How can I ‘flatten’ thousands of paths quickly in a vector image?

I have a .ai file (also opened fine in Inkscape) with thousands of paths which sometimes overlap. I would like to have no overlap and just each object. I will need to simplify it further as I am planning to laser cut/engrave with it but manually cutting and joining is going to take a long time.

It seems I could export as a very high resolution raster image and then trace that but that seems less than proper.

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Use Illustrator:

  • Select All
  • Click the Merge button on the Pathfinder Panel (Window > Pathfinder)

This removes all overlapping areas and combines areas with the same fill color.

Source : Link , Question Author : altendky , Answer Author : Scott

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