2017 at 13:11
  • np, glad to be of help and thanks for the accept!
    Jan 24, 2017 at 13:45

Export your plot as bitmap file (JPG, TIF, PNG)

What? A bitmap?

It maybe sounds idiotic to destroy the possiblity for easy editing. But should mathematical results be editable? You have calculated something. Maybe the results are the wanted output, not the edited results.

High enough resolution for printworks is a must. It can be reduced for onscreen watching. Comments and explanative additions are well possible in bitmap formats, too.

A benefit of bitmaps: Special software needs special fonts. Vector formats probably need copyrighted fonts (=Mathematica's proprietary stuff) to be installed where your image is wanted to be seen. I don't believe all of them to be available in a machine that hasn't a valid Mathematica installed. A bitmap carries the wanted final image, no fonts are needed.

HiRes bitmap needs much storage. That's bad. So, this answer needs some supplement to be complete. Probably some Superman-class GDSE member could show a clever vector domain solution.

Addendum for the comment:

If you export as bitmap from Illustrator, you gain some assurance against accidental or dummkopf edits that may be done at layout. Keep a good space between the explantion boxes and the graph. The layout worker can easily make different crops of your image (a linked one in InDesign or thatlikes, one copy is enough) to make all your stuff to fit into the layout.

  • Thanks for the comment. You are right that the calculations do not need to be editable, but some of the labels/formatting/relative sizes and such are. Mathematica is notoriously terrible at plotting everything in the way you'd like it to. However, I suppose your idea is to export to PDF from Mathematica, edit the PDF if needed, and then export it to a high res bitmap? That one could do, perhaps. Might also depends on what the journal requires.
    – user129412
    Jan 19, 2017 at 9:32
  • @user129412 see the edit
    – user287001
    Jan 21, 2017 at 18:41

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