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Creating area text


Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

with Mordy Golding

Video: Creating area text

While point text objects are easy to create and easy to move around your document, their nature is unstructured. By that I mean, there's no shape or area that contains that text, so if you're working with a lot of copy, making edits to point text objects can be quite tedious. Area text and context is different. That's because area text objects have structure. Another way to define area text objects is that it flows within the confines of some kind of a shape or a container. Let's take a look at this example over here.
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 12m 37s
    1. What are vector graphics?
      6m 3s
    2. Path and appearance
      3m 42s
    3. Stacking
      2m 52s
  3. 32m 6s
    1. The Welcome screen
      2m 23s
    2. Creating files for print
      6m 7s
    3. Creating files for the screen
      2m 55s
    4. Using prebuilt templates
      2m 40s
    5. Adding XMP metadata
      4m 18s
    6. Exploring the panels
      6m 33s
    7. Using the Control panel
      3m 11s
    8. Using workspaces
      3m 59s
  4. 43m 44s
    1. Navigating within a document
      9m 15s
    2. Using rulers and guides
      7m 26s
    3. Using grids
      3m 6s
    4. Using the bounding box
      3m 37s
    5. Using Smart Guides
      5m 56s
    6. The Hide Edges command
      3m 22s
    7. Various preview modes
      3m 47s
    8. Creating custom views
      4m 3s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 12s
  5. 28m 46s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      8m 50s
    2. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 22s
    3. Using the Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    4. Selecting objects by attribute or type
      3m 37s
    5. Saving and reusing selections
      2m 15s
    6. Selecting artwork beneath other objects
      2m 13s
    7. Exploring selection preferences
      4m 1s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 52s
    2. Drawing closed path primitives
      11m 38s
    3. Drawing open path primitives
      5m 47s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      3m 43s
    5. Drawing straight paths with the Pen tool
      7m 37s
    6. Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool
      9m 47s
    7. Drawing freeform paths with the Pencil tool
      5m 33s
    8. Smoothing and erasing paths
      3m 8s
    9. Editing anchor points
      7m 21s
    10. Joining and averaging paths
      10m 9s
    11. Simplifying paths
      4m 55s
    12. Using Offset Path
      2m 17s
    13. Cleaning up errant paths
      2m 32s
  7. 48m 26s
    1. The Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes
      7m 34s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 56s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      8m 0s
    4. Using the Shape Builder tool
      10m 28s
    5. Using Pathfinder functions
      8m 6s
    6. Splitting an object into a grid
      1m 16s
    7. Using the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      7m 6s
  8. 49m 1s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 2s
    2. Creating area text
      8m 13s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      7m 44s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 24s
    5. Creating text threads
      8m 25s
    6. Setting text along an open path
      6m 29s
    7. Setting text along a closed path
      6m 24s
    8. Converting text into paths
      3m 20s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Create a logo mark
      11m 26s
    2. Add type to your logo
      7m 29s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      8m 21s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      4m 42s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      4m 25s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      5m 18s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 42s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      4m 33s
    7. Copying appearances
      4m 51s
    8. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      5m 50s
  11. 34m 0s
    1. Applying color to artwork
      5m 57s
    2. Creating process and global process swatches
      8m 54s
    3. Creating spot color swatches
      3m 19s
    4. Loading PANTONE and other custom color libraries
      4m 49s
    5. Organizing colors with Swatch Groups
      3m 31s
    6. Finding color suggestions with the Color Guide panel
      4m 24s
    7. Loading the Color Guide with user-defined colors
      3m 6s
  12. 50m 23s
    1. Creating gradients with the Gradient panel
      8m 12s
    2. Modifying gradients with the Gradient Annotator
      4m 37s
    3. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      5m 33s
    4. Defining your own custom pattern fills
      9m 13s
    5. Applying basic stroke settings
      5m 22s
    6. Creating strokes with dashed lines
      3m 41s
    7. Adding arrowheads to strokes
      2m 45s
    8. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 35s
    9. Working with width profiles
      2m 36s
    10. Turning strokes into filled paths
      3m 49s
  13. 32m 46s
    1. Creating and editing groups
      8m 18s
    2. Adding attributes to groups
      12m 17s
    3. The importance of using layers
      5m 9s
    4. Using and "reading" the Layers panel
      7m 2s
  14. 12m 13s
    1. Creating and using multiple artboards
      7m 52s
    2. Modifying artboards with the Artboards panel
      2m 2s
    3. Copy and paste options with Artboards
      2m 19s
  15. 31m 10s
    1. Moving and copying artwork
      3m 55s
    2. Scaling or resizing artwork
      6m 47s
    3. Rotating artwork
      2m 44s
    4. Reflecting and skewing artwork
      2m 34s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 15s
    6. Repeating transformations
      3m 39s
    7. Performing individual transforms across multiple objects
      2m 10s
    8. Aligning objects and groups precisely
      4m 27s
    9. Distributing objects and spaces between objects
      2m 39s
  16. 35m 40s
    1. Placing pixel-based content into Illustrator
      5m 14s
    2. Managing images with the Links panel
      4m 49s
    3. Converting pixels to paths with Live Trace
      8m 44s
    4. Making Live Trace adjustments
      6m 9s
    5. Controlling colors in Live Trace
      6m 4s
    6. Using Photoshop and Live Trace together
      4m 40s
  17. 14m 42s
    1. Managing repeating artwork with symbols
      4m 38s
    2. Modifying and replacing symbol instances
      3m 8s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      6m 56s
  18. 16m 57s
    1. Cropping photographs
      1m 59s
    2. Clipping artwork with masks
      3m 22s
    3. Clipping the contents of a layer
      3m 31s
    4. Defining masks with soft edges
      8m 5s
  19. 25m 52s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 18s
  20. 25m 8s
    1. Printing your Illustrator document
      3m 26s
    2. Saving your Illustrator document
      6m 39s
    3. Creating PDF files for clients and printers
      7m 30s
    4. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Microsoft Office
      1m 4s
    5. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Photoshop
      2m 31s
    6. Exporting artwork for use on the web
      3m 3s
    7. Exporting high-resolution raster files
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
10h 37m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Setting up a new document based on the output destination
  • Using rules, guides, and grids
  • Making detailed selections
  • Drawing and editing paths with the Pen and Pencil tools
  • Creating compound vector shapes
  • Understanding the difference between point and area text
  • Applying live effects
  • Creating color swatches
  • Transforming artwork with Rotation, Scale, and Transform effects
  • Placing images
  • Working with masks
  • Printing, saving, and exporting artwork
Mordy Golding

