Text in Adobe Illustrator: tools, features, instructions

Adobe Illustrator is a powerful graphics editor. In it, you can work with images and process text using the application’s rich settings.

To start working with text in Adobe Illustrator, you need to get acquainted with the tools and capabilities of the program. After that, you can perform simple operations and improve your AI skills.

Text Tools in Adobe Illustrator

The principles of creating and editing text objects are similar in all graphic editors. You can change the font type, size, and style (italic, bold, underline, etc.). Adobe Illustrator is no exception in this regard. At the same time, it allows you to perform many tasks much easier and faster, and the effects themselves are much more diverse than in other programs.

So, Illustrator allows you to process text as a full-fledged vector image that can be attached to an arbitrary curve, used to frame other elements, decorated using various brushes, gradient fills, etc.

Adobe Illustrator
Text in Adobe Illustrator

The text tools in Adobe Illustrator are accessed through the Type Tool icon on the toolbar. By clicking on it, the user can access the widest possibilities for editing and designing any inscriptions.

  • Type Tool (horizontal inscription);
  • Area Type Tool (inscription inside the area);
  • Path Type Tool (inscription along the path);
  • Vertical Type Tool (vertical inscription);
  • Vertical Area Type Tool (vertical inscription placed inside the area);
  • Vertical Path Type Tool (inscription vertically along the path).

For most users, it is most convenient to select the necessary tool, click on the desired part of the image with the cursor, and enter text. However, this method can only be used in Illustrator for two options: Type Tool and Vertical Type Tool.

When entering new text, it defaults to 12 pt and Arial Cyrillic regular font. To change these parameters, the inscription must be selected with the cursor, right-clicked, and specify the required values ​​in the context menu. In this case, alphabetic characters are entered as vector images, and for them, you can use the Direct Selection or Selection options, performing the desired actions with the selected fragments.

Panels for working with text in Adobe Illustrator

The Type Tool menu contains only a subset of Illustrator’s options for editing text elements. More options are hidden in the Window > Workspace > [Type] menu. Let’s consider them in more detail.

Character panel (Window > Type > Character)

Provides basic tools for editing labels, allowing you to edit the entire text and individual characters. The following options deserve close attention:

  • Font family (a group of fonts; for example, Myriad Pro).
  • Font style (allows you to set the font style – italic, underlined, strikethrough, etc.).
  • Leading (line-height).
  • Kerning (the gap between kerning pairs).
  • Tracking (the gap between selected characters).
  • Horizontal scale (character width).
  • Vertical scale (character height).
  • Baseline shift (height of the main text).
  • Character rotation (text rotation by a given number of degrees).
Text in Adobe Illustrator

Paragraph panel (Window > Type > Paragraph)

Allows you to perform various manipulations with paragraphs.

Similar to Word, you can set the Word wrap option here. In this case, they will be broken into syllables separated by a hyphen by the algorithms specified for the language. For correct transfer, you need to specify the language correctly.

Open Type panel (Window > Type > Open Type)

Allows you to configure Open Type fonts.

Glyph panel (Window > Type > Glyphs)

Allows you to enter additional characters that are supported by the selected font.

Clicking on a symbol immediately allows you to insert it into a text block. You can also adjust the size of the preview thumbnails.

Character Styles panel (Window > Type > Character Styles)

Contains a set of handy tools for operations with repeating styles. You can specify the required options and apply them to existing and newly entered text objects.

So, if the inscription is made in 12 points and Arial font in red, you can save these settings as a style and apply it to other text objects. In the future, when changing the parameters of the saved style, the design of all labels to which it is applied will change.

Paragraph Styles panel (Window > Type > Paragraph Styles)

Styles to set for paragraphs. They can also be applied to free text.

Tabs panel (Window > Type > Tabs)

Allows you to indent selected text. Reminds me of the Ruler panel in Word.


Contains the tools you need most when editing text in Adobe Illustrator.

Inline and block text in Adobe Illustrator

Text blocks in Illustrator can be of two types: inline and block. There are significant differences between them.

When you click on any tool in new versions of the program, insert the default text Lorem ipsum. It can be easily removed.

The online text you enter is in a regular text editor. The letters will be printed on a line until the user presses Enter and moves the cursor to a new line.

This method is suitable for short text elements: headings, text block numbers, etc. Many standard manipulations like justifying and auto-wrap text when resizing a text field do not work here.

In addition, text in an inline box can be accidentally distorted if you drag the edge of the frame under the black arrow. Designers carefully work out the appearance of the inscriptions, adjusting them to the overall idea of ​​the composition. Even a slight deformation of the appearance of the text can spoil the work.

To keep the height and width ratio unchanged, you need to stretch it while holding down the Shift key. In practice, this is more convenient than changing the size manually.

