Convert Fill Line to Stroke in Illustrator CS3


I have a dieline that is made up of filled rectangles. Is there an easy way to convert that to stroked lines in Illustrator CS3? I can use the outline command in the pathfinder menu, however it makes multiple strokes for each side of the rectangle. I'd like to ideally convert it to a stroke that represents the middle of the rectangles. Our diemaker is requesting this change, and we have a few dielines set up this way. I'd rather not have to manually recreate them.

Re: Convert Fill Line to Stroke in Illustrator CS3

If each line segment is a rectangle, and you need to replace them with stroked lines in the center of the rectangles, try the following:

Select all horizontal rectangles, then Object > Path > Average..., then "Horizontal" in the dialog window. Repeat for vertical rectangles, choosing "Vertical." Then remove the fills and apply strokes to the paths. Each path will actually be a rectangle with zero height or width, so you should use the "delete anchor point" tool to delete one of the redundant points on each end, thereby making a line with two points, otherwise the die maker may have trouble with it. You might want to join all of the corners together afterwards (this is how I make dies, but I don't honestly know if that is how the die makers prefer it). If you have rectangles that are not strictly vertical or horizontal, you might try rotating the entire die by the appropriate angle, converting the rectangles, then rotating back.

The above will only work if each segment is a rectangle. If you have, for example, a rectangular die, and the artwork is a filled compound path of a small rectangle inside a larger rectangle (instead of a single rectangle with a stroke), you could remove the outer rectangle, and offset the inner rectangle using Object > Path > Offset Path... by the appropriate distance to get the path properly centered within the original line.
Re: Convert Fill Line to Stroke in Illustrator CS3

Try opening the die in PSD, this will rasterize it (I suggest 600dpi grayscale). Now with the magic wand tool, select the interior of the die. Modify the resulting selection to 'Expand' the appropriate number of pixels to reach your dieline center. next from the "Paths" pallet you can make a work path from the selection, save the workpath with a name and then you'll be able to export the path as an ai file that will open in CS3.

I've done this more than once, it may not be perfect or feasible for complex dies, but it's better than recreating.

Good Luck.
Re: Convert Fill Line to Stroke in Illustrator CS3

Or you can replace the "filled line" with the stroke on top, use the measure tool to check the position of the first and last point. Make a new layer with the strokes, lock it and delete the one underneath. It takes 10 minutes and the diecut people and their router will be grateful forever. Normally the dotted lines are only used for the folds or gussets. No need to be microscopically precise (which you can be if you want)
Re: Convert Fill Line to Stroke in Illustrator CS3

1. Determine the width of the shapes.

2. Use the Pathfinder to combine all these shapes.

3. Go to Object > Path > Offset Path

4. Enter half of the original width of the shapes.

5. Delete the larger shape.

6. Clear the fill and add your stroke.
Re: Convert Fill Line to Stroke in Illustrator CS3

Great suggestions! What I ended up doing was what GinSu suggested, opening up in Photoshop and making a path, then exporting it back to Illustrator (I was most familiar with this method). I needed to add a couple of score lines, which wasn't bad. Ended up taking about 15 minutes.

Thanks everyone!


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