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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to use the Area Type Options command in order to establish a relationship between the text inside of this text frame and the frame itself. I am working inside of this document called One-page poem.ai found inside the 08_type folder. And this is the same document we opened in the previous exercise. If you checked out during the Bullet discussion in that exercise then you have a little bit of catching up to do. You need to go to the Layers palette, turn off Final text and turn on Raw text. That's it, you are caught up. Now I'll go ahead and click inside of this text block to select it and you can see that the frame is exactly aligned with the far edges of the artboard which may seem like a really strange decision because after all that gives us no margins whatsoever. But it's a great way to work if you want to establish an inset all the way around your text so that you have equal margin at the top and the bottom and the left and right sides. And that's what we are going to be doing right now.
Now you may recall that Adobe calls it an Area Type object, so we manipulate this Area Type object by going up to the Type menu and choosing Area Type Options. And the first thing that you want to do inside of this dialog box besides move it off to the side so that you can see what you are doing is turn on the Preview check box so that you can see what you are doing. Now notice that the Width and Height values are set to 360 pt and 468 pt, those are the actual measurements of this frame. You can change them if you want to, I don't recommend you do. However, I'm going to just for the sake of demonstration here, change the number of Columns. I'll change this to 3 columns and you can see that we actually set up three columns inside of our frame.
The Span value refers to the width of each one of the Columns and you can override that value if you want to. Watch what happens, if I nudge this value up by pressing the up arrow key, notice that this edge moves outward like so. So that we are actually changing the width of the entire frame and so you can watch the Width value as well. If I press the down arrow key, it's going to go down in increments of three points because we have three columns at work here. We need to take that back down to 360 pt wide, so we have a Span value of 108 pt. If you change the Gutter value, the Span value is going to change automatically to compensate. You also have the option of turning on this Fixed check box, which keeps the Span value intact regardless of how you change the other values here.
Now let's change the Number of Rows. I'll change rows to 3 so that we have three rows of course, and I'll change the Gutter value once again to 9 and this looks terrible for our poem but it's great if you were setting up a table. So, this can be a swell way to set up a table inside of Illustrator because otherwise the program doesn't have an automated table function the way that say InDesign does. All right, this has nothing to do with what we want to do with this poem. So I'm going to change the Number of Rows to 1 and the Number of Columns to 1 as well in order to reset our values. We do not have a reset button here inside of this dialog box, so if you make a major mess of things, just cancel out and choose the command over again.
What I want to do is change the Inset Spacing. So notice if I change this value to 30 pt, it's going to move the inset in on all sides, to the top, the bottom, the left and right sides as well. Notice that you even have control over the placement of the very first line of type at the top of this text block right here. Currently the First Baseline is aligned by the Ascent, which means it's not really actually the first baseline that's aligned by the Ascent. The characters are aligned by their ascenders. So the ascenders are the tops of the highest characters. So the tops of the highest characters are riding right under the inset right there, under that Inset value.
But you can change that if you want to. You could go with a fixed value for example. You could say you know what, if you choose Fixed by the way you are going to pop that baseline in alignment with the top of the Inset value and then you would use this Min value which is the minimum amount of offset by the way which has more to do with some of the other values. But for Fixed it just ends up saying you know it's a fixed increment. For example, if I change it to 12, it's going to move that baseline down 12 pt. That's a different effect when you are working with Leading. If you work with Leading, you are going to go down a full Leading value or this Minimum value.
For example, if I change that Minimum value to something like 0, it's going to go ahead and drop an entire Leading at this point right there. All right, I don't know if that quite make sense but it is sort of a weird pairing of these two options. What I'm more concerned about is that we align these letters so that the tops of the lowercase letters are aligned right there with that Inset value and you do that by choosing the x Height. The x Height is the top of the lowercase letters right there and then after you have done that I want you to click the OK button in order to accept that modification.
So if click off the text, this is what it looks like. It actually looks really great compared to the way it looked before. So this is the before view of my illustration, and I got there by pressing Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, and this is the after view, Ctrl+ Shift+Z or Command+Shift+Z. The result being that we have text that is exactly aligned with the artboard, 30 points in on all sides. Thanks to the Area Type Options command.
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