Chapter Twelve


In this chapter we’ll be starting with the basics of creating and using text and then moving on to the more complicated and adventurous side of typography.

Creating Text

There is more than one way of creating text but to start off we’ll be looking at the most simple - creating a text box using the tool bar.

Select the Type Tool from the Tool Bar on the left of your screen. Then draw a box on your artboard to create your text box. Before we start to explore what you can do with a simple text box, type a short sentence in the box and highlight it.

Ctrl+L : Align text left

Ctrl+C : Align text centrally

Ctrl+R : Align text right

Ctrl+Shift+>/< : Increase/Decrease text by 2 points

Alt+Arrow Right/Left Key : Increase/ Decrease tracking by 20 points

Alt/+Arrow Down/Up Key : Increase/ Decrease leading by 2 points

There are a number of useful shortcuts related to text - the best of which I have listed on the right.

In addition to the shortcuts there are many different menu options available. Go to Window>Type>Paragraph, or press Ctrl+T to bring up the Text/Paragraph Palette.

From here you can change the font, style, size, leading, kerning and tracking in the character palette and the alignment, indentation, spacing before and after the paragraph and whether your words are hyphenated at the end of a line in the paragraph palette.

To change the colour of your text, simply repeat the steps from above to change the colours of a shape. Simply highlight the text you want to change the colour of and select the “Fill Colour” box on the toolbar. You can also just select the text box using the selection tool to create the same effect.

Copying Attributes

If you have changed the colour of your font change it back to black and then copy and paste your text box, so that you have two identical sentences on your artboard.

Select one of the sentences and change the font, size and colour, so that the sentences look completely different.

Now assume that you want both sentences to be identical. Rather than having to go through the whole process of finding out exactly what shade of colour has been used, which font and what size your letters are, you can use the eyedropper tool. Just like with shapes, the eyedropper tool will sample the colour, but unlike shapes, it will also sample the font and size, saving you time.

Go to the toolbar on the left side of your screen and select the Eyedropper Tool. Hover the tool over the font you want to mimic until you see a white eyedropper with a small T, indicating it has recognised that it will be mimicking text.

When you see the little T, click once to copy the attributes from the text. Then move the tool to the text you want to change, hold down the Alt button and click and drag from one end of your sentence to the other to indicate which text you want to change.


If you want you can change only a few words of your sentence, or the whole thing. If you want to change the whole thing you can use the selection tool to select the text box before using the eyedropper tool to copy the attributes and the changes will be applied immediately.

Overflow Text

When a red plus symbol appears in the bottom right corner of your text box it means that you have overflowing text - it doesn’t all fit in the text box. 

To fix this, you can either resize your text box, remove some of your words, or double click on the plus symbol to create a new, identically shaped and sized text box with the overflow text in it. A thick line will appear indicating the link between the two boxes.

Linked Text Boxes

Creating Text on a Path

Text can be created to follow any path you choose - circles, squares or paths you’ve created yourself using the Path Tool.


To type on a path, draw the shape you want to type and click and hold down the Type Tool button in the Toolbar until the Rollout appears and select the “Type on a Path” tool. Select the path or shape you want to type along. When you have finished you can treat this text like any other - editing its colour, font and size to suit your needs.

Use the Direct Selection Tool from the Toolbar to edit the handle positions along a Type Path. Handles affect where your text starts, ends, its position, and the baseline (whether above or below a path). Use the central handle to flip the baseline or go to Type > Type On A Path > Type On A Path Options, select Flip, and click OK.

Using the central handle to flip the baseline
Moving the start handle to the left
Start Handle
End Handle
Moving the start handle to the right
Central Handle

Area Type Tool

The Area Type Tool allows you to type within the boundaries of any shape you’ve drawn. This can be a standard shape found within the shape Tools Rollout on the Tool Bar, or a compound shape you have created using the Pathfinder Tool, or a shape you have drawn using the Pen or Brush Tools. This text can then be treated as if it is in a standard Text Box.

Vertical Type

There are a number of different vertical type tools, and here I have included a brief description of each.

Vertical Type Tool: Creates a text box, just as the standard Type Tool, but as you type the words are formed vertically.

Vertical Area Type Tool: Allows you to type in a pre-made shape, as the Area Type Tool, but again the words are formed vertically.

Vertical Type on a Path Tool: Allows you to type on a path, but, as with the previous tools, the words form vertically.

Creating Outlines From Text

Sometimes we need to be able to edit the shape of letters, words and sentences to create special effects and make things stand out.

To do this, select your text box and go to the Menu Bar at the top of the screen Select Type>Create Outlines, or select your text box then press Shift,Ctrl+O.

Your text will then become completely editable using the direct selection tool and you can apply outlines and fills to the letters, just as you would any other shape.

Please note: when you turn a text box into outlines it will be grouped, to select individual letters simply open the group, or you can explode the group.

The major drawback to turning your text into outlines is that you can no longer edit the text using the Type Tool. I would recommend double checking all spelling and grammar and ensuring that you’ve written everything you want to say BEFORE changing your text to outlines, as once you’ve pressed that button you can’t turn back!

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