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If you really want to get serious about working with type inside of Illustrator, you need to familiarize yourself with the type panels. There is actually two of them: the Character, and the Paragraph panel. In order to access these panels, you can do one of two things: you can go to the Window menu, find the Type section, and open them, or you can use the Control panel as well. Let's take a look. I'll grab this bit of text right here, because I want to make some changes to it. And you'll notice, up in my Control panel, I actually have a link right here to the Character panel, and over here on the right, I have a link to the Paragraph panel. Let's start off with the Character panel.
I'll open it up, and inside, I get lots of different options. I can actually choose the font, the font style, I can set the font size, change the leading, set the kerning between two characters, set the tracking for a selected range of characters, I can also change the Vertical and Horizontal scaling for each individual letter, or a set of text, I can set the baseline shift for things, and then finally, I can change character rotation. At the bottom, you'll find things like All Caps, Small Caps, Superscript and Subscript, Underline, and Strikethrough.
You can also change the language, and the anti-aliasing method. By default, the anti-aliasing is set to Sharp. If you set this to None, you may notice that your text looks a little chunky on screen. You can also set it to Crisp, or Strong. Depending on what type of project you are working on, you may want to experiment with the text to get it just right. In this case, I'm actually going to close the Character panel from here, and bring out the panels on screen, all on their own. In order to do that, go up to the Window menu, go down until you find Type, and then you can actually bring up all of the Type panels, like Character, Character Styles, Glyphs, OpenType, Paragraph, Paragraph Styles, and Tabs as well.
Let's go ahead and grab the Character panel first. In the Character panel, these are all the options that I had available to me inside of that little pop-up window up here. However, if you want see all of the options, you have to go to the panel menu, and choose Show Options. Once you do that, you'll get the full panel at your service. In this case, I am going to make some changes to this text. First thing I am going to do is change it from Narrow to Regular Arial. You'll notice, when I do that, it flows across, has some hyphenation, and things that I don't want. That's okay; I can adjust that with the font size.
I'll back that down to something like 9 points. If I need to go even smaller, I can back it down to something 8 points. If the text becomes too small, I can always reflow my box, like so, and then bump up the font size just a little. If you want to make changes to text on an individual basis, like one letter at a time, you have to double-click inside, and then make a selection of the text. So for instance, maybe I want the telephone heading here to be Bold. So I'll select it, and choose Bold. Same thing for fax, and e-mail as well.
So now I've got those in Bold, and they are a little bit different from the rest of the text. My address, the same way; I can make a change to that if I want to as well, simply by selecting it. And may be I want the address to be a little bit smaller, so I'll back that down one font size, and may be even create a little bit more space in between. Something like that. If I feel like the text isn't exactly looking like it should in terms of tracking or leading, I can make those adjustments on a case by case basis as well. For instance, maybe I want this to be a little tighter at the bottom. I can actually go in, and I can adjust the tracking for this.
The tracking just means how close together are the letters. So as you can see, as I back this down, the letters get closer and closer together. You could actually use one of these numbers here as well. So for instance, if I want to back it down to like -50, I could tighten it up. Or if I want to spread them out, I can go up to 50 there as well; just depends on your personal choice. In this case, I'll drop it down to about -25. I can also change the leading, or the amount of space in between the lines. In this case, it's set to 9.6. I think it's a little too far apart, so I'll just reduce that; something like that.
Again, just a way of tightening it up, and making it look a little better. Same thing up here at the top. I'll select this, and tighten that up a little bit as well. Then I am going to grab my Selection tool, and click away to see the results. You also have access to the Paragraph panel. The Paragraph panel has a lot of different options inside of it, like Alignment; you can change it to Align left, center, or right; you can also justify text to the left, in the center, to the right, or justify every line. In addition to the Alignment options, you can also change the indent levels, on the left, the first-line, and on the right.
And at the bottom here, you have the ability to change the space before and after a paragraph. This is great for eliminating double returns, or hard returns inside of Illustrator. When you are setting type, double, or hard returns; it's just not the best practice. You want to experiment with the space before and after. So for instance, here I could actually go in to the text, and back this up a line, and then I could select this, and say OK. The space before a paragraph; I want to add a little bit to it. When I do that it spaces it out. But you'll notice, I've got both of these selected, so I am actually making a change to both.
