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Adobe CS5 Illustrator Area Type Tool

An easy and practical way to create rows and columns of text is to use the area type options in Adobe Creative Suite (Adobe CS5) Illustrator. This feature lets you create rows and columns from any text area. You can have only rows or have only columns (much like columns of text in a newspaper) or even both.

  1. Select the Type tool and drag on the artboard to create a text area.

  2. Choose Type→Area Type Options.

    The Area Type Options dialog box appears,. At the end of this section, a list explains all options in the Area Type Options dialog box.

    The Area Type Options dialog box lets you create columns of text.
    The Area Type Options dialog box lets you create columns of text.
  3. In the Area Type Options dialog box, enter a width and height in the Width and Height text fields.

    The Width and Height text fields contain the height and width of your entire text area.

  4. In the Columns area, enter the number of columns you want to create in the Number text field, the span distance in the Span text field, and the gutter space in the Gutter text field.

    The span specifies the height of individual rows and the width of individual columns. The gutter is the space between columns and is automatically set for you, but you can change it to any value you like.

  5. Click OK.

When you create two or more columns of text from the Area Type Options dialog box, text flows to the next column when you reach the end of the previous column.

One column of text flows into the next.
One column of text flows into the next.

The following list breaks down the other options available in the Area Type Options dialog box:

  • Width and Height: The present width and height of the entire text area.

  • Number: The number of rows and/or columns that you want the text area to contain.

  • Span: The height of individual rows and the width of individual columns.

  • Fixed: Determines what happens to the span of rows and columns if you resize the type area. When this check box is selected, resizing the area can change the number of rows and columns but not their width. Leave this option deselected if you want to resize the entire text area and have the columns automatically resize with it.

  • Gutter: The empty space between rows or columns.

  • Inset Spacing: The distance from the edges of the text area.

  • First Baseline: Where you want the first line of text to appear. The default Ascent option starts your text normally at the top. If you want to put in a fixed size, such as 50 points from the top, select Fixed from the drop-down list, and enter 50 pt in the Min text field.

  • Text Flow: The direction in which you read the text as it flows to another row or column. You can choose to have the text flow horizontally (across rows) or vertically (down columns).

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