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Remember that the flattening process always has to happen whenever Illustrator senses that you're taking artwork that is currently with live transparency and sending it someplace that does not understand that transparency. For example, when I'm sending artwork to a printer that uses postscript, when I'm saving an EPS file, or when I'm copying and pasting content from Illustrator into another application that does not understand transparency. So for example, if I'm taking some artwork from Illustrator and I copy it and I want to paste it into another program and that program does not understand what transparency is, what actually gets pasted into that program? So the answer is that at this point Illustrator is kind of faced with two potential ways to address that problem.
It can either make sure that the appearance of my artwork is going to be pure and the same. As we discussed in the past that's the rule number two of flattening. It's made sure that when my file actually is flattened, it always remains the same. However, remember that in doing so, it will actually affect the editability of my document, meaning that paths will get broken apart in those atomic regions. And when you are copying and pasting artwork from one place to another, maybe your intention is that you actually want the shape to be preserved and don't really care about the transparent effect that might be applied to it.
So we have two options that we can kind of work with here. We can either choose to preserve our appearance or we can choose to keep the path themselves intact. Illustrator actually offers that as an option to us and we can find that option in Preferences. So I'm going to go over here to Illustrator. I'm going to choose Preferences. I'm going to come down to the bottom here where it says File Handling and Clipboard. If you are on Windows, by the way, you'll find these settings in the Edit menu. I am now going to look at the bottom here where it says Clipboard and notice over here where it says Copy As. Illustrator will always choose PDF and AICB, which stands for Adobe Illustrator Clipboard format, which in your mind really should just be EPS. This means PostScript right here.
Illustrator always put a PDF version and a PostScript version of your artwork up on the clipboard. However, in the PostScript version, do you want to maintain its appearance but get broken up into pieces or do you want the paths to be preserved but lose the transparent effects? And that's what these two options here are actually for. I can either choose to preserve the paths, meaning don't worry about the appearance but make sure that paths are intact, or I can choose which is the default setting, Preserve Appearance and Overprints, which will keep my artwork looking the same but it might not just be as editable by the time I paste that into a different application.
So, when you are working with Illustrator and other applications and you're copying and pasting, keep in mind that you do have these options available here inside of Preferences.
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