Creating area text

While point text objects are easy to create and easy to move around your document, their nature is unstructured. By that I mean, there's no shape or area that contains that text, so if you're working with a lot of copy, making edits to point text objects can be quite tedious. Area text and context is different. That's because area text objects have structure. Another way to define area text objects is that it flows within the confines of some kind of a shape or a container. Let's take a look at this example over here.

It's the back of the card that lists the instructions for caring and for planting plants, and if I use my Direct Selection tool to go ahead now and select this shape, you can see that there is kind of a boundary here that contains the text within it. As I mentioned before, area text has something called text flow. So when you make an edit to type, the rest of the type in that object is also affected. For example, in this case I'm going to switch over here to my Type tool and let's say I find out that there's some misinformation here that these specific plants are not acid loving plants.

So I need to remove this one sentence over here. So if I now go ahead now and I to click and drag to select the elements right here, I can press Delete and notice that all of the other text moves up accordingly. Let's see how we actually create an area text object. I'll hold down my Command key and then click on the artboard here to deselect that. Once I release the Command key, I'm going to return back to my Type tool and if you'll remember when we created a point text object, we used the Type tool to simply click on the artboard. While there is a separate Area Type tool inside of the Tools panel, there's really no need to use it specifically because we can just work differently on artboard with the same Type tool.

So to create an area text object, I'll think back to the technique that I used to draw a rectangle. I'll position my cursor, I'll click and drag to draw some kind of the shape, and then once I release the mouse I'll now see my text insertion point blinking inside of that shape. So for example, now I could start adding some type. I'll type in over here 'Plant in well-drained acid soil.' Now watch what happens when I start adding additional copy. Remove from metal or plastic container.

See that as I type, the text automatically reflows to fit within the area that I created. This is the main attribute of an Area Text object. I defined an area and now text can live within that area. One of the great benefits of working with area text is that if I now choose to change this shape, the text that's inside that shape will also automatically reflow. So I'll switch back here to my regular Selection tool, I'll now adjust the width of the shape by clicking on the handle on the side, and notice what happens now as I click and drag.

Illustrator actually previews in blue how that text is going to reflow. Notice that right now all of the text fits on a single line. If I were to make this area a lot narrower, you can see now that it takes four lines of text to display it. I'll make it just a little bit wider here, and I'll show you that there are also some additional settings that apply specifically to Area Type objects. You can find these settings by going to the Type menu and choosing an option here called Area Type options. This brings up a dialog box, which has a Preview setting and in addition to showing you the width and the height for the area that you've just defined, you can also set in number of rows and columns for that text.

