ARTD 335 - Digital Illustration

converting type to outlines

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To properly see the various typefaces you choose in an Illustrator document on another computer, the other computer must have the same typefaces installed as the ones you use. When I receive your projects for grading, there's a chance I will not have the same typefaces on my computer as the ones on the computer you are using. A way around this is to convert your type to outlines. This converts your type to artwork or plain objects which behave as if you had drawn them by hand; it breaks the link between your document and the typefaces loaded on your computer's system so that anyone can see them as you intended. Plus it allows you to use special effects that you can't use on normal editable type. But it means you can't edit the text any more.

You can edit type as objects by converting the type to outlines. Once the type is converted, you can edit the shape of individual characters, use text as a clipping path, apply complicated strokes and fills to the shape of a group of characters, and apply special effects. For the purposes of the ARTD 335 course, it means the type in the document you create can be seen properly by anyone without having to have the typeface on their computer. You can no longer edit type converted to outlines as text — for example, you can't change the spelling, type, or paragraph attributes.

Converting type to outlines may affect the onscreen appearance of text characters. Printing type converted to outlines does not require that fonts be installed, but type converted from 12-point sizes and smaller may result in poor-quality output.

You cannot convert outline text back to editable text after you manipulate the paths. However, you can choose Edit > Undo to reverse the conversion if you have not yet manipulated the paths or saved the file. If you think you may need to make changes to the text in the future, it's a good idea to save a version of your document before you convert the type to outlines so that the text can still be edited, and than save it again with a different name after you've converted the type to outlines.

To convert type to outlines:

  1. Select the text area you wish to convert with the Selection tool.
  2. Choose Type > Create Outlines. The following conversions occur:
    • Text attached to a path remains in place, but the path disappears.
    • The text in the text area converts to a group of objects; to manipulate individual characters, you must ungroup the objects.
    • Letters with more than one component, such as the letter i, convert to compound paths.
    • Letters with enclosed areas, such as B and O, convert to compound paths with transparent holes.
  3. To ungroup the converted text into individual, editable characters, choose Object > Ungroup.
  4. To edit a selected word or phrase as a single object, select the characters that make up the word or phrase and choose Object > Group.

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