When I download some stock icons, many times I see that the shapes are "compound shapes", and I do not understand why anyone would use this technique.

Can you tell me why I should use compound shapes?


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    I've never heard of it before. Can you attach a screenshot of what you are referring to? – Ovaryraptor Jul 27 '17 at 16:17
  • yes of course, it's in italian, but I hope it's helpuful, the screenshot is attached in the question. – Sasha Chirico Jul 28 '17 at 7:41
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    Hi Sasha, I've edited your question a bit to be a tad more clear (mostly due to language differences). If you feel my edit was unwarranted, please correct anything I may have mistakenly changed. Thanks! (The screen shot helps considerably) – Scott Jul 28 '17 at 8:14

I believe you mean Compound Shape and not "composite track".

Compound shapes allow multiple objects (paths) to be treated as a single object.

From the Adobe FAQ:

Compound shapes let you combine multiple objects and specify how you want each object to interact with the other objects. Compound shapes are more versatile than compound paths because they provide four kinds of interactions: add, subtract, intersect, and exclude. In addition, the underlying objects are not changed, so you can select each object within a compound shape to edit it or change its interaction mode.

When looking at something such as the map icon, there are 4 separate paths there; 2 for the teardrop and 2 for the circle. By using a Compound Shape, it allows the artwork to have a "hole" in the center and the fill can be uniformly altered with a single click, as opposed to multiple clicks for fills, and then masks to create "holes".

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