I don't necessarily want to do that. I should have only selected this line, and that's okay; you can always correct it by selecting, and backing it down. Remember earlier when I was reflowing text, and I kept getting hyphenation? If you don't want that to happen, select all of your text, and uncheck Hyphenate. That way, no matter what, even if you increase the size of your text, nothing will hyphenate; it will just reflow to the next line. You also have access to something called the OpenType panel. The OpenType panel has some really interesting options, if you're using an OpenType font. The Creative Suite actually ships with several different types of OpenType fonts, and you can play with those to see exactly how they work.
The options include Standard Ligatures, and Contextual Alternates, which will change the way cursive letters actually flow together. Discretionary Ligatures, Swash caps, which is one of my favorite things to use. If you're using a cursive type font, you can actually create these really wild and ornate looking letters. Stylistic Alternates for different letters, Titling Alternates, Ordinals, which is the writing things like numbers, like first, second, third, etcetera, and also, you can do Fractions as well. So if you are using a font that actually supports the OpenType options, these options will be highlighted here for you.
If you're not using a font that contains the OpenType options, these will be grayed out, like you see here. There are some cases where you'll have one or two options available to you, and you can experiment with those, and see exactly how they work. Let's go back up, now, to the Window menu, I'll go back down to Type, and let's checkout the Character Styles panel. Inside of the Character Styles panel, I can actually set up different styles that I can use throughout Illustrator. This is just like Adobe InDesign, or Microsoft Word, where you would write out styles for things like headings and body copy.
You can do the exact same thing right here in Illustrator. So for instance, I can come in here, and I can select a bit of text, and I can create a new style. That new style automatically comes up as Character Style 1. I can double-click that to edit it, and I can say something like Info Heading, and hit Enter. Now I have that style saved, so I can apply it anytime I need to. For instance, if I wanted to select this information down here, you would notice that it automatically adopts the normal character style, but it also has a style override applied to it, because I've made some changes.
If I want to change this to make it look just like these headings here, I simply click Info Heading. The Info Heading is automatically applied, however, there is a style override still there. So what I'm going to do is hold down the Option key, or Alt key on PC, and click that, and it automatically removes the style override, and enables the Info Heading style that I saved here. Anytime you see a little Plus sign inside of the Character Styles, that means you've actually got some settings overriding the actual character style that you're using. To remove it, just hold down that Option or Alt key, press it, and it goes back to normal. I am going to undo that now with Command+Z or Control+Z. Let's say that I also wanted to create a style for this name up here.
That way, I can save it, and use it on future business cards. I'll come up here, select it, create a new style, and I'll call this Name Heading. That way, any other time I am creating something, whether it be letterhead, business cards, whatever, I can actually come in here, and use that style. Once I am finished, I'll click away. The same holds true for Paragraph Styles. If I wanted to create a Paragraph Style based on these paragraphs here, including the space before that I added this paragraph, I could do that. Creating a style for paragraphs is exactly the same as creating a style for characters.
So for instance, I can come in here and double-click, select this bit of text here, and create a new paragraph style. The Paragraph Style here could be Address Info; hit Enter. Now any time I apply that to a paragraph, it's automatically going to take on that space before that I specified earlier. If I select the text underneath it, and apply the Address Info style, you'll notice that it doesn't do anything off the bat, but it's got that little Plus sign again. Holding down the Option or Alt key removes that style override, and actually moves it down like it should be, based upon the style that I specified.
I'll go ahead and undo that with Command+ Z or Control+Z. Now I'll grab my Selection tool, and I can click away to deselect. Any time you want to get rid of these panels, just click the little x in the top right corner. You can access a lot of these panels from the Control panel as well, as you start to work with text. But if you can't find them, just remember, you go to the Window menu, and search for Type, and they're all there. They also have some keyboard shortcuts associated with them as well. If you want to bring up the Character panel, you can hit Command+T or Control+T on your keyboard. OpenType is Alt+Shift+Control+T, or Option+Shift+Command+T on the Mac.
The Paragraph panel can be brought up with Alt+Control+T, or Option+Control+T on the Mac. And then finally, if you want to set tabs in Illustrator, you can bring that up with Shift+Control+T on the PC; Shift+Command+T on the Mac. I'll go ahead and escape out of there. Hopefully by now you have a better understanding of how to utilize all of these panels to set your type inside of Illustrator. The possibilities are endless, and you can do some really cool stuff with your type.
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