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I have a plane consisting of 4 squares - take as an example a subdivided plane. How can I merge these faces into one?

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    $\begingroup$ Dissolve the middle vertecis of each edge and the middle vertex, by pressing [x]> Dissolve vertices $\endgroup$ – someonewithpc Dec 14 '14 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ @X-27 Feel free to put a link here if you are unsure, or vote to close. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Dec 15 '14 at 1:34
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There is an operator called Dissolve which does exactly what you want.

Select everything, with A, and then press X (or Delete) and select Limited dissolve. This will do the same thing as above, but will not require you to select the proper vertices manually.

enter image description here

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so long as the faces are surrounded by more geometry, using f for Make Edge/Face works well. For a whole simple sub-divided plane like the example given, this tool will make a mess.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ This does recuce reduce the poly-count (check the triangle count in the header) $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Dec 14 '14 at 22:46
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I found that it is sometime more efficient to use x in edit mode then Disolve edge.

Let's convert this curve into mesh with ALT+ C:

enter image description here

You end up with the following mesh.

enter image description here

This mesh will be hard to process because it has holes. for example, f simply doesn't work. Using Limited disolve will not work well too, here is the best result I can get using this method :

enter image description here

Disolve edge is interesting because you can process the mesh multiple times without changing the whole shape. Here is the result I obtain after two Disolve Edge :

enter image description here

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