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David Blatner brings his knowledge of and passion for InDesign to the latest release of this state-of-the-art publishing program, showing how to harness its power and functionality. InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics covers the process of publishing with an eye on the program's latest nuances: optimizing page layouts, automating InDesign with Data Merge and XML, exploring interactive documents (including making movies), and exporting publications to a variety of formats. Exercise files accompany the course.
In an earlier chapter, I showed how you can convert text to paths by selecting a text frame, going to the Type menu and choosing Create Outlines. Let's zoom in on this, so we can see it better. And I will switch to the Direct Selection tool, and you can see that what was text is now actually Bezier curves. This is super helpful when you need to apply some special effects to the text. For example, maybe you want to stretch a single character, make that one taller or this one lower. Or maybe you want to create some kind of logo making all these characters intertwine. Whatever the case, there are two basic ways to convert text to outlines, the way I just showed you, converting a whole text at a time or converting just some selected text.
For example, let me pan down here and select just the word Dutch. While that's selected with the Type tool, I can go to the Type menu and choose Create Outlines. You will notice that the text spacing changed a little bit. Why? Because that's not a word anymore, and so all the kerning pairs and so on got removed. If I click on it with the Selection tool, you can see that it's now a separate object, and in fact it's anchored inside the text frame. I will press W to come out of Preview mode, and you can see here is the text frame and here is that object anchored in line. There are several reasons why you might want to convert a single word inside of a paragraph, or just a few words in the outlines. For example, let's say I want to apply a Drop Shadow just to that word. You can't do that with the Effects panel, unless you convert the word to outlines. But now that it is converted, I can go to the Effects panel, and just go give us a Drop Shadow.
Let's make this maybe just a little bit smaller so we can see it better, there we go. There is the drop shadow on that one word. I will close this Effects panel and I am going to revert this document back to the way it was, just because I want to show you a different way of converting things to outlines. I will zoom in on this with the Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows, and I will scroll over here, and instead of simply selecting that frame, and then going and choosing Create Outlines, instead I am going to hold down the Option key on the Mac on Alt on Windows, when I choose Create Outlines.
When you hold on that modifier key, something different happens. It actually duplicates the frame. There we go, I have a duplicate of it and one of them is outlined, this one over here and one of them is the original frame. It didn't change the original. I like doing that because it's nice to have an original that I can put off on the pasteboard, I am just going to go out of Preview mode and move that off to the pasteboard, just in case I need to use it later on. You never know if - maybe I made a typo in here, I need to go back to the original. Same thing happens here if I select one word and I hold down the Option or Alt key when I choose Create Outlines, it looks the same but it actually made a duplicate of that when it converted to outlines. So this is not anchored into the text frame. It's actually a separate object now, which has been converted to outlines. Now I want to be really clear about something, I do not recommend people convert a lot of their text outlines.
For example, if your printer tells you that you should convert everything in your document to outlines, I suggest really asking them carefully why they want that. It's usually a very bad practice and almost always unnecessary. Plus, you may lose some really important stuff when converting text to outlines. For example, this text over here has a rule below. If I convert that whole text frame to outlines, I am going to lose that rule below. It just disappears. So you have to be really careful when creating outlines. It's much better to send the printer a PDF file with the fonts embedded if you can, but for the occasional letter or word or some text that you want to apply some kind of special effect to, sure creating outlines is great for that kind of thing.
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