Separate Fill and Stroke in Illustrator

I recently started taking graphic design in college and I have run into a bit of a snag with Illustrator. Hoping someone can help out.

I created Figure A in the attached image using separate objects with a fill and no strokes. After making that I decided I wanted to go for a flat version of it. I made it one solid color and added a 3pt stroke on it as show in Figure B. What I ultimately want to achieve is Figure C which I faked by making the stroke white on a white background. Is there any way to separate the areas of black fill in Figure B from the green stroke?

I attempted to accomplish multiple ways, but none of the results look as clean as what I faked in Figure C:

Figure D: I removed the stroke and used the Transform Each function under the transform menu to shrink each objects size, but the spacing between the objects are not very clean or even for that matter.

Figure E: I used Outline Stroke under the Path menu then used pathfinder to cut it out of the solid polygon shape, but it had some adverse effects.

Am I missing something? I feel like it should relatively easy to separate the stroke and fill into separate objects since Illustrator treats them as separate things to begin with. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Create two shapes stacked.
Bottom one is filled, top one is strokes.
Outline your strokes.
Unite your strokes using pathfinder.
select both shapes and Minus Front using pathfinder.

Couple general hints:
With Pathfinder, if you don’t want to be subtracting invisible objects, open up the options tip menu and tell it to remove unfilled objects and extra points.

If this is a logo, never ever leave objects hidden behind other objects or on “hidden” layers. Look at your Outline view and if any line cuts through a shape, a vinyl plotter or CNC will do the same (and is why we charge set-up fees in signmaking.) Clean up your junk.

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The pathfinder would be the way to go. Props to you for using it, sadly it took me quite some time to discover the tool and use it correctly.

I assume the adverse effect was the background shape being scrambled, or inverting with the foreground. Like PD says, you can’t subtract/minus with a transparent or white object. A quick fix would be to give the object a fill, and try again.

PD, I never knew about that setting. Maybe it’s time I brush up on my software knowledge.

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When using pathfinder you can use a white or trans shape. It doesn’t care as long as it’s a shape and not a stroked path.

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Thank you everyone for the feedback. I will give it another shot with Pathfinder.

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