When you turn your text into an editable shape in Illustrator, you can easily customize your text, combine the text with other shapes, or even use the text as an image mask.
Sketching the text is also a good idea if you want to give the .AI design file to a printer or other designer so they don't need the original fonts installed to access the file.
Luckily, converting your text into an editable form is one of the easiest things to do in Illustrator!
Table of contents
- 1 How to do it using the Create Outlines feature
- 1.1 Customize the text
- 2 How to do it with the Make With Warp function
- 2.1 Make With Top Object Feature
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 3.1 Is there a shortcut to convert text to a shape?
- 3.2 Why isn't my text turning into a shape?
- 3.3 Can I convert the shape back to a text layer?
- 3.4 Can I change the size and color of the shape?
Here's how to use the Create Outline feature.
The best time to use the Create Outlines method to convert text to a shape is when sending graphics to a printer or other designer. Outlining text prevents the fonts from switching to a default font on another system if the person doesn't have the font installed.
You should also use this method if you want to fully customize your text.
Follow these steps to convert text to a shape.
- Create a new Illustrator document or open the project file
- Enter your text, choose your font and change the text size
- Select the text(s) to border
- Go toType > Create Outlinesor pressShift + Ctrl/Command + O
You can convert point text created by clicking once on the page and paragraph text created by clicking and dragging out a text box.
Format the text as needed by resizing and changing the font size and color.Once you've converted the text into outlines, you can no longer edit the text to correct typos. I recommend saving a copy of your artwork at this point in case you need to change the text later.
Now select your text by clicking on it. Text is underlined when selected. Suppose you have many elements on your page, pressCtrl/Command + Aselect everything. It doesn't matter if you select graphics and images because the outlines don't affect them.
Convert the text by scrolling upType > Create Outlinesor pressShift + Ctrl/Command + O.
You can also outline the text by right-clicking/ctrl+clicking the text and selecting Create Outlines.
The text is no longer underlined, and you can now see a blue border around the text, meaning it's now a shape.
Customize the text
You can now send your graphic to the printer or use various tools to customize the text. Now that the text is a vector layer, you can adjust it differently.
Before you adjust the text,I recommend ungrouping so you can edit each letter individually. To ungroup the outlined text, make sure it is selected, then right-click/ctrl + click and choose Ungroup. You can also pressShift + Ctrl/Command + G.
While adjusting the text, select the Direct Selection Tool or press A.
The various anchor points are immediately visible on the shape path after selecting the tool.
With the tool active, click on any point to select it, then click again and drag around to adjust the text.
Repeat the process with as many anchor points as you want to change the text.
You can also use the pen tool by pressing N to adjust the text even further.
Here's how to do it with the Make With Warp feature
The other method of converting text to a shape is theJoin WarpFeature best used when you want to create distorted text. You can use this method to add preset distortions to your text or create your own distortions with specific shapes.
Follow the steps below to use the Make with Warp feature.
- Open your project or create a new document
- Add your text and format as needed
- Select the text to distort
- Go toObject > Envelope Distortion > Make With Warp.or pressAlt/Option+Shift+Ctrl/Command+W
Select your text indicated by the underline and transform the box around the text.
Then goObject > Envelope Distortion > Make With Warp.or use the shortcutAlt/Option+Shift+Ctrl/Command+W.
This action opens the Warp Options dialog box. You can choose a preset warp shape from the Style drop-down menu.
You can also change the settings by changing the warp orientation between horizontal and vertical.
Adjust the amount the text bends using the Bend slider or add an amount in the box.
Change the horizontal and vertical distortion that affects the perspective of the text by adjusting the sliders.
The text on your canvas will change in real-time if you check the box next to Preview.
When you are happy with the effect, press OK and your text will be distorted.
After selecting OK, you can use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to further adjust the text. Select the tool, click a point on the mesh covering the text, click the anchor point again, and drag to further distort the distorted text.
Make With Top Object Feature
If you don't like the preset distortion options, you can distort the text into any shape you like. To do this, add your text on the page and then use any shape tool to create a shape over the text.
Then select both layers by pressingCtrl/Command + Aor click and drag over both elements.
After selecting the items, go toObject > Distortion Envelope > Make With Top Object.or pressAlt/Option + Ctrl/Command + C.
Your text is now distorted into the shape you placed over the text.
The benefit of distorting the text this way is that you can still edit the text. Double-click the warped text and you can type new text without affecting the warping.
Your new text will follow the same warp settings.
However, this method does not convert the text into a shape. Therefore, after distorting the text, use the Create Outlines method to send it to a printer or other designer to preserve the font.
Alternatively, switch to after distorting your textObject > Expandto turn the text into a vector shape that you can further edit.
You'll notice that the blue outline around the text changes to an outline as you select it. Anchor points appear when you activate the Direct Selection tool.
frequently asked Questions
Is there a shortcut to convert text to a shape?
With the method "Create contours" you can use the shortcutShift + Ctrl/Command + Oto quickly convert text to a shape. This shortcut converts the text into a vector object that you can customize by editing the anchor points or send to the printer while preserving the font.
Why isn't my text turning into a shape?
You can't convert text to a shape if you've locked the text layer or accidentally selected a box around the text without a shape fill or stroke. Unlock the text layer in the layers panel and make sure you select the text layer to turn it into a shape.
Can I change the shape back to a text layer?
After you convert text to outlines or expand text, the only way to turn it back into a text layer is to use the Undo command. If you haven't made too many changes, you can pressCtrl/Command + Zto undo the actions.
However, if you have saved your project and exited when you reopen it, you cannot undo the text outlines. So always save a copy of your work before turning it into outlines.
Can I change the size and color of the shape?
Yes, you can change the size and color of the shape after converting the text to outlines. The process is the same whether you're grouping and editing individual letters or the entire text.
Select the letter(s) and drag the corner points of the transform box to change the text size.
Use the Fill field in the Appearance panel to change the color of the shape.