Appearance Panel Expanding Appearances

In our previous example we examined how, in the Appearance Panel, we can add additional strokes and fills to our basic objects and we can apply nondestructive editable effects to these individual parts- the strokes and fills.

Because these strokes and effects are applied to an individual path; when we edit that path and change the path’s shape, all the parts of the appearance that are attached to that single path follow the shape and change with it. This makes the ability to modify the shape of a complex object very easy as the appearance is attached to the path which is easily changed.

There are times however when you may want to break an object once created into its component parts so you can edit the strokes separately. We call this breaking the object into separate parts “expanding appearance”. Once you apply the expand appearance command to an object, the object breaks into several pieces that can then be moved and edited individually. Each part can then be moved, copied, resized and edited as needed.

Here we see an object from our previous lesson with multiple strokes applied and layered and multiple effects applied at different levels. They are all however applied to a single path, one object.


To do this we go to the Object pulldown menu and choose Object> Expand Appearance.