For example, if I want two columns of text here, I could change its value to two. Illustrator automatically takes my overall shape and divides them into two even areas, called spans, with a gutter area in the middle. You can adjust this gutter value by changing the setting right here. Additionally you can use the Offset settings here to specify that the text does not match up exactly towards the edge of this shape that you've created. This gives you a little bit of a buffer space and could be useful if you want to actually have some kind of a stroke appearance here and you don't want the text to actually touch that stroke.

If you're working with both rows and columns, you can also choose exactly how that text will flow across those rows and columns. Let's take a look at another way to create an area type object inside of Illustrator. I'll click Cancel here and rather than starting with the actual Type tool, I can create any shape inside of Illustrator and then turn that shape into an Area Type object. For example, I'm going to use my Ellipse tool here to simply click and drag to draw a circle. I'm going to use my same Type tool right now, but notice that now when I move my cursor over this shape the outside of my cursor to these parentheses. See when I move it outside the shape here it's a box, but when I move it here over this shape, it changes to those rounded edges.

That indicates that if I click right now it will convert this object to an Area Type object. So I'll click and now you can see that I have a blinking insertion point inside of this shape. As I add text here, I can the see the text will now flow within the confines of that customized shape. There is one important thing to note about working between both point text and area text and that's because of some of the settings inside of Illustrator, it can be somewhat tricky to find out what type of object you're working with at any one time. So let me explain what I mean by that.

I'm actually going to go ahead now and delete this shape and I'll delete this one that I created earlier as well. At the moment, I have a feature turned on inside of Illustrator called the bounding box. The bounding box is a great feature that allows you to actually resize your artwork or to rotate that artwork without having to use separate tools. You can do it directly with your Selection tool. So with my Selection tool, if I click on this point text object, I see the bounding box around the object itself. Even though that I know right now that this a point text object, I might mistake in this for an area text object because I might think that this bounding box is actually the frame for an area type object.

For example, I'm going to use my Type tool here to click and drag to define an area type object and I'll type in the same words, Bermuda Buttercup. A real easy way to make this typography match what I see right here is to actually select it, change to the Eyedropper tool, and then click on the text that you'd like to copy. That makes my selected type match the type that I'm clicking on. So now I have two objects. This right here is an area type object. This one is a point type object.

See that with the bounding box option, and when using the Selection tool, they both appear quite similar when they're selected. However, if I click on the edge over here and I resize this Frame, because my text is centered, my text now gets centered inside of the overall frame. Likewise, if I were to resize my frame, so it's more narrow, there's no room for the word Buttercup, so I can actually extend this downwards and see that it automatically puts it on two separate lines for me. But if I click on the word Bermuda Buttercup down here, which is the point text object, and I now try to resize it by clicking on this handle and dragging it, see how the text actually get stretched as if it's artwork.

That's because this is a point type object, so I'm actually stretching the Type itself. Whereas in the previous example where I was using area type, all I was doing was just scaling the frame that the type is inside of. So I'm not scaling the type. I am the scaling the frame that contains the type. I'll press undo here and the way to really kind of make sure that you don't make this mistake is through one of two methods. I can either make sure that when I'm working with text I'm using my Direct Selection tool. That's because when you use a Direct Selection tool, the bounding box does not come into play.

So notice that here this is my area text frame, but when I click on this object right here I can instantly see it, it's a point text object. The alternative is to actually disable the bounding box feature when you're working with topography. The keyboard shortcut to toggle the bounding box on and off is Command+Shift+B on the Mac or Ctrl+Shift+B on Windows. Alternatively, you can find the option here inside of the View menu and the option here would either say Hide Bounding Box or Show Bounding Box. So at this point you now know how to create the two kinds of type objects inside of Illustrator that are most common, point text objects and area text objects.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: Despite clicking the rectangle icon on the toolbar, as shown in the video, the other tool shapes are not accessible in Illustrator. The rectangle is usable, but the star, ellipse, etc. are not, and do not appear anywhere in the toolbar. What is causing this problem?
A: These tools are grouped together, so to access them, click and hold the mouse for a second until the other tools appear. If that isn't happening, reset the Illustrator preferences file. To do so, quit Illustrator and then relaunch the application while pressing and holding the Ctrl+Alt+Shift keys. Once the Illustrator splash screen appears, release the keys and that will reset the preferences file.
Q: In the video “What are vector graphics,” the author states that if he creates a 1 inch x 1 inch Photoshop file at 300ppi image, there are 300 pixels in that image. Is that correct?
A: This statement is by the author was not totally correct. If the resolution is 300ppi, it means that there are 300 pixels across one inch, both vertically and horizontally. That would mean you'd have 90,000 pixels in a 1 inch x 1 inch image at 300 ppi.
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