What does Expand Apearance do in Adobe Illustrator?


As the title asks what does it do? When and why we need it?

Can anybody explain with an example for me?

6/11/2015 4:23:00 PM

Accepted Answer

To put it simply: lots of effects in Illustrator involve automatically generating vector shapes in a pattern based on rules that can be tweaked and re-applied. Normally, you can't select those shapes, because they're part of the pattern, brush, etc etc.

"Expand appearance" breaks these effects, turning the automatically-generated shapes into normal vectors you can edit.

Example - brushes:

Suppose I create a scatter brush of this dorky-looking face, and I apply it to a brush path:

enter image description here

Illustrator auto-generates lots of sized, scattered rotated vector faces - but I can't select them because they're tied to the brush settings and the path. Normally, that's a good thing - it means I can move the path around, tweak the brush settings, etc etc.

I'd use "expand appearance" if I wanted to break the link to the path and the brush so that I could select those dorky faces manually:

enter image description here

They're now lots of regular, normal vectors which I can edit manually. But I've lost the ability to change the brush settings or move the path they were attached to around. It's a good idea to keep a copy off the artboard / on a hidden layer before expanding a pattern in case you decide later you wanted to change it.

enter image description here

6/11/2015 5:20:00 PM