I have the following problem. I am using stokes to mask out a shape I want. I want to remove these strokes altogether but retain the masked shape.
So for example the below image has three circles with a white stroke to form the shapes I desire.
I am perfectly happy with this when it is on a white background but I want the strokes to be transparent rather than white so that they cannot be seen on a non-white background (see below).
Obviously if I just make the strokes transparent I lose the desired shape.
This is what I am trying to achieve (this was done in Photoshop but I want to achieve the same in Illustrator)
I am sure there is a simple solution but I am struggling to work it out.
In addition to what Lutz said, the pale circle becomes smaller/lower than the others; it seems that you start out with the same size but with different Stroke Weights, so less underlying fill is removed from the dark ones. If you want the same height, you should use the same Stroke Weight for all.
Removing all former strokes also requires more than one Pathfinder/whatever operation.
You may create the three circles as fill/nostroke with the desired final size(s) and then, depending on version, either give the pale one a Stroke set to Outside or create a stroke/nofill copy and Object>Path>Offset Path by half the Stroke Weight, expand that, and then select all and subtract it using Pathfinder.
Thanks for the update but as I am still relatively new to Illustrator can you provide me with a little more detail.
Expand Appearance is not available so I have used Expand instead. I am not sure what the difference is.
Anyway that give me this:
I have selected Stroke and Deselected Fill so that I only expanded the Stroke.
You then say to convert the Strokes to Objects but I am not sure how to do this.