Block text is different in that it snaps to a predefined frame. First, you need to draw it with the cursor, and then, when a blinking mark appears in it, you can type text or insert a previously saved inscription. This principle is well suited for placing text in one or more columns, the sizes, and proportions of which should remain unchanged.

The frame’s shape is changed with a black arrow at its border. To change the font size, you will need to specify a new font size manually.

Separate restrictions for each Type of text do not create problems since the mode can be easily changed by double-clicking on the circle to the right of the label.

To correctly convert inline text to block text, manually entered newline indents must be removed. They can be seen activating the mode (Tyle > Show Hidden Characters), which shows hidden characters.

Placing text in Adobe Illustrator along a curve

In the Type Tool drop-down menu, you can see the Path Type Tool. It allows you to place the test along an arbitrary curve. So, you can use the option Pen (Pen) to draw a line of any shape (at the same time, it should not have the specified fill and border parameters). Next, using the Path Type Tool option, you need to click at the beginning of the curve and type the desired text. Once you’ve finished typing, you can set the same options you would set for any other text element.

Suppose you do not like the appearance of the inscription. In that case, you need to select the Direct Selection tool, place the mouse cursor on a perpendicular segment at the beginning of the inscription, hold down the left mouse button and move the text relative to the curve, bringing it to the desired view.

Adobe Illustrator allows you to edit text by placing it around a circle. For example, you can draw a circular path around an arbitrary element in the image and then place text along this path using the same Path Type Tool option. Then you can specify other parameters of the inscription: font, color, etc.

This is also relatively easy if you need to place a circular inscription inside the object. You need to set the desired diameter of the outline so that the text is in the right place. But there is another way. The Character panel has a Baseline Shift tool (offset relative to the main line). If its value takes a negative value, the inscription will be transferred to the other side relative to the curve.

By changing this parameter, you can adjust the inscription relative to the desired element. There are other useful options in the same panel, particularly setting the horizontal spacing between individual characters (Tracking tool).

You often want to place text along a particular section of a circle, for example, at the bottom. If you rotate text already entered along a curve, it will be displayed upside down. For it to be positioned correctly, you must select the inscription using the Selection tool and then drag its beginning to the desired image area. Similarly, text can be placed inside the object using the Baseline Shift parameter (offset relative to the main line), setting it to a negative value.

The Spiral tool will help to give the inscription a spectacular look. It allows you to add spiral text to Adobe Illustrator. To do this, you first need to draw a curve of the appropriate shape with several turns. Then click on any part of it and enter text, specifying the necessary parameters for size, font, etc. You can also make the font shrink as you move along the spiral.

To do this, in the Path Type Tool mode, successively reduce the font size by one pixel in the Character block. If you choose a suitable background for such an inscription, the image will look bright and unusual.

Placing text in AI inside an area

The Area Type Tool option (text inside the area) allows you to place an inscription inside a limited block.

As an example, consider creating a callout. Draw a rectangle with rounded corners, then using the tool Pen (pen), set two corner points at the bottom of the shape. For the point to the left, you need to stretch in the form of a guide angle. Keep in mind that if it is used as a form inside which text is placed, it will not be possible to set a border and fill parameters for the label in the future.

You need to copy the leader and place it in front using the option Edit => Paste in Front (Editing => Paste in front). Select one leader with the Direct Selection command, click Area Type Tool (text inside the area), click on the frame’s border, and type the desired text.

The resulting callout may not match the size of the area. Then you need to alternately select callouts with and without text and then resize them. In the Character panel, open the Paragraph tab and click on the Align Center icon. Set other font options. You can add a shadow to the text; for this use, the option Effect=>Stylize=>Drop Shadow.

Other useful features for working with text in AI

  • Transferring an inscription to a new block

If you click on the red cross on a block with text data, the program will create another block of the same size. If, when entering text, the first of them runs out of free space, the inscription will be automatically transferred to the second.

  • Deleting empty objects

In Adobe Illustrator, you can change the text and automatically remove text boxes that do not have labels. To do this, you need to run the command. Object > Path > Clean Up and choose Empty Text Paths. This is much more convenient than manually looking for empty blocks and deleting each one.

  • Text on a path

You can enter text along a given path using the Type on Path Tool. To do this, click at the desired line point and enter the inscription.

To move a text block, in the Selection Tool mode, place the mouse cursor on the starting point, hold down the left button and move the block to the desired location.

This article briefly introduces how to make text in Adobe Illustrator. This data is enough to develop logos and create single inscriptions with spectacular visual design. However, if you have to solve more complex tasks, such as the layout of newspaper pages and other printed products, it is recommended to refer to the official training materials. They can be easily found on the Adobe website.

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