How to Convert Stroke to Outline in Illustrator CC

Learn how to convert stroke to outline in Illustrator CC in a matter of seconds, and bring all the benefits of fill, anchor points, and complete paths into play with any typography or drawings you have created with linear paths.

Convert Stroke to Outline in Illustrator

How to Convert Stroke to Outline in Illustrator CC

Video Tutorial

Want to see this simple tutorial in action? Feel free to follow along with me below. The video is less than 2 minutes, and gives you everything you need.

Step-by-Step Tutorial

Convert Stroke to Outline

Step 1 – Select an object that has no fill and stroke added with the selection tool from the lefthand toolbar. Use ‘window > stroke’ to check your stroke width and settings if you would like to.

Step 2 – With the path selected, go to ‘object > path > outline stroke’.

Step 3 – Your stroke has now converted to an outline, with a full fill color and no stroke added. Select it with the selection tool.

Step 4 – Go to ‘view > outline’ to see the path that has been created.

Step 5 – This is confirmation of your outline. You can see your stroke has now been converted to an outline, consisting of two paths with anchor points. Come out of outline mode by going to ‘window > preview’.

Options and Adjustments for Outline

Now that your stroke has been converted, you can treat it as you would a complete path, object, or shape. None of these steps need to be followed, but will just show you some of the options available to you now that you’re working with an outline and not a stroke.

Step 6 – Flip the fill and stroke by switching the ‘fill and stoke’ options (lefthand toolbar) by clicking the little arrow to the right of them. This will set the object to have a blank fill and a black stroke.

Step 7A – Add anchor points to the outline by selecting ‘pen tool > add anchor point tool’ from the lefthand toolbar. Make sure the object has already been selected with the selection tool before you do this.

Step 7B – Click on the paths to add anchor points. You can also do the same with the ‘delete anchor point’ tool to remove anchor points.

Step 7C – Break the outline by selecting an anchor point with the ‘direct selection tool’ and click the ‘delete’ or ‘backspace’ key.

Step 7D – Use the ‘direct selection tool’ from the lefthand toolbar to change the position of any anchor point or handle by simply clicking it and dragging it to where you would like it to be.

Step 7E – Create new shapes by selecting the ‘pen tool’ from the lefthand toolbar.

Step 7F – Hover over a broken path until the connecting line appears of the cursor, then click and proceed to either click to create straight lines, or click and drag to create curved lines, and connect the shape by hovering over the last anchor point of the broken path, then clicking to connect and complete the shape.

Step 7G – Use both the fill and stroke options to add color, pattern, and gradients to the outline, and have plenty of fun with it.

It really is that simple to convert a stroke to an outline in Illustrator. It’s a good idea to keep a copy of your stroked object or path before you convert, so that you can always go back to the original drawing, path, or object.

Once you have converted, you suddenly open yourself up to all of the tools and options that can be used with completed paths and shapes, not just linear paths with strokes applied. Have fun with it, and I hope it helps you take your designs to new heights.

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