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Converting Text to Outlines in Adobe Illustrator

When using Adobe Illustrator how to (and when to) convert text to outlines for press-ready artwork is essential knowledge. If you will not be sending fonts along with your art work, best practice is to turn fonts to outline or paths. If you don’t send the fonts and don’t outline your text we may not have the typeface that you used and it will cause problems when setting up artwork for press. Turning Fonts to outlines effectively means that the text is no longer text - it has become a graphic, and the text cannot be altered.

Converting text to outlines is very easy in Illustrator. The “Green” text in the graphic shown below (left) has a blue line underneath it. This shows that the text is made up of a typeface and is not paths or a graphic, but is editable text. The little blue square at the left end of the line indicates that the text is left justified. If the type were centred or right justified, the little square would move accordingly.

Illustrator Text - GreenIllustrator Outlined Text - Green Illustrator Menu Change text to outlines

To convert text to outlines, Select your text or Select All of your label. It doesn’t matter if other graphic elements are selected. Select Type/Create Outlines from the menu. The text will become outlined and can’t be edited as text (see the image above right). Now you can see the line beneath the text has gone. The text characters now have editable paths, or outlines, around them - they are no longer text, but vector graphics, and can be edited as such.

It is always a good idea to keep an editable copy of your document as an AI file before you convert text to outlines and save then a copy of the file with the fonts outlined for press. This is so you can come back and edit it later, instead of having to recreate the artwork with text again. If you want us to make minor changes to any text, we would need the original editable copy, if not the outlined file will work.