How to Outline Text in Illustrator CC

Illustrator gives you the opportunity to change text into outlines or artwork. Basically, you change the text into an object, so you can no longer edit that text by typing. The plus side is that it saves you the trouble of sending fonts to everyone who wants to use the file.

Turning text into outlines makes it appear as though your text was created with the Pen tool. You want to use this tool when creating logos that will be used frequently by other people or artwork that you may not have control over.

To turn text into an outline, follow these steps:

  1. Type some text on your page.

    For this example, just type a word (say, your name) and make sure that the font size is at least 36 points. You want to have it large enough to see the effect of outlining it.

  2. Switch to the Selection tool and choose Type→Create Outlines.

    You can also use the keyboard command Ctrl+Shift+O (Windows) or cmd+Shift+O (Mac).

    The text is now grouped together in outline form.

  3. If you’re being creative, or just particular, and want to move individual letters, use the Group Select tool or choose Object→Ungroup to separate the letters, as shown.

    Letters converted to outlines.
    Letters converted to outlines.

When you convert type to outlines, the type loses its hints, which are the instructions built in to fonts to adjust their shape so that your system displays or prints them in the best way based on their size.

Without hints, letters such as lowercase e or a might fill in as the letter forms are reduced in size. Make sure that the text is the approximate size it might be used at before creating outlines. Because the text loses the hints, try not to create outlines on text smaller than 10 points.

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