How to Convert Type to Outlines in Adobe Illustrator

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Fonts are cool, but sometimes you want to edit them directly as objects. Adobe Illustrator lets you take a font and make it into an editable object by converting the text into editable outlines. Handy for special effects and for use before sending a file to a commercial printer, the Create Outlines option can change an entire document into outlines -- no fonts required.

  • Launch Adobe Illustrator and open a new document by clicking on "File" from the menu bar and selecting "New" from the drop-down menu.

  • Click the "Type Tool" in the toolbar. Click inside the document and type a line of text.

  • Select the line of text by double-clicking on it and enlarge it to fill the document, making it easy to see. Click on the "Direct Selection Tool" in the side bar and attempt to select a portion of the text you typed. Note that you cannot manipulate one of the letters; the letter remains a font.

  • Click on the "Selection Tool" and click on the line of type to select it.

  • Click on "Type" in the menu bar and select "Create Outlines" from the drop-down menu.

  • Click anywhere in the document other than the line of type. Select the "Direct Selection Tool" and click on one of the converted letters. It is now fully editable as a path, instead of as a font. You can manipulate the object just as you would any other decorative element.

Tips & Warnings

  • Get into the habit of creating outlines before you print a project - that way you don't have to bundle the font for the printer.
  • Check the spelling before you create outlines. There's no going back to a font from here.

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