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Extra Paths in Illustrator Files

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
A while back I noticed that some Illustrator files provided to me contained duplicate paths. These paths are directly beneath others and contain no fills or strokes. They seem to happen mostly with compounded shapes.

Has anyone else noticed the same problem and how have you dealt with it?


New Member
just happened to an eps file I recieved the other day. 3 sets stacked on top of almost, but not quite, all of the several dozen contours (some compound, some not). I was glad I discovered them before I buried the plotter blade into the teflon strip after the 3rd trip over the same cutline.

I'll be stoked if there is some magic quick fix... cause that was a time consuming p.i.t.a.

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
I first came across it back in the Flexi 5 series of releases (circa 1996). According to Flexi it is the way PostScript is supposed to operate in the instance of controlling vectors. They provided a line in their FSP55.ini file to eliminate Flexi creating them that reads:


Setting it to "1" turns on this feature.

I know the old AI and EPS import filters in Gerber Graphix Advantage would delete any unfilled vectors, but the current one's evidently do not. Neither do Flexi's filters.

Hmmmm .... I wonder if creating an unfilled shape, selecting it, and then using the select similar fills command would select them for deletion?

Matthew Scher

New Member
Extra paths

If you send me that AI/EPS file I can take a look and see if Flexi can automatically remove these unwanted paths. If they are exact duplicates it may be easy to have them automatically removed.

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
Hi Matthew.

I will be happy to send you the original file. Flexi 7.5 seems to handle solving the problem just by selecting the vectors and clicking the Convert to Outlines command which apparently automatically welds all same color overlaps in the process. Any insight you have into this will be appreciated.

I am able to duplicate the problem in Illustrator 10 using the Pathfinder>Merge command. You will see it if you release the compound, click select an inside path and move it. Preview should be off.

This particular file evidently passed through Coreldraw when it was created since the compounded letters are segmented. Corel has always done this when exporting in AI/EPS format. The first screen show shows one letter on opening in Illustrator. The second shows the letter after Merging it, ungrouping and releasing the compound then selecting and moving. As you can see there is an extra inside path with no fill.


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  • Path2.jpg
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New Member
It usually happens when....

all shapes are "combined".......
middles of O's and R's etc. should be left as a separate shape!


Jen Goodwin

New Member
I'd love to know what causes this...I always get this with other peoples Illustrator files. Easy enough to fix if it is a simple drawing, but when they are complex it is a PITA to find and remove all of them! Mostly, I assumed it was some sort of Mac to PC conversion thing since most of the people I get Illustrator files from run Macs.


New Member
The shop i worked at for 14 years had Gerber Graphics Advantage. When i started doing my own stuf at home i designed in Illustrator. I noticed that everytime i had shapes with both a fill color and stroke color, once i imported the art into Gerber, it would not display the stroke weight anymore. What it did was convert the stroke to its own separate shape, thus ending up with multiple shapes overtop oneanother.

Working in Graphics advantage i had once seen the same shape overlaped 8 times on top of eachother.

Hope this helps


New Member
I sent you the recent file I have with this issue.
(Fred, I CC'd it to you as well in case you are interested. On my file, all 3 copies have the same fill)

dennis j

New Member
Fred, we were with out power yesterday so I just read the post we have a lot of trouble with this also, some of the shapes will only have one copy and the one right next to it will have three copies not bad to take care of in a simple file but in a complex file it is a pain.


New Member
Not sure if this might help. Ctrl A to select all, then do pathfinder add-expand. Will work fine in some situations, not in others. Without seeing the actual file I couldnt be sure whats going on.

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
I've just register at the Adobe Forums and posted a series of questions regarding this problem. I'll post anything of interest here that comes back in response.

One quick trick I've found in experimenting takes advantage of the fact that most of these extra paths lack a fill or a stroke. It works as follows:

1. After opening an AI or EPS file in Illustrator, draw any shape and assign it No Fill and No Stroke.
2. With it still selected, click on Select > Same > Fill and Stroke.
3. Any shapes matching this description will be selected.
4. Click on Select > Inverse
5. Copy to clipboard (Control + C), Open a new page (Control + N), and Paste (Control + V) into the new page.

You now can inspect the file for correct preview to insure that nothing you left behind mattered.

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
Dennis, I haven't checked Corel but Flexi has a "Select by Attributes" command under the Edit menu (keyboard shortcut is "D"). When it opens there are four tabs: Object, Fill, Stroke and Effect. Clicking on Fill displays the various assigned fills along with any unfilled objects with "x" boxes for what you want to select.

Just x the No Fill box and Flexi will select every unfilled object.

See screen shots.


  • select by attributes1.jpg
    select by attributes1.jpg
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  • clear fills selected.jpg
    clear fills selected.jpg
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Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
I received the following reply which offers several solutions:

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top align=left>Kurt Gold - 12:26am Jul 29, 2004 PDT (#1 of 2) </TD><TD width=20><SPACER height="1" width="1" type="block"></TD><TD class=size1 vAlign=top align=right width=250></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></FONT>

Pathfinder Palette menu: Pathfinder options: Enable 'Divide and outline will remove unpainted artwork'
<LI>Also check this option if you are working with Pathfinder Effects (Effect menu)

Easy ways to detect and delete these objects:

- Object > Path > Tidy up: Check 'Unfilled objects'
- Download Rick Johnsons 'Select':
-> http://personalpages.tds.net/~graffix/software/plugins.html#SelectMenu

- Take a look at this Javascript:

-> http://digbig.com/4bmdh<!--end msg-->

dennis j

New Member
Fred, I didn't even think of using the "Select by Attributes" command I will try that the next time we get a multi layered file. :thankyou:

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
I installed the freeware plugin. It works very nicely and will also find open paths and various other attributes in Illustrator.

I also was unaware that the Path > Cleanup feature has a check box for "Unpainted Objects" which also accomplished the task.

scott pagan

New Member
after version 8, illustrator pathfinder doesn't do quite as good as it used to. it will leave many of these unwanted paths the older versions did not. nice follow up on the plug-in Fred.